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Graduates Asked To Go Into Farming

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Opio John Paul and Hafiz Bakhit 

The number of students graduating from various institutions of higher learning in Uganda is on a steady rise. 

As tens of thousands jubilate over the certificates, diplomas, and degrees, can the available job market absorb the ever-increasing number of graduates from the over 230 Higher institutions of learning in Uganda? 

That is the question, leaders speaking at graduation struggled to address, during the inaugural Arua city-based Nile University graduation ceremony on Saturday. 

It is the reason the Government seeks to popularise agriculture among the graduates and involving them in the activity regarded as the backbone of the economy is a sure way of turning them into productive citizens. 

The revelation was contained in a message from Vice-President Jesicca Alupo delivered by the lands state minister Obiga Mario Kania during the graduation held at the Nile University in West Nile region. 

In her speech, Alupo urged the graduates to use their acquired knowledge and skills for the development of the entire community. 

“I am pleased to learn that agriculture is the flagship programme of this university. It is rare to find a private university that runs agricultural programmes, yet it is critical for livelihood,” she said.  

According to Alupo, the certificates, diplomas and bachelor’s degrees in agriculture and agribusiness, the graduates received are practical awards for Job creators, not job seekers. 

Partner with government

Alupo also urged the graduates to use their newly acquired skills to partner with the Government to participate in the Parish Development Model (PDM) programme by supporting SACCOS, agricultural production, agricultural storage, agricultural processing, value addition, and marketing all important components of pillar number one of the PDM. 

“I also urge the leadership in the 14 local governments in West Nile to partner with Nile and Muni universities and other tertiary institutions involved in training along the agricultural value chain line, so as to improve the effectiveness of PDM and customize the program to the local situation of the region” the speech read. 

Timely graduation

Kania on his part said in West Nile, the biggest asset is land which the graduates should use for practising what they have learned.

“Your graduation is timely because it supplements the message of Wealth creation President Museveni echoed during his visit to the region. I, therefore, urge you to put into practice the agricultural skills you acquired from this institution for income-generation” Kania added.  

An assurance was also made of the Government’s commitment to work with higher institutions of learning to produce graduates with skills that can enable them easily to cope with the ever-changing technology. 

Prof. Opio John Peter, the chairperson of the governing council of Nile University, encouraged the graduates to use their skills to transform the community. 

The National Planning Authority in a report released in 2021 revealed that at least nine in every 10 Ugandans who have completed any form of education are unemployed. 

700,000 people join the job market every year regardless of qualification but only 90,000 get something to do.  

This translates to 87 per cent of people ready to work, but can’t find a job. 

With the increasing demand for knowledge, it is hoped that Institutions of learning like these will not only fulfil the demands, but also act as a catalyst for the development of the region that has been lagging behind.  

For the 92 students who graduated in various disciplines, this is a beginning of a new chapter in their lives.  

Although Uganda’s higher education sector has made significant progress over the past few years, university education is still out of reach for many Ugandans.

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