Over 20,000 join vocational schools

Over 20,000 students who passed their Ordinary Level national examinations have been admitted in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), where they are set to acquire hands-on skills beginning this academic year, to boost employment in the country.
Students arrive in Nyabugo . Timothy Kisambira
Students arrive in Nyabugo . Timothy Kisambira

Over 20,000 students who passed their Ordinary Level national examinations have been admitted in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), where they are set to acquire hands-on skills beginning this academic year, to boost employment in the country.

The new academic year starts today with thousands of students having reported to their respective schools as per the schedule announced last week by the ministry of education.

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Students wait for buses in Nyabugogo bus terminal. Timothy Kisambira

Reporting to school for primary, secondary and TVET students started on Friday last week, depending on the location of the school.

Speaking to The New Times on Friday last week, Jerome Gasana, the Director General of the Workforce Development Authority (WDA), said that there was high demand for TVET schools this year.

He said that some students who applied to join TVET schools were left out because the available schools could not absorb all of them.

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Parents escort their children at Nyabugogo bus terminal. Timothy Kisambira

“Demand is very high, we have admitted 20,000 but we have received close to 37,000 applications, the number is high while we don’t have enough schools,” he said

He said that, initially, public TVET schools could accommodate 15,000 and the recent agreement with the government to allow some technical private schools admit students who passed O’Level national exams boosted the number of admissions.

Over 5,600 enrolled in private technical schools and will be paying same fees as their counterparts offering similar courses in public schools.

Gasana said that the plan is to continue working with private schools to enroll more students while more schools offering formal education would be transformed into TVET schools.

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Many students looked stranded in Nyabugogo bus terminal as buses got scarce. Timothy Kisambira

He added that the government will also construct more schools to increase access while some trainees would be able to acquire hands-on skills under the industrial-based training system.

“Some schools offering formal education will be transformed into TVET centres and we will continue working with private schools to enroll more students; something else we will do is to promote industrial based trainings where people can acquire skills in a working environment,” Gasana added.

The move by government to work with private TVET schools is expected to boost the government’s bid to have TVET account for at least 60 per cent of total student enrolment in the country.

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A student gets stranded at Nyabugogo bus terminal. Timothy Kisambira

Under the deal, the private schools will charge the same tuition as the public schools offering similar courses, while government will committed to extend to these schools the same level of support given to public schools, according to officials.

Government has set an ambitious target of creating 1.5 million jobs over the next seven years and there is need to train more people in various forms of TVETs who would later work in Private sector and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as big companies.

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A student carrying her luggage looks for a bus in Nyabugogp bus terminal. Timothy Kisambira

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