Formal and Non-formal Skills Improvement for the Marginalised Youth in Uganda
The aim of the article was to explore ways in which formal and non-formal skills development programmes can be improved for education continuity and employability of marginalised youth. This is attributed to the fact that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with its related lockdowns is causing not only unprecedented disruption in the provision of skills, but also catalysed innovation in distance learning. A qualitative case study with some elements of action research, systematic inquiry and non-participant classroom observation with capability and empowerment theories supported the inquiries. Thematic analysis was used. Results reveal that while access to skills development was maintained in some spaces through a rapid shift to distance learning, the pre-existing social and digital divides deprived marginalized groups of continued learning and putting them behind schedule. Many institutions and learners lack operational distance-learning platforms, digital skills and devices. Save for the few exceptions, distance learning policies by the government have not yet been able to facilitate the acquisition of practical skills, which are critical components for the success of education and employability. Evidence points not only to pedagogical dimensions with educator’s incompetence to provide a supportive environment, but also to designing structured educational resources versus the abundance of online resources, disruptions to assessment and certification, and a general decline in the quality of practical training causing demotivation among learners and educators. The general increased economic hardship has also increased the likelihood of marginalised youth dropping out of education. The study recommends a robust shift on how skills are delivered-shift to digital literacy and adoption to technology, forge national and regional public private partnerships to increase the availability of accessible distance learning solutions, allocate more financial resources, develop new training programmes by marrying curricula to real life working situations, assess and certify online for educational continuity and employability.
Keywords:Skills Improvement, Marginalised Youth, Uganda
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