By Isaac Wandubile
Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) and Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) have signed a collaborative partnership aimed at building Science Technology and Engineering (STE) human resource capacity and capability for employability, competitiveness, and increased local content. Both Government of Uganda (GoU) agencies, UNSCT and DIT signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today, Thursday, November 18, 2021, at the UNSCT offices in Kampala. Acting Executive Secretary Dr Martin Patrick Ongol signed on behalf of UNCST while Patrick Byakatonda, the director of DIT, put pen to paper on behalf of his organization during a ceremony that was witnessed by senior staff from both institutions. According to the MoU, UNSCT and DIT will collaborate on National Science Technology, Engineering and Innovation Skills Enhancement Project (NSTEI-SEP) to develop a competency-based training curriculum. The NSTEI-SEP Project is meant to ensure that Ugandans design, implement and manage key infrastructural projects and create globally competitive businesses through the provision of the requisite technology engineering skills, common user facilities for technology development, and product commercialization.
In this partnership, DIT will prepare training and retooling programs and instructional materials in accordance with the principles of the flexible factory learning and infrastructure model to support the industry and manufacturing sectors in Uganda. These programs and materials are expected to improve the practical skill sets of Ugandans, including Juakalis and graduates across all disciplines.
A government Business, Technical, Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) quality assurance body whose goal is to promote quality assurance interventions in BTVET for the public and private sector labor market needs to accelerate national development, DIT will also propose the list of teaching and retooling materials, training/learning modules, manuals with content for selected engineering majors for the provision of the requisite competence-based technology engineering skills.
On the other hand, UNSCT, which is mandated to facilitate and coordinate the development and implementation of policies and strategies for integrating science, technology, and innovation into the national development process of Uganda, will provide all the requisite resources, reports, and documentation, including administrative support in arranging meetings and workshops.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Acting DIT Director Byakatonda said: “We are pleased with our new partnership with Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and we pledge to commit to partnership obligations as per the MoU.”
Byakatonda further explained that DIT had entered into a number of partnerships with other agencies such as National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), Katwe Small Scales Industries Association, Technoserve Business Solutions, MasterCard Foundation, Uganda Prisons, Uganda Manufacturers Association, and Datamine Technical Business School. Other DIT Partners are Kampala Capital City Authority, National Environmental Management Authority, Uganda Small Scale Industries Association, BRAC, UMEME LTD, International Labour Organization, Presidential Initiative for Skilling Girl and Boy Child, Maganjo Institute of Career Education, Vijana Agency, Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Enlight Education Institutions, National Organization of Trade Unions, and the Kisoboka Campaign.
NSTEI-SEP Project Coordinator Anthony Okimat noted that the MoU reaffirms the commitment to prepare training and retooling programs as well as instruction materials in accordance with the principles of the flexible factory learning and infrastructure model to support industry and manufacturing sectors in Uganda.
“The training and retooling programs and instruction materials are expected to improve the practical skill sets of Ugandans including; Jua Kalis and graduates across all the nine (9) disciplines desiring to diversify toward engineering/technology trades. The developed curriculum/programs are to focus on both industrial and entrepreneurship skills,” explained Okimat.
“I am very happy that today we are again witnessing another very important milestone towards the operationalization and actualization of NSTEI-SEP, also because there is always talk about Government bureaucracy but let me assure you that UNCST and DIT are very practical institutions in situations of work which has been illustrated by our journey leading to this day,” said Okimat.
“I look forward to this partnership developing an integrated framework for competence-based engineering training, retooling and accelerated instruction programs for the trainers/instructors at the existing government and private Business, Technical and Vocational Education Centers across the country that address the needs of the manufacturing industries, changing technology trends and proving engineering related solutions to communities with local and international certification working in collaboration with other agencies such as NCHE, NCDC, Universities, R&D institutions and the Private Sector.”