Mbarara. Ministry of Education and Sports has conducted an assessment of 5,785 children and youth at 107 centres across the country to determine the level of skills and competence in vocational skills gained during non- formal training that had been ongoing for three months.
The assessment was conducted by the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) for two days and ended yesterday.
At Mbarara Municipal Primary School, they examined 483 pupils of Primary Six, who were trained in bakery, tailoring, art and design, and knitting.
The acting director of the training institute, Mr Patrick Byakatonda, said those who perform well are given certificates of competence.
The government through the Education ministry introduced non-formal training programme in 2010 to equip the youth with hands-on skills for self-sustenance.
The ministry through Business Technical Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) provides funds to the schools and enterprises, which then identify trainers. DIT comes in to assess the competence and issues certificates.
“This initiative is part of skilling Uganda programme which is aimed at providing skills to every Ugandan. The arrangement will help in changing the mindset of people towards vocational training,” Mr Byakatonda explained.
He went on to reveal that last year, 28,000 youth and children were trained and assessed in various vocational skills. This year, they targeted 40,000.
“Our target is 60,000 trainees every year. What is limiting us are finances because government spends Shs50, 000 on each trainee,” Mr Byakatonda said.
Mr Jamiru Katongole Bakyase, a parent at Mbarara Municipal Primary School, appreciated the government efforts to fight poverty and unemployment among the youth through the skills training programmes.
“Such skill development programmes give children alternatives so that after they have completed their studies, they can easily do something for themselves even if they do not get jobs in line of their professions,’’ Mr Bakyase said.
Since the programme started in 2010, DIT has so far assessed and certified a total of 78,191 trainees across the country in 60 different occupations.
The unemployment rate in Uganda for the young people aged between 15–24, stands at about 83 per cent. This rate is even higher for those who have degrees and live in the urban area.