Secondary schools fail to teach vocational studies

Skills. Students of Lords Meade Vocational College during a carpentry practical class on Monday. PHOTO BY TAUSI NAKATO

What you need to know:

  • Mr Godfrey Walubi, a parent, said government should enforce vocational education in all secondary schools because not every child reaches university level.

JINJA/BUIKWE. Despite a 2017 government proclamation to enforce Business, Technical and Vocational Education and Training skills (BTVET) in secondary schools, officials in Jinja and Buikwe districts say few schools have embraced the model.

Vocational education is part of tertiary education and training that provides accredited training in job related and technical skills; which government found prudent enough to reduce unemployment in the country.
The Jinja District Inspector of Schools in-charge of secondary schools, Mr Eria Kisambira, during an interview on Tuesday said of all the 75 schools in the district, none has implemented the programme yet the curriculum talks about vocationalisation.

Mr Hassan Nkuutu, the Njeru Municipal education officer, said out of the 22 secondary schools, only one has embraced the programme.
“We only have Lords Meade Vocational College yet the programme is much relevant because most families in the community can’t afford to educate their children up to university level,’’ Mr Nkuutu said.

Ms Aisha Namawejje, a former student of Gloryland Christian College in Jinja, who sat her Senior Four and failed to join A-Level because her father had no money said: “I decided to look for job with my O-level certificate but failed to find one because I lacked both vocational skills and university academic credentials,” she said.
At Lords Meade Vocational College in Njeru Municipality, Buikwe District, a programme is being implemented to see students who complete Senior Four awarded two certificates - including Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) and Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT).

Mr Christopher Buwaguzibwa, who sat for his Senior Four examinations last year and obtained aggregate 27, acquired a UNEB certificate and DIT Junior Levers’ Certificate, said: “I chose bricklaying because I want to be a civil engineer and I have been working on construction sites during holidays. Even if my mother fails to raise my school fees for A-Level, I have already acquired skills and a transcript, which I can use to apply for a job,’’ he said.

The Head teacher Bukonte Senior Secondary School in Namutumba District, Mr Hamuza Oluyitta, said they would have implemented the programme but it is expensive in terms of buying tools and scarcity of technical teachers and instructors who teach vocational skills.
The Commissioner BTVET, Ms Safina Musenne, said although they have it in plan, they currently do not have a budget to enrol vocational studies in predominantly academic secondary schools, especially in items of paying instructors and setting up workshops.

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