KAMPALA. Government through Education Ministry has entered into a formal agreement with six vocational colleges to be turned into centres of excellence. Two of which are skills development projects and four are Albertine Sustainable Development Projects.
Ministry of education permanent secretary, Mr Alex Kakooza said the agreement was aimed at providing and equipping Ugandans with better technical skills such as extraction of oil and gas, carpentry and joinery, welding, plumbing and many other technical areas.
“We want to change the notion many people had that technical studies are for those who have failed to enter University. We want to develop this sector farther especially the oil and gas,” Mr Kakooza said.
Ms Loy Abaine Muhwezi, Assistant Commissioner of Technical education said each college will specialise in a different sector of their preference.
“Already three of these colleges have signed agreements with us and we are hoping that by June this year, the rest will have also signed,” Ms Abaine said.
The process of creating the centres of excellence started in 2012 and was aimed at changing the system of education from content based to competence based.
In this program, the six institutes that will gain are; Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba, Kichwamba Technical College, Bukalasa Agricultural Institute College, Uganda Technical College Elgon, Uganda Technical College Bushenyi and Uganda Technical College Lira.
The colleges will specialize in any training sector they find is comfortable for them according to the education ministry and some of them have already already chosen their areas of specialisation.
UTC Elgon will specialize in Building and construction, UTC Lira will enroll in Roads and Construction, UTC Bushenyi in manufacturing, Bukalasa in Agriculture, Kichwamba in construction, oil and gas material and Kiguimba in Oil and gas.
Mr Kakooza said the process has a designated budget of about Shs32b (USD9M)
“As we sign this agreement, training the students will imply equipping them with skills such that by the course, they are able to work anywhere globally,” Mr Kakooza said.
The different technical colleges will partner with different faculties which have experience in the field of specialization. Ms Abaine confirmed to Daily Monitor that all the colleges have already acquired the partnering faculties which will help to train the trainers.
“It was a tight bidding process which saw the colleges acquiring the training partners. Most of them have signed a three year contract to train those who will train others in different fields,” she said.
Coventry University based in United Kingdom will be hosted by Victoria University as a subcontractor during the training of Kichwamba Technical College trainers. During the signing of their contract at the Ministry of Education, Mr Gideon Howell Associate Head of the university said; “We are delighted to be partnering with the Technical College. We shall be hosted by Victoria University and we shall work to work on the project.”
The Vice Chancellor of Victoria University, Dr Krishna Sharma, said this is an opportunity for the local developers to grow in the capacity development.
“We shall take care of over 20 per cent of Coventry University’s stay here for the three years. This will help us develop our skills too and we shall be encouraged to get involved in local development projects,” Dr Sharma said.