New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Kakiika Institute's Candle Slightly Glows

From a hilltop in Mbarara, the technical school can easily be seen. Kakiika Technical School has an evergreen compound because of the good climate enveloping western Uganda.

The institute offers courses including motor vehicle mechanics, building and brick laying, tailoring, carpentry and joinery.

Following years of neglect, the institute almost sank into oblivion. The old structures and lack of equipment in the workshops reflects the state of the institute. In addition, poor funding and the increasing population have also affected the school.

Started by the Government in 1984, with the aim of equipping the youth with technical skills, the institute's full objective has not been achieved.

Kakiika, which started with a target of 24 students, has had its number grow to 267 students and yet the facilities cannot sustain such numbers.

Future plans:

However, with the latest programme dubbed, Skilling Uganda, Kakiika standards might improve by the day.

The programme hopes to introduce short courses for school leavers at Primary Seven, Senior Four and Six, school dropouts and graduates.

It is hoped that these courses will lead to certificates recognised by the Government. The system is expected to target short courses.

The plan is to give learners an opportunity to go through a parallel education meaning learners under Skilling Uganda can also be awarded diplomas, bachelors' and masters' degrees.

Teachers' quarters were converted into dormitories and they are almost collapsing. "The institute has few structures. We need to construct new buildings," says the deputy principal, Fred Mpagi.

Sometimes, the food is prepared in the open because the kitchen is too small. "The four buildings are our new classroom blocks and workshops. But the workshops are still empty and they should be restocked," Mpagi adds.

It will cost the Government about sh2trillion over 10 years to have the new system of education implemented.

Almost 41,927 students are expected to be admitted in various institutions by 2016/2017. The school also needs a bigger library since the one they have is too small to accommodate the increasing number of candidates.

The institute plans also to start short courses, construct new dormitories and teachers' quarters. Mpagi says the number of girls is also expected to increase in the future.

Also underway are plans to complete the fence. These renovations are expected to cost the Government about sh1.2b.

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