UMA, universities get Shs357b loan for students internships

Dr Jason Mosomi, the AfDB chief education specialist and architect. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE

What you need to know:

Opportunity. Over 1,000 members of UMA have, each, agreed to take five interns for training.

Kampala. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has given the Uganda Manufacturers’ Association (UMA), a $105 million (Shs357 billion) loan to support internship programmes for students. Eight public universities will also benefit from this loan.
Speaking at the signing ceremony last week, Dr Jason Mosomi, the chief education specialist and architect for the bank, said the Higher Education Science and Technology loans, will be used to construct laboratories, classrooms and training science and technology lecturers in the eight public universities so they will be teaching science students to provide them with skills that can create employment for them.

“We have given the money to Kyambogo, Makerere, Gulu, Mbarara, Muni, Busitema universities and to Makerere University Business School and Uganda Management Institute because much as we are training scientists, we also need managers,” he said, adding the money was given out depending on the populations in the beneficiary universities.

According to Dr Yusuf Nsubuga, the director of higher education in the Ministry of Education, the loan was acquired by government as one of the means to equip youth with practical skills to make them employable.

“We are moving away from giving theoretical knowledge to giving substantial skills and competences so that the students do not necessarily have to finish school before joining industry,” he said, adding: “They (students) can even break off mid-career before acquiring the degrees so that they start jobs which can solve social problems.”
“Emphasis is on them going to industries to enable them to master skills because without handing equipment practically they cannot get practical skills. The programme is a collaboration between government, the African Development Bank and eight public universities,” he said.
For quite some time, employers around the country have been complaining about the employability of graduates leaving Ugandan universities. The major complaint has been the graduate’s quality of skills that have been found wanting leading to many roaming the streets after graduation.
Mr Amos Nzeyi, the UMA chairman, said they have over 1,000 members willing to accept students on internship.

What internship is
An internship is an opportunity offered by an employer to potential employees - called interns - to work at a firm for a fixed, limited period of time. Interns are usually undergraduates or graduate students, and most internships last for a few weeks to a year.