Makerere, Chinese company sign pact to train engineers

The principal of the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology at Makerere University, Prof Henry Alinaitwe (right), and the managing director of China Communications Construction Company Ltd, Mr Li Jincheng, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding at Makerere University, Kampala, on Wednesday. Photo/Frank Baguma

What you need to know:

  • The programme will see students training with the firm after studies in Uganda and also in China.

Makerere University has entered a partnership with a Chinese company to train and offer scholarships to the best engineering students.
The university on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) Ltd in Uganda at the Makerere University College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (Mak CEDAT) in Kampala.

In the pact dubbed Talent Cultivation Center of University-Industry Collaboration, the company committed to awarding scholarships to the best engineering students to pursue further studies in universities in China.
The programme commenced this month.
The principal of CEDAT, who is also the acting deputy vice chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration of Makerere University, Prof Henry Alinaitwe, said the partnership would help in grooming quality engineers.
He said the university admits the best students and good staff hence the best place to invest in.

Prof Alinaitwe added that although the college has equipment, some of them are old, others require repair and maintenance and some need replacement.
 “It does no harm if CCCC can support us in that endeavour. Yes government has been helping us, but we still need support in terms of equipment, training and capacity to use those pieces of equipment, so that we are able to train a better workforce so that we are able to change the community,” Prof Alinaitwe said.

The deputy general manager of the Overseas Department in CCCC, Mr Zhao Wei, said the students will also be required to work for the company for a specific period of time after they finish their studies.
He said they would discuss with the university about the number of students to be considered for the scholarship annually.
 Mr Wei said CCCC personnel will also tutor, impart skills and knowledge to staff and students at the School of Engineering in the field of Transportation Engineering.
He said the company would provide internship, modern testing materials and innovative research that are relevant to social and economic development of Uganda.

The MoU also highlights that the construction company will regularly conduct short lectures, forums, training and other activities at the university that are conducive to improving the comprehensive quality and practical ability of students’ competencies relevant in employment and entrepreneurship.
 The commercial counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Uganda, Ms Jiaring Jiqing, said the youth need more working experience, and practice, which they will acquire in the programme.
 “We are not only here to do the construction, we are doing more than that. We need to strengthen our collaboration in capacity building, share knowledge, and we share our culture and we are going to have personal exchange from time to time,” she said. 
About the company
China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) is the first largest state-owned transportation infrastructure group to enter overseas capital markets and is one of the Fortune 500 companies in the world.
CCCC and its subsidiaries are principally engaged in the design and construction of transportation infrastructure, dredging and heavy machinery manufacturing business, and so on.
Around the world, CCCC has 34 wholly- owned or controlled subsidiaries.

Source: 2017 Daily Monitor interview