ICT ministry to focus on short-course skilling programs
The Ministry of ICT has offered to support ‘short course’ training programmes that can be able to produce up to 10,000 technology engineers and software developers in Uganda every year as a way to attract more investments and innovations in the rapidly evolving sector.
This was revealed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information Communication Technology Dr. Aminah Zawedde who witnessed the launch of a partnership between a Ugandan tech education company known as Refactory with a global tech education company called Coding Dojo.
Citing the successes of Coding Dojo in other countries, Dr. Aminah Zawedde expressed confidence that Uganda can ably produce 10,000 students with skills to be employed in the sector per year.
The partnership is expected to increase the availability of skills in an industry where, according to research by Coding Dojo, only 4 out of 10 IT companies are able to find the right skills.
The event took place at Clarke International University, where Refactory Program is based.
“Ninety percent of the graduates of Refactory Program are employed immediately after their studies which translates in 300 students over the last 3 years of the program, we want to go over 10,000 students employed per year and I know we can do it,” said Dr. Zawedde
She called upon the private sector, development partners and government agencies all over the continent and globally to work together to see to it that we serve the digital space especially in post COVID, we have come to realize the need for us to go digital;
Emphasis on skills not papers
Dr. Zawedde noted that the Ministry is now prioritizing practical skills of a graduate rather than the academic qualification.
“I think we are moving away from recognizing academic degrees to appreciating skills and that is what we intend to do as the Ministry because we have to lead in terms of governance……to create an ecosystem that allows such initiatives to prosper in this country,” said Dr. Zawedde
Dr. Zawedde also underscored the need to aggressively brand the skilled tech talents.
“What we have to do is to diligently and aggressively brand our youths and ensure that we have the skills to serve the industry, so that when Refactory comes in, when Coding Dojo comes in or any other s they just put icing on the cake”-Dr. Zawedde.
Meanwhile the Program director Refactory Program, Michael Niyitegeka described the partnership as a milestone for the sector that intends to grow software engineering and generally the IT sector.
Niyitegaka says the partnership will help them not only to address the growing demand for professionals in the tech sector but also prepare Uganda’s youths to tap into the great employment opportunities both locally and globally.
Starting with the first cohort in July 2022, Refactory training will be targeting senior technical people that have aspirations to get to the next level in their tech careers.
“We are starting with two major programs that we believe are very critical in the digital sector; first is Data science, because a lot of people have heard about Data Science, companies are hiring Data Specialists but there are few people that have the technical capability to work in that space called Data Science,” Niyitegaka reveals.