The launch of the electronic recruitment system (ERS) that allows for the automated enlistment of applicants is good news for many job seekers.
The process intends to address some of the administration challenges involved in recruitment such as time spent, costs incurred, paperwork and complaints registered by job seekers. This means people interested in Public Service jobs across the country will no longer have to brave hundreds of kilometres to Kampala City to submit job applications.
According to the Public Service Commission chairperson, Justice Raph Ochan, the ERS will address many issues involved in the process of recruitment of public servants.
Much as this is not the first e-initiative on the Ugandan job market - where there are private efforts already - it is a very positive development in the government’s quest to ease job searching.
Besides eliminating contact with the human resource, the ERS is expected to improve transparency and data management, thereby attracting the right candidates.
However, it is unfortunate that the system is being launched at a time when Internet use is still low in Uganda because of absence of computers and electricity across the country.
Developed locally by Dango Enterprises (U) Limited, a computer programming and software development firm, the system needs a lot of support from all users and beneficiaries.
According to the developers, all prospective applicants shall be required to open up personal accounts on the system where they can upload and get the job requirements for the positions advertised.
Going digital is good but has its challenges, especially in the Ugandan setting. Our take is that we proceed cautiously on the new system because as a country, Uganda has always met many hurdles in implementing new programmes.
Much as we hasten to digitise, we must not lose sight that computers are fed and operated by human beings. We should, therefore, guard against employing operators who are easily corruptible, subjective, tired or those with the ‘I don’t care’ attitude. If we fail in this, the system will breed more problems than it has come to solve.
Secondly, the developers must be given chance to run it as they train government operators and other stakeholders. This is because as we speak now, many workers’ knowledge of using the computer is suspect, yet all must be conversant with online and computer procedures before helping others.
Government should also take ERS to the people by setting up local hubs to train and assist applicants. There must also be deliberate efforts to bring about universal connectivity in all villages in the country if every prospective employee is to benefit.
We also think that ERS should be continuously developed and be customised to ensure it serves the intended purpose.