Over 1000 graduate at Ora Technical Institute’s first-ever graduation ceremony (PHOTOS)

Graduands marching to the Graduation Pavillion at Ora Technical Institute

Zombo, (UG):- Ora Technical Institute located in the West Nile district of Zombo Friday held its first-ever graduation ceremony which saw 1063 graduate from its five faculties of National certificates in Electrical installation, automotive mechanics, Plumbing, Building Construction, Fashion and Design.

The auspicious ceremony held at the Institute’s main campus in Zombo was graced by the Executive Secretary of Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board Mr Onesmus Oyesigye accompanied by Countless Principals of Technical and vocational institutions across Uganda and a cross-section of political, Religious and cultural leaders and almost the Jovial parents who stood tall as witnesses on the day.

This maiden graduation ceremony of Ora Technical Institute since its establishment in 1982 entailed the conferment of the award of National certificates in technical and vocational studies to all the 1063 graduands who satisfactorily completed Skilling programs and passed Uganda Business and Technical Examinations from the year 1985 to 2023 more than 3 decades ago.

This much-needed development only attracted about 150 graduands,913 graduands had their conferment in absentia and others post humusly (the now deceased).

The administration of this institute partly attributed the insignificant turn up of the projected graduands to instalment of the relevance of the graduation and ate an apple pie for the overdue organization of graduation for the then  trainees but going forward the institution is now bent on organizing graduations every year.

Mr Booker Okoda, the Principal of Ora Technical Institute who spoke to Daily Express during an exclusive interview on the day of the first graduation ceremony, said a reason for not organizing graduations was the previously poor and unconsciously biased perception of community members about Technical and vocational education coupled with some other administrative issues but assured the graduates about better opportunities ahead.

“Graduands, I thank you in a special way for making up your minds to pursue TVET as a career and want to reassure you that there are better opportunities ahead of you with the coming of the TVET policy there shall be a technological university to adopt you the graduands and with the East African Qualifications framework there shall be a very wide market as far as further training and job mobility is concerned,” Mr Okoda remarked.

Booker Okoda Principal Ora Technical Institute -Warr speaking to DailyExpress on Friday, June 28, 2024

Some of the graduates who shared with this publication their experiences about the technical and vocational skills acquired, attested to their readiness to execute a wide range of tasks that are all components of the discipline that they majored in hence exhibiting versatility by being multi-skilled something that is much needed in the current Job mobility.

Ms Florida Maditmungu, a female graduate of automotive mechanics noted that she has exceptional competence in Vehicle Repair, Metal Fabrication, and Painting.

“What a man can do a times some people say women can not but I can repair vehicles, fabrication of metal like for doors, windows, chairs and painting because I have been taught a lot,” Maditmungu told DailyExpress in a special interview on the graduation day.

Florida Maditmungu female graduate of automotive mechanics

Riding on the fact that technical and vocational skills are the way to go in Uganda, the numerical constitution of girls in Ora Technical Institute is to some extent appealing as over the past 3 decades only 51 females successfully attended Skilling programs and majored in the five different disciplines offered by the institution but given the current local initiative of awarding government sponsorship for girls, the institute is bragging of enrolling 20 girls for first year in 2024 and this seems to be a breakthrough for the girl child embracing technical and vocational education.

However, it’s also generally noted that only a paltry of the more than 200 total population of trainees in Ora Technical Institute hail from Zombo, the majority are from other districts reflecting the poor attitude of the local community towards the institute.

Ms Grace Atim who is the RDC of Zombo district iterated that so many youths qualify to Join the institute but they don’t appreciate this opportunity at hand.

“We have very few students who are coming from Zombo district and yet we have many youths who qualify to join this institution it is hard to know what the youths want in life,” Ms Atim remarked while delivering her speech during the graduation ceremony.

The Member of Parliament for Ora constituency, Hon Songa Lawrence Biyika who attended the event implored the government of Uganda to adopt innovation and skills training as early as in primary and secondary schools.

“We have been learning so many things that are not important to our future work in our schools from primary secondary to university other countries have adopted new technology where they are learning innovation and skills but for us, we are learning about the Songhai Empire, Mau Mau rebellion and Luo Migration  how do we use them to to get money?” Hon Songa questioned.

Hon.Songa Lawrence Biyika MP Ora constituency

Mr Onemus Oyesigye, the Executive secretary of the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board who doubled as the chief guest made mentions of plans to establish a technological university in Uganda to offer advanced levels, upgrade education to graduates with certificates and encourage girls to embrace Technical and vocational education training (TVET).

“It’s upon us to encourage the girls TVET is no longer only a job for men and when females do these courses they do a good job because they are trusted,” Oyesigye revealed.

Mr Onesmus Oyesigye, the Executive secretary of Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board

Zombo district is beyond doubt one of the luckiest districts with three vocational training institutions; Ora Technical Institute, West Nile Region Zonal Skilling Industrial Hub and Agiermach Vocational Institute but the communities seem not to have acknowledged the importance of technical and vocational skills hence justifying the meagre enrollment of the Indigenous sons and daughters of Zombo district in the Skilling programs and very few readily available vocationally skilled manpower across the district.

This government facility that has a carrying capacity of not more than 300 trainees craves more human resources to bolster the efforts of the only  23 members of staff appointed by the government; 11 instructing and 10 non-instructing staff and  21 members of staff,12 instructing and 09 non instructing staff being shouldered by the Board of Governors under local payment arrangement.

When staffed to the threshold, experts argue that this institute can actualize and effect the lock and key hypothesis for solving unemployment through practical skills and give meaning to the Technical and Vocational Bill 2024 and the establishment of a technological university in Uganda.

Ora Technical Institute’s Graduation was celebrated under the theme, SKILLS FOR INCLUSIVE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT.

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