By Kampala Post reporter
SOROTI. The First Lady who is also the Minister of Education and Sports Hon. Janet Museveni has encouraged students undergoing training in Technical Institutes to go a step further and practice producing equipment instead of stopping at only gaining skills for doing certain jobs.
The First Lady said this after being taken around the various workshops at St. Kizito Technical Institute Madela in Soroti District where she was on a monitoring and familiarization tour on Thursday.
The First Lady visited the Automotive Mechanics, Wood Work Technology, Plumbing, Electrical Installation and Maintenance, Fashion and Garments, Machining and Fitting and Building Construction departments where she was impressed by the machinery and the capability of the students to utilize them.
“I am happy to hear these young people tell us what they are doing, but I would like them to go further and do more, for example manufacturing simple things like shower heads and sets instead of ending at learning how to connect pipes and maintaining the plumbing for bathrooms and toilets only,” she said.
She said that Government is serious about promoting skills development in the country and is now trying to equip the technical institutes for them to be able to train the hands to solve our own problems.
She said Ugandans have ended up relying on other people to do the simplest of things for instance plumbing and electrical installations in the homes because the country’s education for generations has been focused on training for ‘white collar jobs’.
She pointed out the importance of having skilled people not only to do plumbing, electricals and such works but also those who can build rail lines and roads if Uganda is to transform into a modern nation.
Mrs Museveni said there is need to re-skill the young unemployed University graduates so that they are able to build the railway to connect Uganda to Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan and also build and maintain our roads instead of the foreign firms that come and charge very highly.
“When we talk about skills development, we want to become now truly an independent nation and that’s how we can transform and become a modern nation,” she said.
She appreciated the management of St. Kizito Technical Institute Madela for ensuring that their Institute truly functions and advised them to establish a department that specializes in making furniture for sale like desks and chairs which are on demand by the schools sprouting all over the place.
This, she said would enable the Institute make its own money instead of always waiting for funds from elsewhere.
“This requires the leaders to plan and to know how to grow the Institutes’ income from within”.
She advised the students to remember that they are training for their livelihood and to do it meaningfully so as to excel in what they are doing and wherever they will be placed after their training.
In her report, Adutu Beatrice the Principal said the institute that attained Technical Institute status in 1986, benefitted from the Government of Uganda - African Development Bank funding in 2009 with which new infrastructure including an administrative block, classroom blocks, dormitories, multi-purpose hall and kitchen were constructed.
She reported that the enrollment this year is at 502 students and the Institute is still challenged by staff accommodation among others.