Unlike other institutions, technical vocational education and training (TVET) institutions offer hands-on courses such as bricklaying, tailoring, building, construction, plus engineering. This distinguishes them as more practical than theoretical.
In an event to launch the inaugural TVET magazine by the Ministry of Education recently, the Minister of State for Higher Education, Dr John Chrysestom Muyingo, said the government recognises that quality vocational and technical skills are vital for increased productivity and competitiveness of our human capital.
“In the past, there has been a low appreciation of TVET leading to low enrollment in skilling programmes. This has largely been because of the prioritisation of white-collar to blue-collar jobs by some Ugandans. Today, TVET is not yet fully embraced as a priority career pathway,” he said.
The minister tasked TVET institutions to encourage youth to join them for training in order to acquire skills to beat the job market.
The magazine which will be annual is to act as the voice of the TVET sub-sector by communicating their important reports and accomplishments, promote success stories through innovative showcasing of the sub-sector products and services and also engage TVET audiences in unique ways that can usher in new prospects, clients and partners.
Mr Muyingo said, the magazine is an appropriate forum through which they can now disseminate and create awareness about TVET to employers, parents, prospective trainees, and other stakeholders.
“Politicians are disturbed by the high rate of unemployment of the young people, they have degrees but are on the streets without jobs. As government, we believe skilling youth in these institutions is the solution to unemployment,” Mr Muyingo said, adding that, “Now that we are into East African integration, we need to skill our people because they are going to start competing for jobs in the region.”
The government recognises that quality vocational and technical skills are vital for increased productivity and competitiveness of our human capital.
However, Mr Muyingo decried low numbers of people embracing TVET these programmes.
“However, in the past, there has been a low appreciation of TVET leading to low enrolment in skilling programmes. This has largely been because of the prioritisation of white-collar to blue-collar jobs by some Ugandans. Today, TVET is not yet fully embraced as a priority career pathway,” Mr Muyingo said.
In the magazine, the head of TVET at Ministry of Education, Jane Egau Okou, said as a directorate, they have continued to provide policy guidance, coordinate TVET delivery, and offer administrative support to the public and private TVET providers to meet the needs of the labour market and the economy.
“Equally exciting has been the increased participation of employers and the private sector in all our TVET activities and engagements. Now that the private sector is taking up its rightful place as the engine of skills development, we are on the right course towards a demand-driven TVET system,” she wrote.
Douglas opio, co-chair TVET Policy Implementation Working Group (TPIWG), said skills development has been prioritised in both the National Development Plan III and the national Vision 2040.
“A national policy on TVET was developed and approved by cabinet for implementation, and a private sector-led TVET policy implementation working group was also created to translate the policy from theory to action,” Opio said.
“This is a clear reflection of a high level commitment to skilling Uganda. The new policy puts employers in the driving seat through the creation of an employer-led TVET system,” Opio added.
Opio who is also the executive director of Federation for Uganda Employers, says working with a team of experts from both the public and private sector with support from the TVET Policy Implementation Secretariat, (TPIS) they are establishing the building blocks based on sets of policy and institutional actions.
They have some highlights to their work.
“Also, working with the secretariat, we have been able to draft a TVET qualification framework, a financing framework, procedural manual and other relevant documents that shall be used in developing the new TVET law,” Opio shared.
He noted that over the coming years, the skills reform process is intended to address the several challenges including financing of TVET, the weak link between the industry and TVET institutions, negative attitude towards TVET, economic relevance, equitable access and employability, quality of TVET and coordination-related issues,” Opio noted.
Mr Ronald Mutebi, a TVET specialist, said TVET is about skills and a skilled youth makes meaningful contributions to their community which translates into improving their livelihoods and socioeconomic status.
“The youth embracing TVET would greatly solve unemployment among them which leads to improved productivity of industries and companies as they tap into the increased skilled labour, thus widening the tax base and national economy,” Mr Mutebi said.
The minister said he was encouraged by the passion and commitment demonstrated by the TVET Policy Implementation Secretariat in promoting TVET reforms and he called upon everyone to render support to the reform process and embrace TVET in order to exploit its unlimited opportunities for the development of our country.