Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, has stated that it is critical that frontline workers in the construction industry be equipped with additional skills in order to improve service delivery.
Nawangwe, who is also an architect, made the remarks while officiating the inauguration of a two-day workshop for Masons and Fundis organized by the College of Engineering Design, Art and Technology (CEDATDepartment )’s of Architecture and Physical Planning.
Its goal was to raise awareness among Masons and Fundis about the importance of sharing scientific knowledge, ideas, and novel construction methods based on the college’s research experiences.
Nawangwe said the training was timely because Fundis and Manson handle the majority of construction in Uganda, which has experienced a construction boom since the 1990s. He advised them to learn to appreciate the drawings that show what needs to be done on the job sites and to follow them unless otherwise instructed.
He added that these individuals were vital members of the community, despite the fact that they did not have the opportunity to receive training in a technical university and instead learned on the job.
Nawangwe asked the college and its partners to find ways to expand the training across the country as one of the ways the university would transmit knowledge and provide community service in keeping with its goal of being responsive to the needs of the people.
The event, which was the first of its kind, drew a large number of building industry participants.
Uganda Clays Ltd, Hima Cement, Steel and Tube, The National Building Review Board, The National Physical Planning Board, Simba Cement, and Kansai Plascon Paint are among the companies involved.
At the same event, Principal CEDAT Prof Henry Alinaitwe remarked that as the university celebrates its 100th anniversary, the college is aiming to achieve the university’s initial goals, which began as a technical college creating technicians.
While officiating at the training’s closing on February 11, 2022, the head of the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) of the Ministry of Education and Sports, Patrick Byakatonda, said the masons and Fundis were products of the communities’ self-teaching universities.
“We feel that our students enrolled in courses such as Architecture have a lot to learn from the Fundis, and that this would help them overcome some of the obstacles they confront when they enter the workforce with no practical experience,” he said.
The training is the first phase in CEDAT’s plan to establish a technical skilling and innovation center with the goal of “vocationalizing” university education.