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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Stakeholders hail new Education Plan, as TCU Okays

 

 Higher education stakeholders have praised a new government plan to encourage universities to set up technical education campuses, saying the move will create a pool of competent graduates in the wake of an increasingly competitive and dynamic labour market.

“We commend the government for its plan to expand the scope of technical education by allowing universities to offer competence-based courses,” Ms Angela Mungai said in an interview with this correspondent on a wide range of issues related to higher education in Tanzania.

Stakeholders’ comments came following Minister for Education, Science and Technology Prof Adolf Mkenda’s statement in Parliament recently. The minister said the government planned to encourage universities and higher education institutions to set up technical education campuses as part of a long-term strategy to enhance the provision of competence-based technical education in the country.

Winding up his ministry’s budget estimates recently, Prof Mkenda told the National Assembly that the government would encourage universities and higher education institutions to open technical campuses for certificate and diploma in different regions across the country.

Among other things, according to the minister, the move intends to promote the provision of technical education in universities and other higher education institutions --with a broader view to imparting to students technical skills needed in the labour market.

In fact, the minister was responding to long time concerns by Members of Parliament (MPs) and higher education stakeholders, who had on various occasions expressed a need to allow universities and other higher education institutions to offer technical education and produce competent graduates with technical skills required in the rapidly changing labour market.

Higher education stakeholders described the latest government plan as “a step forward” towards enhancing the provision of competence-based education and thus increase the number of competent graduates in Tanzania in the face of stiff competition in the labour market.

“The labour market requires graduates who can do the job and not just holders of degree certificates with flying colours. We are happy to see that the government is now committed to expanding the scope of technical education up to university level,” said Mr Mohamed Unju, an expert in higher education based in Dodoma.

But stakeholders expressed doubts that  implementation of the new government plan will remain “a mere dream” if the regulator of Universities—Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) will not review restrictive guidelines barring universities from offering technical education programmes (diploma and certificates).

 

Interviewed, one higher education stakeholder, Joseph Mfutakamba cited specific TCU guidelines 1.5.2 which “restricts universities to offer NACTE accredited technical education (certificate, diploma) programmes that are being offered in a regular middle level institution operating in Tanzania and guideline 1.5.4 which restrict Universities to start new competence-based Technical programmes (certificate and diploma) are might not have been listed in the initial accreditation documents.”

 

“It’s time for TCU to review restrictive guidelines and allow both technical colleges and universities to offer competence-based technical programmes in order to go at par with dynamics of today’s competitive labour markets, new government education plans and Academic freedom for Universities,” added Mfutakamba.

 

When contacted, TCU spokesperson  Jorlin Kagaruki said “...TCU guidelines will not be a stumbling block for universities and higher learning institutions wishing to open technical education campuses.  It is up to the universities (public and private ones) to strategize on how they are going to implement new plan announced by the Minister Pro. Mkenda”

“TCU has no problem with Universities wanting to create or construct technical education campuses as part of the implementation of the plan announced by the Minister in the Parliament on the need to sensitize higher learning institutions to set up technical education campuses in different regions countrywide….,” said Kagaruki.

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