- September 12, 2022
- Posted by: Mariam Kasemiire
- Category: Uncategorized
Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), through the Makerere Regional Centre for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI), hosted a stakeholders’ consultative workshop on – Capacity Skills Needs Assessment of the Agriculture Sector in Uganda. The event held on 8th and 9th August 2022 was a high level assignment by the Ministry of Education and Sports to profile the whole range of agriculture occupations through a comprehensive functional analysis with the aim of transforming the agricultural sector through human capital development.
MaRCCI, together with stakeholders in the education sector carried out a Functional Analysis in order to identify and describe roles, duties, occupations and competencies that are required in performing the jobs in the sector. The intended goal was to lay foundation for specification of occupation standards within the sector.
According to Mr. Byamungu Elias, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Hoima City, the process was geared towards addressing the human capital needs in the number one sector, which has sustained Uganda’s economy longest. Mr. Byamungu applauded His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni for his visionary leadership noting, government support towards the creation of centres of excellence and a committee to assess and address the challenges in the sector.
During the two-day workshop, a number of issues were discussed including increasing funding to the agriculture sector, restructuring the sector and the industry to meet the current needs, adopting the sector to the new demands of Parish Development Model (PDM) through the seven pillars of transformation of agro industrialization and value addition, data collection and management for problem solving at local level, enhanced financial services and farmer institutional development, mindset change, and parish development infrastructure.
In his remarks, Dr. Richard Edema, Director MaRRCI stressed the importance of agriculture, calling for human capital development as one of the measures to transform the sector. “If human capital remains weak, Uganda will remain undeveloped. Development starts with human beings. The best asset a country can have is human capital not necessarily resources because there are countries without resources yet they are highly developed,” he said.
Issues Arising from the Workshop
- Lack of guidance and consistency in the curriculum.
- Duration of course is inconsistent across the region.
- Skills acquired are more theoretical than practical.
- Misinterpretation of skills acquired. Agriculture used as a punishment in some schools.
- Unskilled trainers.
- Curriculum is usually not sufficient to meet practical needs.
- There is lack of full supervision with proper guidance in most institutions.
- Selection of placement for interns remains a challenge and inconsistent, with limited course content.
- Assessments are not done as they should be.
- Time for industrial training is not sufficient.
- Skill sets gaps including: Skills to work in the digital world, social media in marketing, production of communication products, value chain analysis and development.
Recommendations for Reforms
- There is a mismatch between the employer and students they employ due to the fact that they have modern equipment that cannot be found in schools. However, this can be addressed through industrial training as well as Government availing schools with such equipment.
- Parents should stop crying that they cannot sustain their kids during internship.
- Government should also introduce refresher-training courses since some teachers or instructors do not know the existing technologies.
- Students should be assigned places of internship basing on their specialty.
- Assessment should be done in accordance to the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) for uniformity. There is need to seek guidance from DIT on curriculum.
- Uniform curriculum.
- Placement guidelines should have a linkage between the institution, trainer, and student on placement.
- There should be more practical trainings with close supervision.
- More standardized curriculum guidelines.
- More practical instructors and more uniform and consistent practicals across the region.
- Nurture entrepreneurial mindsets.
- Expose students to multiple investment options.
- Enforce certificate trainings, ascertain existing certificate awarding institutions, ascertain the modules they are offering, ascertain specialization of modules of different across the region.
- Shift from small scale to high tech large scale systems.
- Collecting Marketing skills for both large scale and small scale for traceability.
- Need for advocacy for widening the range of thematic areas offering training programme.
- Promote integration of entrepreneurship training into academic part of students.
- Review and increase the duration of internship training, establish frameworks for assessment of training with clarity on expected sets of skills to be acquired, the guidelines on which firms qualifies for placement.
- Issues around quality assurance for supervision, the need for standards to test for the non-formal, standard guidelines for these institutions looking at their capacities and uptake.
- There is need to put standards that match with international standards so that our products are based on up-to-date research and knowledge for compatibility with regional systems.
- There is need to improve technical training and soft skills development. These can be built through partnerships with other training institutions, upgrading agricultural training institutions, attaching institutions to industries, to ensure that human resource produced can support a particular industry need.
- There is need for job audit by public service in consultation with the private sectors – review of the existing job structures and approve new human resource structure.
- Infrastructure reforms required at all levels.
- There is need to design structured internship programmes.
- Increase financial support to training institutions.
- Government should subsidize agricultural inputs and equipment.
- Benchmarking from other institutions to enhance on quality.
- Stakeholders should be involved in reforms.
- The Chebet policy has to be initiated but this can be functional if there is: a Skills development act, national apprenticeship policy, review of the training capital by different training institutions, through a consultative approach.
- Also there is need for a platform for curriculum dialogue – curriculum should focus on the practical need which is creation of a Centre of excellence. Government should first approve the critical criteria for a research institution to be called a Centre of excellence.
- Imparting knowledge should mainly focus on how to do market surveys, collect collection, data analysis, production selection, items put in place, capacity to get better tools put in place, traceability mechanisms put in place to detect where policy is compromised, agro-tourism, general business management, sustainable waste management and urban farming for increased production, business management services, agro-input quality control, environmental management, linking to international market chains, IT soft skills and computer literacy, customer care, negotiation, communication, advocacy, resource mobilization, among many others.
Article Written By Kasemiire Mariam, Web Administrator, CAES and Law