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Why Uganda’s education system has failed to reduce unemployment


ARTICLE SUMMARY: Graduates of the day have purely academic and bookish knowledge which is not job-oriented. The need of the hour is that there must be a sufficient number of technical training institutions and other job-oriented courses at village level.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY: Nnyombi Mohamood is a journalist and commentator on social and political issues.

Bill Clinton once remarked, “Do not believe we can repair the basic fabric of society until people who are willing to work have work. Work organises life. It gives structure and discipline to life.”

This, ideally, signifies the essence of employment to a society. Some people argue that the type of education we have is the answer to some of the big current problems Uganda faces. They bear that illusion in mind: “Want to fix the unemployment problem? Educate a child!”

They also argue that if more people have university degrees, they'll qualify for higher wage work.  While these arguments appear to make sense, looking at the data over the past several decades provides the opposite answer: the fact is that Uganda’s current education system would solve neither problem.

The state of unemployment occurs when people are without work and are actively seeking for one. Africa is deeply affected by a high rate of unemployment especially among the youth. The world Bank/IMF report says that Uganda is now having the most youthful population in Africa with the youth covering close to between 60 percent and 70 percent of the country’s population.

While this record appears, Uganda remains one of the countries in Africa with the best education system that many admire. Having a university degree from Uganda is one of the greatest pleasure foreign students fancy. But the economic question remains: how effective does that university degree leave to the demands of the job trend today? This menace poses great threats to the strength and growth of Africa.

Over sixteen years are spent in education right from primary one to a level of attaining a university degree. Education and training provided to young people throughout the journey do not have a greater focus on vocational skills and training. Finally, graduates from the “prestigious universities” end up on the streets year in year out!

The empirical truth printed on the sky is that our education system is defective. Yes! It does not correspond directly to the economic realities prevailing outside the school system. Instead of training professionals and people with skills, theory instead of practical is the order of the day.

The education system has failed to respond to the existing inter-generation gap. It simply imparts general and literary education devoid of any practical content. It merely produces individuals whose services do not reflect the economic trends on the job market.

The educational structure, especially the current curriculum does not include enough industrial skills, vocational guidance and training facilities hence produces graduates whose skills are not transferrable. The open door policy at the secondary and university level has increased manifold unemployment among the educated that are fit only for white collar jobs and not for self employment.

Graduates of the day have purely academic and bookish knowledge which is not job-oriented. The need of the hour is that there must be a sufficient number of technical training institutions and other job oriented courses at village level. Most of the students in rural areas remain ignorant of possible avenues of employment and choice of occupation.

In the last 50 years the world’s population has doubled to 6 billion. In another fifty years, if every second, 5 people are born and of which 2 people die, there is a net gain of 3 people. At this stage, we cannot refute the fact that there is population explosion; therefore, we need to seek comprehensive measures to address unemployment before issues threaten to get out of hand.

Adequate and conscious efforts should be made to ensure improvements in the education and training provided to young people, with a greater focus on vocational skills and training.

People should be trained in the schools to acquire transferable skills highly meeting the current economic trends. The schools curricula should be drafted around producing skilled individuals in the technical and vocational field. There should be the provision of more training and education to the unemployed. This could help improve computer skills and communication. These people will become more confident and employable.

There must be increased resource allocation out of national budgets for employment promotion activities. Faster economic growth is viewed as a means of generating more jobs. Methods of accumulation and dissemination of information on available jobs and workers could be improved.

Efforts must be intensified to increase productivity and income through the informal sector, and government should increase their efforts to facilitate greater access of operators in the informal sector to the means of production such as land, capital and improved management technology and training in order to facilitate the marketing of their products.

There must be conscious and adequate efforts by governments in Africa to support the struggling industries in order to try to save jobs. Proper supervision and adequate resources should be invested in the industries to support the employment base across the country.

Otherwise, social problems comprising of dishonesty, gambling, bribery, theft, social pathology, as reflected by an increased crime rate and violent agitators, may dominate the society as a result of unemployment.





0 #1 Ms Mbeya Aisha 2015-03-05 06:47
Its true that graduates are bookish and degrade jobs available as they wait for the ones they have studied for.
0 #2 @brendah 2016-03-30 14:35
yes it is.for example after doing your law course,graduate with a good class and then ends in kiseka market selling shoes ? to hell with that