FIRST LADY CALLS FOR EFFECTIVE UTILISATION OF TECHNICAL INSTITUTES
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni has called on Ugandans to fully take advantage of and utilize the many Technical Institutes that Government has constructed all over the country to enable them get the much-needed skills in the labour market.
“You must know that this is part of the struggle to really make our country completely independent and self-sustaining” she said while at Buhimba Technical Institute in Hoima District which she visited on Wednesday to get to know its status.
Mrs. Janet Museveni informed the staff, students, Hoima District leaders and the community that welcomed her at Buhimba that skills development is an area that the Education sector and Uganda as a country is now focusing on, having realized that the education system had all along concentrated a lot on theoretical learning mainly for white collar jobs. “The learning in our schools and universities was focusing on the head; training the brain to work and perhaps the heart a bit but neglected the hand altogether and a country that is not trained to use their hands is at risk because it must always import those people from elsewhere to do the work that must be done using the hand and hands on people. This is a shame because the people we have, the equipment we can buy and the institutes we can build”, she said.
She said that Uganda has now woken up to that fact that it needs to skill the people in order to be self-reliant and therefore the people who train from the technical institutes must become experts in their own right.
She urged the people of Bunyoro, the students and the Principal to ensure that all those who study from Buhimba Technical institute will be known across the country for their expertise in honour of the Institute which according to President Museveni was built in memory of what happened in the area during the struggle when the 19th battalion fought at the junction and defeated the Okellos of UNRA.
“When people do a good job, the country gets known and that is what introduces them to the world, otherwise they remain unknown”, she emphasized.
She for instance pointed out that Bunyoro is an area that can produce so much food to even feed other areas and Buhimba Institute can make its own funding from the sale of its agriculture by fully utilizing the students who are trained in agriculture and the Institute’s equipment. “These are things we must begin to think about, talk about and ensure that they happen otherwise you can have these big buildings standing empty and the equipment remaining unutilized for years”.
She also noted that Buhimba which would have been full with youth coming to learn and going away to give those services that are really required all over the country, still has small numbers of students and does not show a sign of what it ought to be.
She urged the MPs, Local Government leaders and Leaders of the Institute to take interest in what is happening at the Institute and ensure that it is beneficial to the young people because it is for the good of their children and area.
“This is an institute that must work and really produce skilled people that will speak for themselves and speak for Buhimba in this region and country”, she emphasized.
She thanked the Principal and staff for the work they do at the institute and encouraged them to always inform the Ministry about their challenges in time and also follow up. She also appreciated World Vision Uganda, BTC, VSO, Q-Sourcing and others for partnering with Buhimba Technical Institute and supporting vocational training in the country.
Mrs. Museveni assured Ugandans that her Ministry will try to establish SEED Schools in those Sub counties that still lack a Secondary school and also address the inadequate number of teachers.
The Principal Buhimba Technical Institute Akoki Anyamo reported that the Government Institution that was established with Financing from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and handed over to Hoima District in 2015, has a total of 129 students in formal setting. He said there is need to sensitize the population to change their mindset about vocational training if the skilling Uganda strategy is to succeed.
The State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs also MP Hoima Municipality Ernest Kiiza appreciated Government for the various policies to ensure access to education and thanked Mrs. Museveni for trying to transform the Education Ministry. Kiiza who enumerated the many development projects in the Bunyoro region including the Karuma Hydropower plant, Hoima International Airport, Kigumba-Kyenjojo and Mubende-Kakumiro-Kagadi roads plus the many oil roads being constructed encouraged the Local leaders to mobilize the people to tap into these development opportunities.
The MP Buhaguzi Daniel Muheirwe Mpamizo requested Government to include equipping the vocational students with a tool box in their respective field on completion of their training so as to inspire them to join the Vocational schools. He also urged local leaders to inform the public that vocational education is not for failures but rather a short cut for success.
Hoima LC5 Chairman Kadri Kirungi pointed various challenges facing the education sector in his District including inadequate teaching and learning facilities, manpower, dormitories and the negative parental attitudes and support towards education activities for instance some parents not providing lunch for their school going children among others.