With adequate learning infrastructure, focus should shift to job creation and skilling

The President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on June 6, 2019 read the State of the Nation Address 2019 at Kampala Serena Hotel where he outlined the state and condition of every sector in the country.

However, I will put my focus specifically on the education sector which in his words, the president said, “the school, tertiary and university systems must create wealth and job creators, not just clerical job seekers.”

President Museveni further told the nation that the total Public-Service jobs are 470,000 which he said did not mean much for a population of 41M people that will even grow to 81M people by 2040.

The president assured Ugandans that it will be the private sector, in the form of four sectors: commercial agriculture, industry, services and ICT that will create jobs and wealth.

As of today, industry is employing 700,000, services 1.3million people and ICT companies are employing 170,000 people despite the various bottlenecks.

From the State of the Nation Address, I can confidently avow that there is adequate infrastructure needed for learning.

A total of 256 new classrooms for Government Primary Schools have been set-up since 2016 bringing the total number of classrooms in permanent materials for Government Primary Schools to 102,557.

There are now a total of 12,437 Government Primary Schools, out of 9,096 old parishes in Uganda, there is, at least, one Primary School in 6,167 parishes.

The total enrolment of pupils in Government Primary Schools is 7,107,202millions. The enrolment of pupils in Private Schools is 1,733,387millions.

The total enrolment in Primary Schools, therefore, in government and Private Schools is 8,840,589millions. In the Government Primary Schools, the teacher-pupils ratio is: 1:43.

At secondary level, a total of 48 new classrooms in permanent materials have been added to the stock of classrooms for the Government Secondary Schools since 2016.

The total number of classrooms for Government Secondary Schools is now 12,696. There are 1,194 Government Secondary Schools with an enrolment of 679,215 students.

The Private Secondary Schools are 8,269 with an enrolment of 778,062 students. Out of a total of 1,167old sub-counties, a total of 856 sub-counties have, at least, one Secondary School. The sub-counties without a Secondary School each are 311.

The total enrolment of students in Government and private Secondary Schools is now 1,457,277millions.

At technical and University level, there are 99 Government Technical and Vocational Schools with a total enrolment of 70,248 students.

The Universities in Uganda are today 50; 11 of them being Public Universities. The total enrolment in Universities is 186,412 (96,305 in public universities and 90,107 in private ones).

In Public Universities we have been rationalizing courses and also emphasizing Science subjects, Mathematics, Accountancy and Auditing, Quantitative Economics and Management.

The school, tertiary and university systems must create wealth and job creators, not just clerical job seekers.

With all the infrastructure in place, it is now time to shift focus to school curriculum and student attitude towards skills and job creation.

Schools and parents are called upon to put an extra effort in preparing children for job creation than job seeking.

Children need to be taught the importance of being creative and innovative in this highly competitive workspace and the need have at least a skill like carpentry, tailoring, hairdressing, wielding and building among others.

I applaud the Government of Uganda for the various initiatives put in place to help skill the youth, women, elderly and the disabled.

One of these initiatives is; Skilling the Girl Child Uganda which produced its first batch of 600 grandaunts in October 2017 and so far has over ten thousand beneficiaries skilled in baking, tailoring, beading, shoe-making, hair dressing and catering, among others and the Youth Livelihood Program (YLP) which has so far benefited a total of 175,341 youths, to mention but a few.

With skills and the ability to create our own jobs through creativity and innovation, we will be able to kick out unemployment, over dependency, importation and increase exportation.

With all the above, we can then fight poverty and hence attain our dream of middle income status.

Written by Elizabeth Kabibi, a Communications Assistant at Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.