All students who complete university education will be required to enroll for the National Graduate Scheme for job placement in the public and private sector for one year if the new Private Member’s Bill becomes law.

The scheme is a way of bridging the gap between theoretical training and the practical skills required, especially in the areas of agriculture, co-operatives, education, health, local government and the military, among others.

This is contained in the National Graduate Student Scheme Bill 2018, a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Waiyira Kiwalabye Majegere (Bunya East) on November 22, 2016 to the House. The Bill is currently being scrutinised by Parliament’s committee on gender and social development, chaired by Alex Ndeezi (People With Disability, Central region).

If enacted into law, unemployed graduates will be offered training through work-related learning to enhance their employability, career guidance, job placement, mentoring and connection to enterprise role models, according to the architects of the Bill.

The House committee on education and the Uganda Parliamentary Forum for Youth Affairs (UPFYA) in the week carried out regional consultations among youth for their views to the Bill. The three-day consultation meetings held in Mbarara and Masaka municipalities and Busoga, attracted university students, youth council structures, political party youth leagues, religious leaders and technical institutions, among others.

The MPs also met youth from Bushenyi, Sheema, Bukomansimbi, Kalangala, Ssembabule, Rakai, Kyotera, Lyantonde, Kalungu, Lwengo. Consultations have taken place in the central region, too. Majegere says the Bill, if passed into law, will offer solutions to the unemployment challenge and skills mismatch that decreases the employability of Ugandan graduates.

Who is eligible for the scheme

The Bill is only applicable to bachelors degree holders who are Ugandans below 30 years. However, it will not apply to graduates with additional training, like medical doctors and lawyers. “The Bill stipulates that a graduate who satisfactorily completes graduate service shall be awarded a certifi cate issued by the minister.

The Bill proposes that a graduate shall not be employed in the public service, government ministry, department or agency, unless they possess a certifi cate of graduate service.” The Bill also provides for the creation of a national secretariat that shall be in charge of issuing and gazetting guidelines, as well as overseeing the implementation of the scheme.

One of the roles of the secretariat is to determine the manner in which the business and affairs of the scheme shall be conducted

Reactions

  1. Elizabeth Bagadala (Masaka district): How can the Bill only consider graduates and neglect young people who have completed other levels of education?
  2. Charles Kamukuule (Iganga district): The Bill should include a clause that mandates employers and trainers to give a monthly stipend to graduate trainees.
  3. John Turinawe (Mbarara district): The Bill contravenes the existing laws, like the one that grants access and opportunities to working in public service for as long as they are less than 45 years. This is because it only targets people below 30 years.