One of the most persistent criticisms of Uganda's education system is that it does not prepare students for the challenges of the job market. Employers complain youth are not only ill equipped with skills to do real jobs, but also that they seem to be ignorant of the career options that are available to them.
The Ministry of Education and Sports requires that all secondary schools have dedicated time throughout the year to spend on career guidance. The aim is that students have a greater awareness of the world into which they are graduating and how they can fully participate, given their skills, in the workforce. At Ministry level, a Commissioner for Special Needs Education, Career Guidance and Counseling in charge of coordinating this process.
Enoch Gumisiriza, senior guidance and counseling officer in the Ministry of Education, says all educational institutions are required to hold a Career Day or a Career Week for all students.
However many teachers right in the capital city, Kampala, admit that their schools do not have career guidance counselors. They say only a day or two is spent on lecturing Senior Six students on career, usually just before the final A-level exams.
Still, there are a few schools that are trying to make career guidance integral to their curricula.
Margaret Wandera, Deputy Headmistress at Kololo Senior Secondary School, says the school has established a Careers Department and appointed a teacher to manage it. The teacher is in charge of coordinating a program for S4 and S6 students to educate them on professional or vocational options and how they can achieve their career goals.
Wandera says the guidance offered is tailored to address the realities of the education system.
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Florence Eyoti, the teacher in charge of career guidance at City High School, says she invites parents, professionals and religious leaders to talk to students about life after secondary schools. She says City High School is doing what it can, given its resources, but it needs help.
Eyoti complains that the Ministry of Education has offered little direction on changing trends and developments and so she is often ill-equipped to meet the needs of he students.
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Enoch Gumisiriza says the Ministry is limited as to how much support it can give schools. He says a recently created Career Guidance Department at the Ministry is under-funded and is unable to fully launch programs in all schools.
Gumisiriza says this, however, should not be an excuse for schools not to have career guidance for their students. He says the Ministry of Education is in the process of reforming its approach to career guidance by integrating information about the private sector and entrepreneurship and moving away from focusing on traditional professions.
ministry of education