The Ugandan Government has warned technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions against the continued carrying out of unauthorised assessments.
Onesmus Oyesigye, the executive secretary Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB), said such schools are acting in violation of the law and could face sanctions for their actions.
“We have found out that many students are being disadvantaged,” Oyesigye said.
He revealed that while they have been receiving many requests to certify TVET qualifications in line with their mandate, they have found out that some are not certifiable. This is because some training institutions are subjecting their students to internal assessments rather than national ones given by the Government.
MOTIVATED BY MONEY
Asked why some of the institutions follow the route of subjecting their students to local exams instead of national ones as required by the law, Oyesigye said it could be due to money.
“We have also found out that some of those institutions are the ones that did not pay our registration fees. Some are trying to dodge while others collected money from students but did not remit it,” he said.
“As the board, we wish to state that the Solicitor General in 2017 guided that the conduct of national examinations for TVET programmes must be by the national examinations body,” he said, adding that it is clear that any TVET qualifications that are not certified the government entity are null and void.
New Vision has learnt that some of the students who are affected are those seeking to upgrade their studies at Oyesigye
higher institutions of learning while others are those seeking employment abroad.
Loy Abaine Muhwezi, the assistant commissioner for technical education at the ministry, said some students could have been misled.
“Whether it is O’level or P7, if you don’t have a national certificate, then you are not recognised,” she said.
The Business, Technical Vocational Education and Training Act 2008 and Statutory Instrument 2009 (9) establishing UBTEB, mandate the entity as the sole government body responsible for the assessment and awards for certificate and diploma TVET qualifications in Uganda.
“We are telling them that we are not the ones who assessed this. People are losing opportunities, which we are concerned about, being the body responsible for enforcing TVET standards in the country,” UBTEB boss Onesmus Oyesigye said.
He said students whose qualifications are rejected have the tough option of having to go back to school to pursue a new qualification or abandon their effort at looking for job opportunities altogether.
This, he said, is unfortunate at a time when the Government is trying to promote the uptake of TVET in the country.
Muhwezi said currently they have opened up training for all Ugandans who desire to get a skill for personal benefit.
However, she noted that for as long as one is interested in upward progression or seeking employment, they must ensure that they have national certification recognised by UBTEB
When contacted, Zachariah Turyaba, the registrar at the Young Men’s Christian Association, admitted having students that have internally assessed qualifications. But he said this is an option that is decided by students.
“We are a centre for UBTEB and the Directorate of Industrial Training. It is up to the student when registration time comes. Those who pay to sit for UBTEB sit for them. The institute will not force anyone to sit for UBTEB,” he said.
However, Turyaba said the institution was doing everything to ensure all their students comply with the requirement so they are not disadvantaged in future.
Currently, there are over 600 TVET training institutions in Uganda, up from 173 in 2011. At least 70% of these belong to privately-owned TVET institutions, according to the education ministry.
Source: New Vision