Tanzania today marks its 50th Independence Anniversary since it gained independence from Britain in 1961. Correspondent Michael Haonga interviewed the Vice-Chancellor of the Open University of Tanzania ((OUT) Prof Tolly Mbwette on his institution’s development. Excerpts:
Question: Can you say something about the history of your institution as we mark the 50th Independence Anniversary?
ANSWER: The Open University of Tanzania was established by an Act of Parliament No. 17 of 1992. It is a single mode institution offering certificate, diploma and degree courses through distance learning. Its interim Headquarters is situated in Kinondoni district, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania pending completion of its permanent headquarters at Bungo area at Kibaha, Coast region.
Q: What are some of the courses offered by OUT?
A: OUT has been in operation for the past 15 years and is located in Dar es Salaam. The OUT is fully accredited and issues undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificates and diplomas. It accepts applications from Tanzanian secondary school graduates via the Tanzania Commission for Universities central application system, but is also open to applications from students who have non traditional backgrounds or are otherwise not eligible to use the Tanzania Commission of Universities system.
Faculties and courses of study at the Open University of Tanzania include science, technology and environmental studies, education, business management, social sciences, and law. Its graduates find employment at public and private organizations in Tanzania and beyond, and often continue their education either at the OUT or at other institutions of higher education. Continuing education is also offered through a specialized institute.
Q: What methodology is applied in offering the education?
A: Methods and formats of education offered at the Open University of Tanzania include distance learning as well as on-site courses. The OUT is also mandated to offer higher education to as broad a segment of the population as possible through distance learning.
A course of higher education given by the Open University of Tanzania has prepared students for success in challenging and rewarding positions and roles in commerce, law, public service, science and technology, education and practically any other field of endeavor that requires higher education or technical training.
It should be further noted that the Open University of Tanzania combines the best of traditional and distance learning programs to offer a well rounded educational experience. It consists of a number of faculties such as Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Business Management, Faculty of Science, Technology and Environmental Studies, Institute of Continuing Education, Institute of Educational Technology, Directorate of Regional Services, Directorate of Research and Postgraduate Studies, OUT conducts its operations through 25 Regional Centres and 69 Study Centres.
Q: What types of degrees are offered by the OUT?
A: They include Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Bachelor of Arts in Tourism Studies (B.A. (Tour Study) Bachelor of Arts with Education (B.A. (Ed)) - Conducted jointly with Faculty of Education, Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Business Administration with Education (BBA (Ed)) and Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com).
Others are Bachelor of Commerce with Education (B.Com(Ed) Conducted jointly with the Faculty of Education,Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) , Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) , Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.),Bachelor of Science in Information and Communication Technology (B.Sc.ICT) Bachelor of Science with Education (B.Sc. (Ed)) - Conducted jointly with the Faculty of Education, Certificate in Distance Education, jointly with South African Extension Unit. Certificate in Foundation Course, Diploma in Youth Development Work jointly with the Commonwealth Secretariat.
At Ph.D. level they include Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) ,Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D), Doctor of philosophy(PHD) ,Master of Arts in Economics (M.A. (Econ)), Master of Arts in Environmental Management in Geography (M.A. (EMG) , Master of Arts in Geography (M.A. (Geography) and Master of Arts in History (M.A. (History), Master of Arts in Kiswahili (M.A. (Kiswahili),Master of Arts in Linguistics (M.A. (Ling)), Master of Arts in Tourism Studies (M.A. (Tour. Stud.)), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Distance Education (M.Dist. Ed.)er of Education (M.Ed), Master of Education in Administration, Planning and Policy Studies (M.Ed. (APPS)).
Others include Master of Education in Language Teaching (M. Ed. in LT),Master of Laws (LL.M)'Master of Science in Biology (M.Sc. (Biology)), Master of Science in Chemistry (M.Sc. (Chemistry)), Master of Science in Community Economic Development (M.Sc. (CED) - Programme- Jointly with the Southern New Hampshire Univerity.Master of Science in Environmental Science (M.Sc. (Environmental Science)), Master of Science in Home Economics (M.Sc. Home Economics), Master of Science in Mathematics (M.Sc. (Maths)) , Master of Science in Physics (M.Sc. (Physics).