One of the largest vocational institutes in Jinja is dying a slow death.
Jinja IDA Vocational Institute in Walukuba was built in 1985 to be a model of technical and vocational training in mideastern Uganda. It was to be a learning centre for 120 students, offering courses in a range of technical and trade skills.
Today, Jinja IDA Vocational Institute is overcrowded with double its intended population. The 10 lecture rooms are insufficient to hold all the students and laboratories are in a state of disrepair. Courses like carpentry and joinery don't have even the most basic equipment and so students are not getting appropriate practical instruction.
Alex Mugisha, Principal of Jinja Vocational Institute, the government-funded college has no dormitory for girls. It hasn't been rehabilitated for several years and many of the buildings are falling apart.
Mugisha says the college will be closed until April next year. He says that during this time some basic repairs will be made.
In addition to its infrastructure troubles, Jinja IDA Vocational Institute is fighting to keep open an access road to the college. The Jinja Mayor's office reportedly sold the road to a businessman called Tony Mawerere who uses it to dry maize in the sun. The road is also being used as a washing bay.
The Deputy Resident District Commissioner of Jinja, Apollo Bwebale, says he intends to ensure that the road is protected. He claims to have heard that the road was due for repair and that in the meantime the Mayor's office has offered it up for commercial use.
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Bwebale says this is unacceptable.
Government has pledged 2.1 billion shillings for the refurbishment of Jinja IDA Vocational Institute next year.