Examining the Effect of University Curriculum on Graduate Employability in Uganda Case Study: Uganda Martyrs University
Author: Namayanja Ritah
Supervisor: Marie Nakitende Goretti
University education curriculum is ideally expected to significantly contribute and enrich employability skills among students. Yet if unchecked, university education curriculum can under-equip students in terms of employability. In the last two years, the rate of unemployment among the youth has been increasing rapidly and employers have been highly complaining of the inadequate skills among the graduates hence questioning the university education. The current study analyses why new graduates (2014-2016) in Uganda are seemingly deficient in employability skills like communication skills, self efficacy, decision making skills, problem solving skills among others. Data for analysis was collected from 80 respondents who consisted of 30 lecturers of Uganda Martyrs University and 50 graduates (2014-2016) from Uganda Martyrs University. The analysis focused on respondent's perception of four variables of University curriculum namely, curriculum design, university programs, teaching practices and assessment. Through regression analysis, it was established that these sub-variables jointly predict graduate employability in Uganda by 81.7%. Results from the quantitative data suggest that the curriculum design has to be relevant to the student's learning needs and the curriculum has to integrate theory and practice. The university programs need to be exhaustive and have to be accompanied with the necessary attributes required by a graduate and these programs need to be integrated with the needs of the job market to avoid mismatch of skills. However, it was perceived that lecturers, who use a blend of methods (practices) of teaching, positively affect the development of learning outcomes in terms of enhancing knowledge, problem solving skills and communication skills. Assessment methods like coursework and assignments are appreciated by both lecturers and students because it challenges students to do private reading hence essential for deep learning. Consequently, the study recommends that in a bid to enhance employability skills among students, higher education institutions should focus on integrating theory and practice within the curriculum, nurture innovativeness and entrepreneurship skills and use of blended methods of teaching and assessment.
Key words: University education curriculum, graduate employability, higher education institutions, curriculum design, university programs, teaching practices (methodologies), assessment methods.