The Ministry of Information, Communications Technology (ICT) and National Guidance plans to make it mandatory for ICT graduates to join Uganda Institute of Information and Communication Technology (UICT) before employment.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of ICT, Ms Aminah Zawedde said the move seeks to address unemployment challenge as many graduates are on streets due to lack of relevant skills needed in the job market.
According to Ms Zawedde, government has intensified its efforts towards transforming the institute into a centre of excellence that will be training university and tertiary graduates in ICT in the relevant skills needed in the working environment, just like the case is with Law where graduates first enrol at the Law Development Centre (LDC) to get equipped with more knowledge.
“The lawyers have LDC that is mandatory for students to go to if they want to practise. But since it is a new initiative, it’s not yet mandatory but with time, we plan that it will be mandatory. For instance, for one to work in government you have to have a minimum requirement to certain certificate you are supposed to do to have prepared you for the job,” she said.
She added,” that is the direction we are taking, it is still in early stages, we can’t say it is mandatory as of now but we want UICT to become the LDC for ICT profession.”
Ms Zawedde said the Ministry has embarked on transforming UICT into a centre of excellence that will be equipping ICT graduates with relevant skills needed in the workforce.
“Many times we have a gap between what graduates come out with and what is required on the job, so UICT is going to be that bridging the gap to offer these skills. Some of these courses come as one week course, one months and are short courses certificates and diplomas,” Ms Zawedde said while officiating at the inauguration of the sixth governing council of UICT in Kampala.
She re-echoed the government commitment to digitize the economy as they move to tackle the issue of unemployment among the youth thus imploring the new council to work towards achieving the digital agenda.
“The governing council is going to work with the institution under the guidance of the ministry to ensure that we put up such programmes so that as people come out of the various universities and tertiary institutions they can come to UICT and get the skills so that they are ready for the job market,” Ms Zawedde said.
Dr Fred Kitoogo, the principal of the institute said they have made several international ICT partnerships to ensure that Uganda produces skilled ICT students who will not compete here but internationally.
We have many partnerships, including Johannesburg for software engineering, Japanese international cooperation agency, National Telecommunication Union and all these partnerships are building skills of the institute and the same skills that are needed internationally,” Mr Kitoogo said.