Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) together with National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at improving on the quality and number of electricians in the country.
The MoU was signed at ERA head offices in industrial area with Eng. Ziria Waako Tibalwa (CEO) signing on behalf of ERA and Prof. Mary Okwakol (ED) signing on behalf of NCHE.
Eng. Ziria said that the two institutions have since July last year been engaged in talks to establish long lasting cooperation aimed at increasing the number of Certified Electricians in Uganda and also enhance professionalism.
She said the partnership will greatly grow the number of Certified Electricians of Permit Classes D and C from the current 1300 to 3000.
“In addition, it will create public awareness about the need to utilize only certified electricians for installation works to ensure safe handling and consumption of electricity” she said.
She commended NCHE for accepting to partner with ERA in efforts to accelerate access to electricity through offering training and certification of electricians.
“ERA in laison with NCHE, shall ensure that there’s sensitization in all higher education electrical training institutions on the academic and professional requirements for application for a permit for all electricians in the country” Ziria said.
Meanwhile, Prof. Okwakol described the signing of the MoU as a significant milestone and urged ERA to join hands with NCHE in areas of ensuring standards in training electricians at all levels and accreditation of programs.
“We request ERA for experts and timely review of the programs when sent and sharing of information from monitoring activities. This will help both entities identify areas and strategies for improvement” she said.
She pledged NCHE’s commitment to ensuring that all electrical engineering programs taught at all institutions are accredited, ensure that physical facilities within which the programs are taught are appropriate and sufficient to meet the required regulations among others.
Okwakol also pledged regular communication with ERA on any changes made by any institution offering electrical engineering programs and those institutions that have been discontinued from offering such programs. The two entities have put in place technical teams to ensure full implementation of the contents of the MoU.
Under the Electricity Act of 1999 section 88, no person shall install any electrical wiring or extension to existing wiring on any premises without first obtaining an Installation Permit issued by ERA. Similarly, NCHE is mandated to accredit academic and professional programs in consultation with the professional and regulatory bodies, ensuring minimum standards for course of study and equating of qualifications among other tasks.
“The involvement of ERA experts will help regulate the professional input in the program that we accredit. When we got out to accredit institutions, we shall ensure that before the process of accreditation is finished, we shall ensure that the staff to deliver that program are adequate and also the facilities and environment are adequate” Okwakol said.