The Federation of Uganda Employers executive director, Mr Douglas Opio, has resurrected a long-standing disappointment employer’s face about the country’s graduates.
“They have the papers but lack skills,” he told this paper on Thursday.
His comments were in reference to Wednesday’s release of the 2017 Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) exams by the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) and why UCE leavers should go for vocational/technical training.
“There are several opportunities in hands-on courses with potential to upgrade up to degrees. And for people who really do not want to hustle much looking for jobs, they should consider vocational studies.”
Like Mr Opio, many experts have fronted vocational training as gateway to quick employment as opposed to degrees without skills which has escalated unemployment in the country.
With technical/vocational training, a student leaves with skills, say how to make furniture, install electrical wiring, plumbing, wielding, among others. It is easy, therefore, for one to employ him or herself after school as opposed to some university graduates.
The National Planning Authority 2017 statistics indicating that at least nine in every 10 Ugandans who have completed any form of education are unemployed, should be a reminder to those intending to pursue an education in areas that are already oversupplied.
It is unfortunate that many guardians, parents, students and teachers have painted a negative social bias against enrolling on vocational and technical programmes, and the result has been the rampant unemployment. Many regard these courses as being for academic dwarfs, but it being fashionable to have a degree even without elementary skills on almost anything.
The result has been universities churning out graduates who loiter the streets looking for jobs in vain and end up in the Middle East in informal employment. The inadequacy of technicians to work in the oil and gas sector should act as a wake-up call for government to emphasis vocational/technical training.
What government should do, therefore, is decongest the minds of Ugandans to stop thinking that vocational studies are for academic dwarfs. Government must invest more money to have good structures and manpower in these technical schools and market these courses to the public.

The issue: Vocational training.

Our view: What government should do, therefore, is decongest the minds of Ugandans to stop thinking that vocational studies are for academic dwarfs. Government must invest more money to have good structures and manpower in these technical schools and market these courses to the public.