Graduating students have been met with the dilemma of unemployment in spite of the government promising thousands of jobs for the youthful population every year.
This has been attributed to a gap in skills development for Uganda’s graduates. A recent study by Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund led by Prof. Mulumba Bwanika Mathias hopes that a few changes in our curriculum and training of teachers will equip them with the right skills.
This would enable the teacher pass that knowledge down to the students there by solving the skills gap in graduating students.
Youth unemployment in Uganda is one of the highest in Africa.
A study, Lost Opportunity? Gaps in youth policy and programming in Uganda published by Action Aid, put youth unemployment at 62%, although the African Development bank says it could be as high as 83%.
The research by Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund attributes the lack of employable skills in graduates to student teachers who are not prepared to acquire literacy, learning and life skills, so they can pass them to their own students.
While disseminating the findings, Dr. Marjorie Batiibwe, the coordinator, Mathematics Education, Makerere University said what teachers study at university is not what they teach at school meaning that when they begin to teach, there is a knowledge gap.
The researchers believe that skilling teachers with other employable skills will enable them to pass on this knowledge as opposed to knowledge centred skills right from secondary school.
The report recommended that employability and entrepreneurial skills should be made compulsory in teacher preparation and should be emphasised in each and every subject area.
“The idea of integrating the 21st Century skills and stakeholders’ views in the teacher training needs has potential to produce teachers with transferable skills and competencies for meeting future job requirements, ” the study noted.
Uganda has the world’s largest percentage of youth people under 30 at 78% according to the 2012 state of Uganda population report by the UN population Fund.
In the past decade, Uganda has experienced strong GDP growth, averaging 7% annually, but this has not generated jobs, a trend seen across the continent.