The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni has bid farewell to H.E Hugo Verbist the outgoing Ambassador of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium to Uganda who has been in country for close to four years and will soon leave.
The First Lady, flanked by senior officials from the Education and Sports Ministry, met with Ambassador Hugo Verbist who called on her on Friday at State House Nakasero to take leave of her. The Ambassador was accompanied by the Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Development Cooperation Erwin De Wandel.
“It is an opportunity to say thank you to the Belgian Government and to the Ambassador for the work you have done here in Uganda over the years and most especially in the Education sector”, the First Lady said.
She specifically thanked the Belgian Government for supporting the training of Uganda’s teachers saying that this has greatly improved the professional competencies and quality of the trainers of teachers and teachers graduating from the National Teachers Colleges. She also expressed gratitude for the Belgium Technical Cooperation’s support in the implementation of the Skilling Uganda strategy by enabling relevant training programmes responsive to the labour market and improving the quality of skills development in the Business Technical Vocational Education and Training Institutes (BTVET).
“What has been achieved is amazing and the work you have been doing in Uganda is great. We can merely say thank you and request you to be our ambassador out there because we need friends in the world”, the First Lady told the outgoing Belgian Ambassador.
Ambassador Hugo Verbist said that Belgium fully supports human capital development and that is why they have been investing in the Education sector in Uganda since 2008. He said they are proud to have contributed to the infrastructure development of some institutes in Uganda and to the capacity building of the tutors, trainers and teachers. He also talked about a new programme that is focusing on teacher training for agriculture education to impart entrepreneurship and value chain development skills, climate smart solutions and linkage to the market.
Ambassador Verbist commended Government of Uganda for the Technical Vocational Education and Training Policy and called for a robust partnership between the private and public sectors to enable training that responds to the job market demand.
He also pointed out that Belgium supports the homegrown National Sexuality Education Framework and they would like to see it rolled-out and its implementation takeoff because they believe that sexuality education is an important component of a school curricula as it empowers young people with the correct information to make healthy and safe choices in life.
The outgoing Belgian Ambassador said the five-year programme they have been implementing in Uganda is coming to an end, but hoped for continued cooperation in the new programme that will be launched.
Aggrey Kibenge, the Education and Sports Ministry’s Under Secretary assured the out-going Ambassador that final consultations on the National Sexuality Education Framework that was launched in May 2018 are going on to ensure full buy-in of all stakeholders and thereafter it will be implemented.
He also recommended that the new Belgian programme considers supporting Uganda’s Education Response Plan for Refugees.
Dr. Hajjati Safina Musene, the Commissioner BTVET thanked the Belgian Government for supporting the Technical Vocational Education and Training competitions which help develop talent and reveal the entrepreneurship spirit in the students.
The Commissioner Teacher/Tutor, Instructor Education and Training (TIET) Dr. Jane Egau Okou said their department has been the biggest beneficiary of the Belgian Government support which she said has made a big impact on the quality of the teachers. She also welcomed the new programme that is focusing on teacher training for agriculture education.