A rather narrow view of higher education?

Uganda’s President Criticizes ‘Non-Marketable’ Courses

Inside Higher Ed has a story on the Ugandan president’s view of higher education

Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s president, has been giving speeches around his country calling for students to stop taking courses in “non-marketable” subjects such as literature and conflict resolution, Voice of America reported.

In one recent talk, he said: “The problem is not jobs, the jobs are there. What is crucial are the skills. There has been a course at Makarere [University] called Conflict Resolution. OK, but what will you do when the conflicts are finished? This unemployment you are talking about. Is it unemployment or is it employability? Is it that you are unemployed, or is it that you are not employable because you have got skills which are not needed on the market?” Faculty members and students are split on the president’s campaign, with some praising it and others questioning whether he is defining the purpose of higher education in too narrow a way.

Given that Makarere University defines its mission as being “To provide innovative teaching, learning, research and services responsive to National and Global needs” it rather looks like they are delivering on this. After all, we really aren’t going to get to a position in the very near future where all conflicts have been resolved (as this list of likely international flash points identified by the BBC’s Frank Gardner demonstrates). These graduates should therefore be pretty employable.

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