Preparing students for the workforce of the future

13 March 2018

Virtual University of Uganda successfully hosted a business reception and panel discussion at Kampala Serena Hotel on 18 January 2018 in conjunction with the British High Commission & PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Uganda. The event brought together local and regional business leaders, international investors and Government representatives to discuss how some of Uganda’s education and economic challenges can be addressed through quality Post Graduate education.

In his opening remarks, our Vice Chancellor, Dr. Everd B. Maniple emphasized VUU’s commitment to providing an education that is convenient and closely linked to meeting the current needs of business and society. “Our university is built on the idea that tertiary education can be enhanced and transformed through appropriate technology. We seek to provide solutions to the perennial problems of quality and access to students who will then contribute to positive development in the society.” he said, adding that VUU’s technology-supported learning, which is at the frontline of online education in the region, can save human-power hours and also substantially cut costs for the students.

The evening’s key note speaker, Mr. Francis Kamulegeya, Country Senior Partner at PwC Uganda shared a thought provoking presentation themed, “The economic prospects for 2018 and beyond for Eastern Africa and Uganda.” His presentation provided an insight into the economic prospects for Eastern Africa and Uganda for 2018 and beyond, as well as the labor market demands this will bring.

 

”According to our research, organic growth and cost reduction can only take a business so far. In a climate of muted growth, CEOs recognise that they also need to prioritise investment in new strategic alliances and joint ventures to expand their markets and grow their customer bases.” Mr Kamulegeya said, adding that Many CEOs say they are turning to new technologies and digitisation to drive costs down. Given such developments, many people may be concerned that technology will cause long-term job losses. However, he said that only a few specific blue-collar jobs will be affected. And that the good side to technological development is that it is producing new jobs previously unheard of. He said, “23% of African CEOs say they are going to be decreasing headcount in the next year. Of these, 72% says they will be doing this because of automation and other technologies. On the plus side, businesses still need people and 51% plan to hire more employees.” He listed nine key competences that Africa’s top CEOs expect from the graduates that they hope to recruit.

Mr. Kamulegeya emphasized the need to prepare students for the Work force of the future. He was very passionate about our education systems’ need to equip and empower a global workforce with the right skills to succeed, and stressed how the support of private enterprises and the Government is vital to that effort.

“We need to pioneer new approaches to educating students and training workers in the fields that will matter in a technology-enabled job market.” he said stressing that academic institutions like VUU need to prepare people with the right skills in response to the needs of the market. He commended Virtual University of Uganda for leading the way in using technology as an enabler for people, who would otherwise have been unable to access quality education, due to their locations and busy schedules.

A major highlight of the evening was the panel discussion, led by our Vice Chancellor. He was joined by the key note speaker Mr. Kamulegeya Francis, Dr. Tibaingana Anthony the Program Leader for MBA Program, as well as our students; Dr. Leonard Were who is undertaking a Masters of Business Administration, Mr. Tom Aliti Candia pursuing a Masters in Public Health and Alice Canniwia studying Master of Arts in International Development, all who shared their VUU experiences.

Dr. Tibaingana emphasized that VUU is a university which endeavors to enhance the learning experience of our students. “We understand the needs of the learner before we actually teach the learner. We ensure that there is the meeting of the mind. The virtual university only eliminates the face to face learning but maintains quality hands-on education.” said Dr. Tibaingana.

Prof. John Opuda-Asibo, the Executive Director, Uganda National Council for Higher Education, gave the closing remarks and thanked VUU for their investment in the education sector. He encouraged brands like PwC to provide internship and learning opportunities for students. “I call upon the private sector to actively participate in the preparation of the curriculum for institutions of higher learning. This will ensure that the students we churn out can meet the needs of the employer.” He further appealed to employers to stop blaming universities, but rather to engage them, and collaborate in shaping the graduates they want.

The night was crowned with a cocktail that allowed for the attendees to network.