Tanzania: TCU Set to Step Up Checks At Varsities to Ensure Quality

The Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) is set to intensify inspections and review of learning programmes at the higher learning institutions to ensure quality education.

This was said yesterday by the Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Professor Joyce Ndalichako, when unveiling her budget estimates for 2016/2017. She announced that her ministry was all out to ensure education issued by local universities meets international standards.

The commission, according to the minister, will also review learning programmes to ascertain their relevance and efficacies. Prof Ndalichako insisted that her ministry will take necessary measures to improve the sector as the government strives for quality and relevant education from primary to university levels.

Presenting her 1.39 trillion/- budget estimates, the minister hinted that the government has already made a number of changes in accreditation systems in both schools and colleges.

In the coming year, Prof Ndalichako noted that the ministry will prepare basic education quality assurance framework and fortify its inspection systems. In a move aimed at having adequate experts in various fields, the minister told the House that the National Council for Technical Education (NACTE) will continue accrediting technical colleges and intensify inspections to check quality of education.

She also warned technical colleges to refrain from enrolling candidates who do not have required qualifications. The minister affirmed that the government was also taking various measures to address science and mathematics teachers' shortage by admitting more students to pursue such courses.

"To address shortage which now stands at 22,000, in 2015/2016, we admitted about 5,690 students to study mathematics and science subjects," the minister said. Prof Ndalichako said the government has also set down mechanism for monitoring the delivery of education according to stipulated curriculum and set standards. "We are out to ensure efficiency and quality delivery in education.

The efficiency and effective delivery of education under the decentralized and liberalised education system as stipulated in the education and Training policy document," she noted.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services pointed out that the current education situation was appalling, calling on the government to take up immediate measures to improve the sector.

Reading committee's views, Nzega Urban MP (CCM), Mr Hussein Bashe, said it was very unfortunate that students who performed poorly in the national exams were the ones admitted to pursue further education.

He noted that the country will continue producing incompetent and unskilled graduates due to poor background. "The government must check this and ensure brightest students who pass with flying colours are considered during admission. We are ruining our education system, we must step in with deliberate speed to check this," he noted.

The committee also faulted the Decentralisation by Devolution (D by D) strategy in education sector, saying it was not practical. Mr Bashe said the D by D was not practical since the sector was currently under two ministries - Regional Administration and Local Government, TAMISEMI, and Education Ministry, making it hard to manage.

He stressed the importance of the House to look into the 'D by D' and advise the government accordingly, especially in the education sector.

The 'D by D' system was adopted by government between 1997/98 as a policy option to devolve powers and authority from the central government to the local government to facilitate participation and quick decisions for local development to improve service delivery.

However, according to the lawmaker, the system has proved a failure in education sector, creating more problems than envisaged.

The MP said that when students fail, it is the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training that gets all the blame while it does not have authority other than only managing the policy.

The committee also advised the government to set adequate budget for the education sector and improve teachers' welfare if at all it wanted to reform the sector. He also faulted the ministry's move to come up with indicative fee structure for private schools, urging the government to let private schools set their own fee structure.

Source: Tanzania Daily News