Uganda Let’s Not Get Caught Up In The Unemployability Blame Game

Even though there is a valid need for skilling graduates into being employable; and ‘teaching the teachers’ through advanced training for effective teaching and learning, questions about the relevance of university courses and programmes and the unemployability of graduates, are unfairly being turned into something like an unending requiem song from an old hymn book.

Prof Mayunga Nkunya, executive secretary Inter-University Council for East Africa yesterday describes it as blame game that resulted in the signing of a partnership between IUCEA and the East African Business Council in 2011 with the aim of providing the intersection point between knowledge and human resources produced by higher education institutions in East Africa, and dissemination of information to the private sector for eventual diffusion into the productive sectors.

The contrivances, the Academic-Public-Private Partnership Forum and related exhibitions are held rotationally in all the East African countries.

Part of the reason for the unending blame game seems to emanate from lack of adequate information; the culprits being the media which hypes political and social scandal while giving lukewarm coverage to educational developments; and the institutions not disseminating enough information about research and outreach programmes.

Despite the presence of journalists at the Karamoja Cluster Project Seminar and Exhibition on cross-border initiatives for peace, security and development held at Hotel Africana last year, for example, media coverage of the event was not satisfactory. Its theme, “From a troubled past to a meaningful future: discerning the trends, identifying the gaps and mapping the future of peace building in Karamoja” did not catch the eyes of the journalists yet this was an opportunity for news from a previously neglected region.

In his article ‘What to make of Janet’s plunge into party politics’ [Daily Monitor, August 24] Perez Rumanzi reported that First Lady and minister for Karamoja Janet Museveni, is making an unprecedented plunge into the politics of Ruhaama.

She has been lauded by the Karimojong for doing a good job; but for sustainable peace to prevail, development actors and peace-builders ought to go beyond national politics when, with greater focus directed on alternative livelihoods and development, they engage local communities.

David Pulkol, an eminent Karimojong, implores the Karacunas to harness the energy expended in killing each other during cattle raids to engage in productive activities.

The first president of Uganda and Kabaka of Buganda, Sir Edward Muteesa’s story about donating his salary to Karamoja was confirmed by another son of the region, Commissioner of Police Sagal Abram Emong whom I privately talked to during the seminar.

Muteesa was going hunting when his bodyguard fell ill and at his behest, evacuated to Moroto but was pained to learn the bodyguard could not be treated because there was no hospital whereupon he directed that his salary be utilised for constructing one! The story of Karamoja and its people has to be told unequivocally by the Karimojong and cogently by the media.

Experts with interdisciplinary perspectives on development, peace and security as well as governance; analysed the Karamoja region from national, regional and international perspectives.

To return to unemployability, in pursuit of relevance to the needs of society Uganda Martyrs University [UMU], through its Department of Governance and Peace Studies in collaboration with the United Nations University for Peace and the Children’s Initiative-Kenya, developed the Karamoja Cluster Project.

The Uganda National Council for Higher Education has, since inception, conducted many seminars and workshops on curriculum design; and several universities have responded by designing relevant curricula that responds to societal needs.

For instance, in collaboration with Università Catholica Del Sacro Cuore and Alta Scoula Impresa e Societa, UMU launched an innovative MBA in Social Entrepreneurship that is in tandem with poverty alleviation needs.

Nevertheless, if something is not done now rather than later so that the blame game ends, something might be done about all of us sooner than later!

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Source: Mr Baligidde A Former Diplomat

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