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Mak courts private sector

Makerere University faculty of Computing and Informatics Technology (FCIT) continues to register progress in its bid to forge partnerships with the private sector, since it started the corporate relations office three years ago.

Speaking during the fourth consultative workshop on ICT Training and Research Partnerships in Uganda at Protea Hotel recently, Michael Niyitegeka, head of the corporate relations office, revealed that the faculty is actively engaged in a wide range of partnerships with local and international companies.

“We recognise that we cannot work in isolation. Partnership with the private sector plays a critical role in improving our skills impartation,” Niyitegeka said.

The faculty has so far partnered with companies such as IBM, Microsoft, HP, Google, Nokia, Dell and Orange Telecom among others.

Universities have over the years been challenged to partner with the private sector and produce students suitable for the market. Currently, AIESEC Uganda in partnership with India’s Tata Consultancy Services has promised to avail 35 students at the faculty with a one-year internship programme in India.

AIESEC is a global youth network that helps students gain skills outside university.

Orange Telecom, in partnership with ACER, will also ensure that students acquire laptops at an affordable fee so they access data provided by the telecommunication company.

“For us, to partner with the private sector means a lot. It means we have access to what they do,” Niyitegeka said.

“We must have relationships that allow continuous engagement to impart necessary skills to students,” he added.

These partnerships, Niyitegeka noted, will help the faculty to constantly review its work and ensure it remains relevant in the market.

Gideon Badagawa, the executive director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda, said there has been a missing link between universities and the private sector, making it difficult for the two to work together.

“We are looking at tertiary institutions to improve the private sector’s competitiveness in product and service delivery,” he said.

Badagawa noted that tertiary institutions are the lifeline for the private sector because the latter depends on institutions for research.

smusasizi@observer.ug

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