Eddy Tureyatemba, Assistant Commissioner of TVET at the Education Ministry, states that the government has decided to decentralize the selection process for those seeking government sponsorship for TVET education.
Several parents are working up their phones as they struggle to secure placements for their children in secondary schools following the release of Primary Leaving Examination results on Friday last week. Many parents opt to search for vacancies for their children even before the national selection exercise owing to the high competition for placement in certain schools.
However, experts advise parents as they scramble for secondary school placements, they should also consider the Technical, Vocational Education, and Training (TVET) path. Gabriel Ocaka, the chairperson of TVET institution
principals, says the Technical and Vocational Education path is not just a backup
option for those who have failed PLE or the poor but an academic path with
numerous benefits for all types of learners.
“Both male and female, bright and average
students can gain entry into TVET institutions, such as community polytechnics,
where they can acquire valuable, lifelong skills. TVET provides practical,
hands-on training in various industries and prepares students for employment or
entrepreneurship,” notes Ocaka.
Community Polytechnics, Technical Schools, and
Farm Schools admit learners who have completed primary school and provide
them with three-year training programs equivalent to the Ordinary Level
certificates awarded by the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) to their senior
At this level, students have an opportunity to
choose from 16 programs, including Welding and Metal Fabrication, Motor
Vehicle Mechanics, Block Laying and Concrete Practice, Electrical Installation
Practice, Plumbing, and Pipe Fitting, business studies (storekeeping,
accounting, and secretarial studies), Carpentry and Joinery among others.
Ocaka notes that parents have been avoiding
TVET education due to societal biases that favor traditional academic paths and
a lack of awareness about the benefits of TVET. He explains that many parents
may not understand the value of practical, hands-on training and may view it as
inferior to traditional academic programs.
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The principal adds that some parents have been
declining to enroll their children in technical institutions citing their
young age. He, however, argues that this is not a valid reason as
completing the three-year program is not the end of a student's learning
journey. “There is a full learning path ahead, and
students can continue their education for as long as their parents wish,” the
He adds that; “After completing three years at a
polytechnic, a learner can continue to a technical institution, similar to
those who transition from O-Level to A-Level in traditional secondary schools.
The advantage of the TVET path is that the learner will already have acquired
skills, even if they choose not to return to school. On the other hand, their
counterparts in senior four will have nothing to show for it.”
Eddy Tureyatemba, Assistant Commissioner of TVET
at the Education Ministry, states that the government has decided to
decentralize the selection process for those seeking government sponsorship for
Tureyatemba adds that admission forms can be
picked up at district headquarters or nearby technical institutions to fill in
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The national TVET selection for primary school
leavers will take place from February 17th to 19th this year. Learners from the
central region will be selected at Nakawa Technical Institute, those from the
eastern region at St. Kizito Institution in Soroti, the western region at
Nyamitanga Institute, and those from the north at Youth Development Centre in
Available information indicates that the
government will sponsor 60 students per institution this year, who will be
distributed among 44 government-owned institutions. The Universal TVET education
program has not yet been implemented.
However, Ocaka says that in addition to
government sponsorship, there are both private institutions and government TVET
institutions that accept private students. He mentions that the cost of
attending these institutions is relatively low, with fees ranging from 500,000
Shillings to 800,000 Shillings including hostel fees.
He further states that the tools and equipment
required for the courses are not too demanding, and they purely belong to the learner. this means that a learner can use the course to earn
income during the course or after completing the program.
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He further points out that the flexibility of the
program allows learners to learn at their own pace, even if they do not have the financial means to support their education.
“They can complete a module; covered in a period
of three months (equivalent to a school term), go home and practice, then
return to continue their education when they have the means to do so. This
provides an opportunity for those who may not have financial support to still
get the education and skills they need,” Ocaka adds.
Sam Byagweri, the principal of Bushenyi Technical College attests that a learner can climb through the ladder
of learning under the TVET path to move to higher qualifications, including
technologist degrees and post-graduate degrees.
Byagweri notes that taking the
TVET path can lead to higher qualifications and a successful career, as he
himself has done so. He dropped out of school after senior four and sat at home
for two years, but still managed to climb the ladder and become a civil
"When I dropped out of school,
I struggled to find the fees to return. I had no skills and knew nothing. I
eventually found work on a tea estate and saved enough money to sponsor myself
in a technical institution. I have friends who went straight to these
institutions after primary and never struggled as I did. Today, some have
PhDs, and others are experts in their fields." Says Byagweri.
To date, Byagweri says he still
aspires to continue learning in his field, demonstrating the potential of TVET
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