His Excellency, President Museveni has said that government will continue to give attention to the need for equity and accessibility to higher education for all, and especially the poor, through its programmes of student loans scheme, the university government sponsorship scheme and Universal Secondary Education among others.
He asked that the achievements so far gained by the country in equity and access to education be consolidated by those in the education sector through working towards responsive and demand driven skills training in the education system.
The President made the remarks in his speech that was delivered by the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda during the 7th Uganda Vice Chancellors’ Forum organized under the theme “Higher Education and National Human Resource Planning in Uganda” at ISBAT University on Friday.
Museveni said the vice chancellors through their jobs of teaching and undertaking research and innovation at the universities have continued to provide solutions to some of the problems that constrain the socio-economic development of Uganda, such as underdeveloped human resource, technology deficiency and negative attitudes towards work.
“A university is a place for innovations and knowledge generation. It is also a place where the future of our youth is forged through education as well as the people’s lives changed through community outreach,” the President said.
He highlighted that the human resource needs of a nation are directly linked to its higher education system, and asked that the right labour force be produced for the available labour market.
“Our learners should be equipped with skills to enable them take advantage of the rapidly changing global environment. The ultimate objective in this, is to balance the supply and demand in the labour market so as to achieve full employment in our national economy. This is a key factor if we are to transform our nation into a prosperous and industrialized nation developed by its own human resource,” the President said.
He also noted that the number of graduates has significantly increased in the country since the privatization of higher education in 1992, which has however, contributed to an increment in the level of unemployment among the graduates.
He added that this is partly due to a mismatch between the education received by the majority of the graduates and the jobs available to them in the economy, and thus asked for an alignment of the higher education curricula to directly link to the human resource needs of the country.
The Chair Person of the Vice Chancellor’s forum, Professor Maud Kameteneti appreciated the good working relationship between government and the vice chancellors’ forum.
She requested government to provide office space for accommodating the forum’s secretariat to enable it execute its work immensely with ease, noting that the forum is instrumental in sharing ideas that affect the nation.
Kamateneti said the forum aims at building capacity for Uganda through striving towards achieving vision 2040 by providing quality education.
She highlighted that the forum undertakes a number of activities such as providing solutions to handling strikes in higher institutions of learning, planning and implementing curriculum review policies among others.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor of ISBAT university, Dr. Sudhindra Bhat, said the forum provides an opportunity for the Vice Chancellors to share knowledge and ideas on critical issues in society.
He called for cooperation towards providing quality education for all emphasizing that it will enhance the economic development of the country.
The Vice Chancellors’ Forum has been in existence since 1996. The forum provides a platform for Vice Chancellors and other key stakeholders in Uganda’s higher education to meet and discuss issues of mutual concern in the area of higher education.
BY DOREEN NASASIRA