KAMPALA. Education minister and First Lady Janet Museveni has asked institutions of higher learning to focus more on skills development of their students to solve the increasing unemployment rate in the country.
“We need to see graduates who are not inclined to job employment but rather those who will selflessly serve the community and contribute to its positive transformation,” Ms Museveni said this week at the opening of the 9th Higher Education Symposium at the National Council for Higher Education offices (NCHE) in Kampala.
Ms Museveni, in her speech read by the State minister for Higher Education, Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo, said more emphasis should be put on entrepreneurship and youth employability.
She noted that the role of education should not only be seen to produce the labour force they desire but rather they should also equip their graduates with the right attitude.
“Knowledge should help solve life challenges through acquired skills,” she said.
Ms Museveni added that by 2040, all government-supported tertiary institutions would be devoted to skills development.
The NCHE executive director, Prof John Opuda Asibo, said higher education in Uganda has grown in numerical terms from slightly less than 20 licensed tertiary institutions in 1986 to 214 in 2016 and from one university in 1986 to 47 in 2016.
Despite this numerical growth, the gross enrolment ratio remains relatively low at just 6.8 per cent in East Africa, average of 15 per cent for Africa, Mauritius at 23 per cent and that for developed countries at not less than 40 per cent.
He also said that enrolment has increased from under 10,000 in 1986 to 247,437 students, with 44 per cent being female as compared to 56 per cent males.
“Interestingly, despite public universities being few in number, 50.2 per cent of the enrolment in universities was in public universities as compared to 49.8 per cent in private universities,” he said.