Parliament of Uganda has approved a proposal by government to borrow up to US$45 million from the Islamic Development Bank for the renovation of technical institutes in the country.
The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Support Project aims at expanding existing technical institutes currently not under any development partner intervention in a bid to put the training infrastructure and delivery to international standards.
“This project will enhance the acquisition of relevant employable skills and competencies that match the labour market and workplace needs through expanding access to BTVET in Uganda,” Hon John Muyingo, State Minister for Higher Education said.
Muyingo added that the loan will be used for revamping technical institutes whose structures are in a poor state, so as to bring them to a standard that can attract youths to embrace vocational studies.
In a report presented to the House, the Parliamentary Committee on National Economy stated that majority of existing technical institutes in the country are overcrowded, lack adequate professional and skilled instructors, and thus could not train students in an appropriate manner.
“The committee recommends that the Ministry of Education and Sports institutes a comprehensive policy to cater for and operationalise other redundant technical institutes that are not included in the project,” reads the report in part.
MPs noted that the purpose of the loan to fund the project was well in but raised concerns pertaining to, among other things, remuneration of tutors and affordability of training fees.
“We have a serious challenge being faced by our tutors who are poorly paid which demoralises them and they end up not teaching the students effectively,” said Kanungu Woman MP, Hon Elizabeth Karungi.
Hon. Santa Alum (UPC, Oyam) made a case for gender parity in enrolment at technical institutions, which she said had left out the girl-child from benefiting from the vocational programmes.
“According to the minister’s statement, out of 1,900 students enrolled in vocational schools, we have only 16 per cent coverage of girls. We need to find a way of changing these figures,” said Alum.
Pallisa County MP, Hon. Jacob Opolot tasked the Education Ministry to develop a clear policy to check on low enrolment levels and proposed that a functional and satisfactory technical institute be set up in every district.