Govt to formulate new law for vocational schools 

Friday September 17 2021
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Students at Nakawa Vocational Training Institute in Kampala during a practical lesson in October 2019. Photo | Rachel Mabala

By Shabibah Nakirigya

Ministry of Education and Sports has revealed that it is formulating a law to strengthen the operations of vocational training centres across the country.

The ministry in partnership with the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) and the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Sports revealed that they had embarked on consultations on how to proceed with the policy.

According to ministry officials, the law aims at efficiently replacing the Business Technical Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) Act 2008, which they say is obsolete and needs amendment.

Speaking to the media after a stakeholders’ meeting in Entebbe on Wednesday, Mr Denis Mugimba, the Education ministry spokesperson, said they recently had a benchmarking study in Kenya on improving technical and vocational education in Uganda.

“We have just started on the process and have not yet decided whether to completely cancel or have amendments in the BTVET Act. This will be done by the officials from the ministry together with the vocational training centres,” he said. 

He added that the Justice ministry is responsible for drafting a law to determine whether to be amended or repealed basing on the issues that will be raised by the officials in charge.

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“Although we need a law in place, there are other issues which need to be addressed first. These include the establishment of the TVET [Technical and Vocational Education and Training] Council as a regulatory body for TVET in the whole country,” he said. 

The acting director of the DIT, Mr Patrick Byakatonda, said they want the new law to specify funding for TVET operations because practical work needs a lot of money which includes facilitation for assessors and buying equipment for practical work.

“In the old law, we are getting funds through the central government which is not fair because it delays our programmes and sometimes we get less money compared to what we ask for yet we have a lot to work to do,” Mr Byakatonda said.

Mr Byakatonda said the new law should consider industrial assessment and certification, where all assessors should be certified by DIT to make sure that there are professional people on the ground.

The committee chairperson, Mr John Twesigye Ntamuhira, said before starting on the process of amending or repealing the current law, there is need to conduct several consultations because it’s a nationwide issue.

“We cannot make a decision now because some of our colleagues are saying that there is no need on repealing the law but amendments can be done to consider other issues which were left out,” he said

The Agago District Woman MP, Ms Beatrice Akello Okori, said since the law is already in place, there is no need to develop a new law.

“We can improve what we already have. We can amend the prevailing laws that govern technical and vocational education in the country,” she said.

BACKGROUND
Cabinet in January 2019 approved the TVET policy focusing at establishing an employer led TVET system and TVET qualifications framework consistent with the regional framework.
The Cabinet decision, according to Mr Denis Mugimba, the Education ministry spokesperson, cleared the ministry to draft the principles or the pillars on which the new law will come out of the policy.

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