Het originele artikel door Marc in het Nederlands kan hier gelezen worden.
This summer, when spending a month in Uganda at NiCA Foundation, we have with our team, amongst many other things, been exploring possibilities for future projects. While we have been supporting Bwama Primary School under NiCA Foundation for some time already, we have come to realize that far most possibilities for further education are to be found at quite a distance. That is not only the case for the children of Bwama Primary School, but for all children from the lake area. It always means that they end up at a boarding school, which also comes with financial consequences.
For many Ugandan children, to just obtain their Primary School Certificate requires a lot from them. Very often the financial means are lacking or their living conditions are not encouraging for them to hold on. Many are forced to start working at a very young age or they choose to do so themselves.For those who do succeed in obtaining their certificate, the question arises: what comes next?
The following possibilities exist for the children, who have sometimes already reached the age of 16 years:
– Give up on going to school and try to find a job
– Continue at a secondary school
– Continue at a vocational school
Since I myself have already for several years been working at a vocational school in the Netherlands, I was eager to explore what a future cooperation of NiCA Foundation with a vocational school in Uganda, perhaps by forming a branch, could probably mean. Therefore, we have with our team visited ‘Rokure Community Polytechnic’. The trip there took us two hours on dirt roads over the mountain slopes of Lake Bunyonyi, a beautiful route above 2,000 meters.
After a very warm welcome, we were explained the structure of vocational education in Uganda by Head Instructor, Mr. Mpagi. He then showed us the practice rooms. The school has currently 206 students, of which 50 are girls; there are about 10 teachers and some staff members. The school appeared to be very well organized.
They welcome pupils who have obtained their Primary School Certificate and pupils who have obtained a Secondary School Certificate; besides that, they also offer courses for pupils who have failed to obtain their Primary School Certificate, that way still providing them opportunities to obtain a certificate. Of course there are also opportunities internally to move on to higher levels. Teaching is in English and Swahili, there is a nationally determined curriculum and there are nationally determined exams according to the traditional English school system. Languages, Citizenship and calculating are also part of the curriculum.
Students can choose from different disciplines: Electrical Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Metal Construction Working, Wood & Furniture, Masonry and Sewing. Amongst boys, Masonry is the most chosen discipline, amongst girls that is Sewing. The school needed more classrooms to be constructed and it was wonderful to see how it is competely being realized within the curriculum. Masonry walls, steel frames and electrical wiring, all that is produced by students under supervision.
Internships are similar to ours in the Netherlands; there is intensive cooperation with local companies to enable students to learn in the workplace, and to adjust the practical facilities to use in the local business community. All together, a striking similarity with our Dutch education system!
Seen from Ugandan perspective, the educational facilities meet the local practice very well. And that is exactly what a Vocational School, also in Africa, is meant for: to provide its students skills in such a way, that they are enabled to earn themselves a living in their futures!
Coming soon: Swimming Instruction Pool Realized!
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‘We Fight Poverty by Bringing Development.’
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