Some members of parliament yesterday complained that the use of Tanzania Commission of Universities (TCU) Central Admission System was creating unnecessary problems for prospective students applying for higher education.
The CAS system is an electronic application model designed to reduce inconvenience among prospective candidates vying for places in universities.
The system targets to supplement the manual application system, which forced students to travel from upcountry to mainly Dar es Salaam or the other towns where the institutions are located in order to fill application and admission forms.
The TCU has also lauded the system, as a cost-saving measure, requiring a single payment for applications to as many as eight different universities simultaneously. Formerly an applicant had to pay for each application.
But the Parliamentary committee on Social Welfare and opposition legislators yesterday criticised the on-line system saying it has numerous shortcomings which need to be rectified.
Omari Kwaangw, Chairman of the parliamentary committee said in his report on implementation of the Ministry of Education and Vocation Training 2009/2010 budget tabled in the Parliament yesterday that, most public members do not know how the system works.
In the report which was read on his behalf by legislator Martha Mlata, the chairman blamed the government for not educating the public, especially students, on the application of the CAS system.
He tasked the government to step up comprehensive education programmes through televisions and radio stations to raise public awareness of the system.
The committee also urged the government to use newspapers and seminars to educate all stakeholders on the use of the system.
Kwaangw’ further called on the government to speed up the introduction of computer technology in secondary schools to equip students who finish secondary education with basic skills on how to apply for higher education using the system.
Currently, he said, the majority of students who complete secondary schools have little computer knowledge, making it difficult for them to register through the CAS system.
“We also need the government to closely supervise the laying down of the fibre-optic cable throughout the country to enhance accessibility of telephone and internet systems countrywide,” he noted.
According to the committee chairman, teachers need to be trained in the use of the system so that they can teach and direct students on how to apply for universities using the system.
At the moment, according to the shadow minister for education and vocational training, Susan Lyimo said the CAS has no benefit to the people and students because of delays and poor preparation of students to use the system.
CAS is the new application and admission system launched in March this year, which allows students to apply for higher-learning institutions using internet or their mobile phones.
TCU in collaboration with universities, NACTE and other higher education institutions say they came up with the new system, because the manual one could not cope with the growing number of higher education institutions and the subsequent expansion of student enrolment.
Under the old system, students spent a lot of money and time in applying for admission in a number of institutions.
Difficulties were also encountered in sorting out multiple admissions leading to delays in the start of the academic year by universities, complications in the disbursement of student loans by the Higher Education Students Loans Board including double payments, due to multiple admissions
Other problems included qualifying students failing to be admitted into universities due to inconsistencies in their applications, universities running below capacity as a result of superficial filling of places caused by multiple admissions and cheating by some applicants during the admission process.