Belgium to focus on skilling Ugandans for jobs, practical life – Monitor

Catherine Biira, 18, learning how to build after she was returned to school with support from Enabel, the Belgian development agency. PHOTO/ COURTESY 

After nearly 30 years of focusing on health and education, Belgium will now redirect its development efforts to skilling Ugandans for jobs, the European country’s ambassador to Kampala, Rudi Veestraeten, has said. 
‘’Belgium has been active in Uganda for almost 30 years in health and education. We are now shifting the focus of our bilateral development programme to decent work and skilling for jobs,’’ Mr Veestraeten said at an event to commemorate the Kampala Impact Day in Bugolobi last week.
He observed that trainings in Uganda happen as a virtual activity, without a link to real life and jobs, further noting that the East African nation’s mode of education is more idealistic and theoretical than practical.
“In Uganda, you learn how to cook on a blackboard and with chalk, not in a kitchen,’’ he said.
To achieve this shift, Belgium will create avenues to encourage young entrepreneurs take up agriculture and tourism since “these sectors have an enormous economic and social potential here.”
The ambassador appealed to the private sector actors to be at the core of the programme.
“When push comes to shove, we take a step back and let the private actors do their thing. They know what they need better,” he said.
He also lauded the private sector for always letting government know about the challenges they face and what must be done to avert them. He was however, disappointed by the lack of response from the government.
“What I have missed in my three and a half years in Uganda is constructive response by the government of Uganda,” he said.
He also tasked the government of Uganda to do more on the education system to create room for training and skilling to prepare Ugandans for competitive jobs.
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