PRESIDENT SAYS LARGE NUMBER OF GRADUATES CAN BE ABSORBED BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR
President Yoweri Museveni has said that gone are the days when
everyone thought that he or she must have a public service job.
He says such thinking only worked in the past when there was only
Makerere University which produced graduates but now, more private
universities have come on board and are producing graduates in large
“The thinking that everyone must have a public service job is
misplaced today” the president counseled in a speech read for him by
Vice president Maj. Jessica Alupo who represented him at the National
Celebrations to mark World Population Day in Alebtong district under
the theme: ‘Prioritize Free Education: Prevent School Dropouts and
Improve Household Incomes’.
The head of state said that the thinking that whoever finishes
education will secure a job with government is something of long ago.
“It was valid in the past when Uganda had only one University-Makerere
University with an enrolment of only 5,000 students” he said adding
that since the NRM liberalized the educational sector, private
entities such as religious groups, individuals among others have
helped to expand access to education at all levels.
He guided that the massive numbers of graduates from both the private
and public universities can only be absorbed by the Private sector.
“Therefore, once we solve the skills gap, the problem of youth
unemployment will be greatly minimized” he said.
He said in respect to education, the country is now reaping what he
called dividends from the Universal Primary Education (UPE) and
Universal Secondary Education (USE) programmes. He revealed that
Uganda’s adult literacy rate now stands at 75%; a rise from 43% in
1986 and described this as an achievement.
The president however, observed the need to bridge the skills-gap, in
the country’s educational system, saying it is currently largely
oriented towards white-collar jobs.
“Teachers, parents and guardians should help the young people to
select courses in the science fields such as medicine, engineering,
nursing, computing, science teachers among others” he said.
Museveni said this mismatch between the education system and the job
market in the private sector is responsible for the high rates of
unemployment among youths.
He therefore, said there is need to align the university and tertiary
courses with the requirements of the private sector.
“This is because the private sector is the biggest employer. Its
capacity to create employment opportunities is vast and unlimited,
especially in a country like Uganda which boasts of right policies and
infrastructure to guarantee profitability on investment for business
enterprises in commercial agriculture, industry, services and ICT” he
The president attributed this challenge to illegal fees charged by
unscrupulous school heads in government schools under UPE and USE
programs. He said this phenomenon of school dropouts is preventable.
“It is caused by the extra-fees that school authorities have illegally
introduced in the UPE and USE schools. The NRM introduced these
programmes to help the poor families to educate their children. It is
therefore, unacceptable, for school authorities to continue charging
extra-fees” he said adding that this is keeping children out of school
and jeopardizing their future.
He hailed this year’s theme which he said is in line with the
priorities of the NRM government to guarantee education, for all
children; good health for all people and jobs and wealth, for all the
homesteads in the country. He described these priorities as conditions
for achieving the goal of socio-economic transformation of society.
“The population must be educated and highly skilled; healthy that’s to
say; free of diseases, in order to increase their life expectancy and
embrace the modernity of working for money in the four sectors of
commercial agriculture, industries, services and ICT” he said.
He said the early interventions by NRM to improve access to maternal
health and immunization of children against the killer diseases have
pushed Uganda’s population from 14 million people in 1986 to 48
million now, in addition to increasing life expectancy from merely 43
years in 1986 to 64years now. He urged people to embrace the Parish
Development Model and other the wealth creation funds aimed at
increasing the number of wealth creators engaged in production in the
four sectors of: commercial agriculture, industries, services and ICT.
“Finally, I call upon all Ugandans to stay healthy, keep all the
school-going-age children in school and embrace the government wealth
creation programmes to improve livelihoods” he said.