Jacques Zeelen , the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) chair holder has implored the government to invest more and promote vocational training so as to enable the youth with relevant skills that will act as an antidote in curbing youth unemployment levels in this competitive world .
Uganda has a population of 43 million with over 70% of the population under the age of 30. However, the country is combating the issue of youth unemployment rate which has been a barrier to social and economic development.
“This is due to the mismatch between the degree achieved and the vocational skills needed for the jobs that are in demand for workers”, argued Jacques Zeelen , UNESCO chair holder .
“The government should put more emphasis and more financing to vocational educational programs to equip students with skills that enable people to self employ and develop themselves since the number of jobs is very low in Uganda,” he added.
The university degree is perceived as the password of sorts to attain a white collar job in the labour market. Over 8000 students graduate from various universities across the country but barely get the white collar jobs they expect amounting to increased rates of unemployment. Zeelen debates that the education system in Uganda is not thematic to the needs of the country.
“We have to be fair to students and tell them what exactly to expect in the field. This will help them to start preparing from the grass root.”
To bridge the gap between those who graduate and what employers expect, different scholars argue that the economy needs to be revamped and most importantly, the education system needs to be overhauled.
“We should visit how first prioritize our issues. The country needs to invest internally. Are we planning to absorb the school leavers or we are planning to send them out? We need to revise our economy because it is not matching the population,” Dr. Charles Amone , Senior Lecturer , Gulu University .
“The education system is a huge problem. We would like instead of the Chinese coming to do the road works, let us use our very own that have the skills from the vocational training,” Deputy Vice chancellor, Gulu University, Prof George Ladaah Openjuru
“We need an education system that emphasises critical thinking which will stimulate creativity,” he added
United Nations Educational, scientific and cultural organisation Chair on lifelong learning, youth and work of Gulu Universitry discussed various ways to solve the concerns of youth during the 2 days conference held at Essela Country Hotel in Najjera , Kampala.