Another set of Ugandan students recently departed for an international agricultural internship programme in Israel. However, with this came the news that Ugandan students are excelling on the modern farms and are in such high demand, two returnees returned to Israel with the new contingent.
According to the regional coordinator of AgroStudies programme, Issa Agaba Mugabo, “Last year, seven out of the nine best-performing students overall were Ugandans. For that feat, two of them are staying in Israel for another year as a bonus of appreciation.”
The programme has existed for nine years, but this is the fourth year Uganda is participating. At Uganda’s first participation in 2013, the best student overall was a Ugandan. Uganda had sent 41 students. Because of that performance, Mugabo said, Uganda’s component the following year was increased tremendously to 198 students. In 2015, the number rose to 220, although only 213 were taken in the current cohort.
At a brief sendoff ceremony at Makerere University, Mugabo added that Uganda has the second largest contingent after the Philippines. Some 19 developing countries are involved.
In her remarks, the education minister, Janet Museveni, commended Hussein Asega, who is returning to Israel as a bonus for his excellent performance in the 2013 intake, before sending off the students.
Mugabo explained that AgroStudies offers apprenticeship to students in agriculture, seeking advanced academic studies, hands-on learning and income earning (through a modest stipend).
President Museveni had earlier promised to contribute two dollars for every dollar saved by returning students. At the sendoff, speakers asked the education minister to remind the president to fulfill this pledge, since the returnees had saved $900 each on average.
The internships are held at a number of carefully-selected farms across Israel. Each student is given a laptop, which they can take home at the end of their internship.
They are also entitled to full medical insurance.
Acceptance to the programme is processed through participating educational institutions, including Makerere, Busoga, Kyambogo, Busitema and Bishop Stuart and Gulu universities, as well as Bukalasa Agricultural College and Institute of Agriculture, Business and Technology Serere.