St Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) Vice Chancellor Rev Dr Charles Kitima has called on the government to fund post graduate students and those engaged in research if the country is to realise its 2025 national development vision.
In a speech this week in Dar es Salaam, Dr Kitima said that Tanzania envisages being a knowledge-based society by 2025, a nation imbuing with high quality of life, peace, stability and prosperity.
But in order to realise these and so much more, he said, the government needs to make deliberate efforts to have a well educated and learned population.
“This will not only ensure good governance, but also a competitive economy capable of sustainable growth and shared benefits,” the VC pointed out.
Dr Kitima was speaking during the official launch of a doctorate degree (PhD) in Mass Communication programme at Msimbazi Centre in Dar es Salaam where the University has stationed its School of Graduate Studies.
He said that universities, media houses, government ministries, private and other public institutions are in need of scholars who are highly trained professionals with independent, creative, critical and analytical skills.
“This cadre of people is tasked to solve problems as well as help build the knowledge society for the social, political economical and technological development of the country,” he added.
In the recent past, Dr Kitima opined that Tanzanian public has held the view that journalism training in the country is skewed towards producing theory oriented media practitioners lacking analytical skills necessary for solving societal problems.
According to him, this has put local universities on the spotlight, with a significant number being accused of churning out graduates with hardly any capacity to perform right from day one of their employment.
“With establishment of such scholastic programmes in different fields and areas of specialisations, Tanzania is developing into a knowledge-based society, where knowledge is the engine of independence and power,” he intoned.
The event, which was characterised by launching of theses of the first batch of 15 pioneer PhD candidates, and a book on the history of broadcasting in Tanzania authored by Rev Dr Joseph Matumaini, was presided over by Chief Secretary Philemon Luhanjo.
Luhanjo commended SAUT for starting the doctorate programme, saying that mass communication plays a crucial role in promoting awareness and development initiatives.
He said that having well educated or learned people, will help the general population make informed choices besides safeguarding the country’s freedom and prosperity.
The Chief Secretary said that the government welcomes measures taken by private organisations to supplement its efforts to provide social services such as education for its citizens.
Luhanjo said by having home-grown scholars, the country stands to gain because they will understandably and directly deal with what afflicts its population unlike those from outside who only have vague idea.
“It’s critically important to make our graduates more relevant and responsive to the needs of the society,” he said.
By launching the PhD in Mass Communications, SAUT becomes the first institution of higher learning in the country to initiate such a doctoral programme besides being the pioneer of the same course at the Master’s and Bachelor’s level.
SAUT has other newly introduced courses, which are Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Electrical and Civil Engineering.
The University’s ambitious expansion programme has seen it establish four constituent colleges, namely Bugando University College of Health Science (BUCHS) in Mwanza, Ruaha University College (RUCO) in Iringa, Mwenge University College of Education (MUCE) in Moshi as well as the Main Campus at Nyegezi in Mwanza.
Besides Tanzania, both Mainland and the Isles, SAUT attracts students from other countries of East and Central Africa such as Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia.
Tanzania has a total of total of 44 higher learning institutions, with 12 public universities and university colleges or institutes, 21 private universities and university colleges, and 11 non-university higher education institutions.