• UTAMU Vice Chancellor Prof. Baryamureeba calls for review of the Education Sector

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Prof. V. Baryamureeba has called for a review of the whole education system in Uganda to suit the world of work.

Presenting a paper at the 21st Annual Education and Sports Sector Review Workshop held at Imperial Royale recently, the Vice Chancellor of Uganda Technology and Managment University (UTAMU) emphasized the need to shift from a school system and government provision of education to a flexible workplace oriented environment and Public Private Partnerships respectively.

“We should move from issuance of educational Certificates to provision of skills and competences relevant to the labour market instead of churned less employable graduates onto the job market as evidenced in the IUCEA report of 2014,” Prof. Baryamureeba advised.

He said that though the government white paper on Education Policy Reform 1992 covered what needed to be done in the sector, emphasis shifted to World Bank policies, primary and secondary education and National priorities such as roads, energy and security.

He explained that, “In spite of Private and Public Universities increasing to over 40 once the paper was in place , these higher institutions of learning grapple with Insufficient qualified staff, infrastructure, facilities and laboratories, and insufficient funding.”

He also called for prioritization of education again raising the debate of whether Education is a public or private Good.

Baryamureeba envisages an Education Sector with quality standards and the ability to enforce them, clearly defined mandates for different institutions, a Salary Review Commission and increased funding as well as a Ministry responsible for Higher Education.

“I think that a Ministry of Higher Education Science, Industries and Innovation should be established to tackle the challenges of human resources development relevant to the world of work. This way the Ministry of Basic Education and Sports can concentrate in basic education delivery and its challenges.

Uganda should learn from countries like South Korea, Singapore and Mauritius which have succeeded in this area,” he stressed.

The Commissioner for Higher Education and Training, Robert Odok Oceng said lack of a clearly defined and published philosophy to guide education is responsible for the current inadequacies in skills that are not responsive to the world of work which explains prevalent of underemployment and unemployment.

“Previously, the philosophical foundation of colonial master education in Uganda was to support and ensure the process of colonization, today, another philosophy should be identified and published to guide education at all levels,” he expounded.

Oceng also stressed the need to weed out irrelevant courses from the current curriculum at higher education saying resources should be redirected to a curriculum that arms consumers with skills which are responsive to the world of work.

“Curriculum such as the Pampas of Argentina, the Prairie of Canada and problem that face New York City should be removed from the formal curriculum given that non-formal education provides such information through ICT,” he said.

He also reiterated the need to review the formal education structure adopted from the colonial power and blend it with non-formal education. Oceng clarified that the formal education sector should cater for those who wish to get apprenticeship skills for immediate employ-ability, those who wish to pursue academia to widen their horizon of knowledge and those that will pursue the mix between the two.

On funding, he said Government contributes 0.3% of GDP to higher education against theUNESCO recommendation of 1% of GDP for less developed countries. He explained that Proper funding of higher education has a multiplier effect.

On how the ministry of education and how it has progressed in Skilling Uganda youth right from pre-primary to higher education, both presenters concurred that the current Education system provided today is not sensitive to the immediate needs of the population or relevant to the world of work. They called for an immediate review if not a considerable overhaul of the education sector in Uganda.

The two-day workshop run under the theme “Skilling Uganda for enhanced Productivity and Development”.

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