What you need to know:
- Unfortunately, projections registered by the Uganda Investment Authority indicate that only 150,000 jobs are created annually, leaving an estimated 350,000 potentially jobless.
Makerere University has earmarked Shs1.5 billion to support the best innovations by students to help them penetrate available markets.
While addressing guests at a public lecture at the university last Friday under the theme “The future of computing and information sciences/services, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, said at least Shs1.5b would be deducted from the research fund to boost innovators.
Government allocates Shs30b to Makerere University for research and innovations every financial year.
“We have decided that part of the money goes to support innovations that have got commercial potential and can be upgraded to commercial products to solve day-to-day problems,” he said.
Prof Nawangwe admitted that whereas several students had come up with unique innovations as they seek knowledge in their respective courses, many continue to vanish immediately after they have graduated due to lack of financial support.
“Makerere University comes up with a lot of innovations every year, including innovation in Information Technology (IT) but students abandon these innovations when they graduate and they go searching for jobs when they could actually become employers themselves. The new arrangement will help solve this challenge and students with great ideas should utilise it,” he said.
Prof Nawangwe said he was impressed when one of his students’ innovation on air purification was being discussed in San Francisco, California, last month.
The university developed a monitoring device to tackle air pollution in Kampala. Kampala is said to be among the most polluted cities in Africa.
Prof Nawangwe expressed conviction that helping students to take their innovations to another level would help minimise unemployment among the youth, including graduates.
Estimates indicate that only a fraction of graduates in Uganda get absorbed in the limited job market. At least 400,000 students graduate each year at the various public and private universities, thanks to the liberalisation of education.
Unfortunately, projections registered by the Uganda Investment Authority indicate that only 150,000 jobs are created annually, leaving an estimated 350,000 potentially jobless.
Dr Francis F Tusubira, the keynote speaker, urged Makerere University to abandon the traditional methods of teaching using a flipchart and marker and adopt digitalised approach where students can study online.
Prof Tonny Oyana, the College of Computing and Information Science principal, welcomed the university initiative of financing best innovations, saying it will encourage students to take on new innovations.