Sasiira Technical Institute in Nakasongola district is struggling to attract students despite huge investments in infrastructure development.
In 2016, the government opened the institute located in Wabinyonyi Sub County after injecting 5.8 billion shillings in construction to provide vocational training to ‘O’ Level leavers.
In the phase two project which is already underway, the government with support from OPEC International Development Fund (OFID) has earmarked additional six billion shillings in infrastructure development at the institute.
James Kyagambiddwa, the Principal of Sasiira Technical Institute says that the government has already embarked on the construction of hostels, staff quarters, and additional classroom blocks among other structures.
Kyagambiddwa adds that the government has also delivered a 30-seater bus, and intends to send more equipment as well as carry out capacity development for the staff among services as part of the phase 11 project.
However, despite all these investments, Kyagambiddwa and Nakasongola district leaders are concerned about the low student intake, especially from the host district.
Kyagambiddwa says that currently there are only 150 students at the institute of which less than 40% of learners are from Nakasongola district.
As a result, Kyagambiddwa says that they have embarked on a campaign together with district leaders to popularize the institute so as to attract learners to utilize the abundant facilities.
Chrysostom Kayise the Board Chairperson of Sasiira Technical Institute says that in the campaign, they have also entered into partnerships with Buruuli chiefdom, and religious and district leaders among other institutions asking them to popularize the institute within their subjects to attract learners.
Kayise added that some students who graduated from the institute have been employed at Luwero Industries and they also intend to use them as ambassadors for popularizing the institute.
“Our children have tendencies of preferring institutions in distant areas rather than studying nearby. It’s a just mindset but we are committed to sensitizing communities that all that they are looking for in distant institutions are already available at our institute, ’Kayise said.
Sam Kigula, the LCV Chairperson of Nakasongola says that the area is likely to experience a boom in the construction sector after its elevation to city status but it will be unfortunate for contractors to source manpower from distant areas because local youths shunned technical education.
Kigula says that he has tasked the councilors to always sensitize the communities at every community about the infrastructure available at the technical institute so as to attract learners.
The Institute offers National certificates in building and construction, automotive mechanics, welding, and fabrication among others.
Recently it also emerged that Bukalasa Agricultural College was also struggling to attract students from Luwero district despite 18 billion in infrastructure development.
The administrators said that less than 10 out of 2,200 students currently at the Bukalasa Agricultural college come from Luwero while the majority are from Northern and Eastern Uganda.
At Nakaseke Technical Institute, authorities also admitted that they had failed to attract students from within the district and outside despite the 5.8 billion Shillings infrastructure development.
The Minister of State for Higher Education, Hon John Chrysostom Muyingo says that he feels sad that all these technical and vocational institutions were asked by local leaders but the students’ intake remains low despite the government playing its part to construct them.
“It’s sad to hear that students from outside areas are yearning to study at the institutes yet those within the host districts have shunned them. The big task now lies within local leaders and parents to sensitize their children to embrace skills training which is now demanded on market rather seeking for courses at universities with fewer opportunities.” Muyingo told