The National Council for Technical Education (NACTE) has said working experience is one of the criteria that students seeking to pursue diploma studies can use to qualify for admission.
NACTE Executive Secretary Dr Primus Nkwera said this in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, aimed at exploring why some technical colleges offer diploma courses for well over two years, while police technical colleges are permitted to offer similar studies for only one year.
Nkwera said that NACTE principles require students who want to pursue a diploma in a technical college to have attended basic technician certificate and technician certificate courses at lower levels, but students who have working experience are exempted from these requirements.
Technical colleges were introduced in the country to enable employed people advance their careers while at work, he stressed.
He added that students with Form Four education and a long working experience are also given “recognition of prior list” under the arrangement.
The mandate to assess the experience of a student and approve admission is under the respective technical colleges where the students have applied.
"Technical colleges have been given mandate to assess if an applicant with working experience has the basic skills of the course they are applying for…It is not fair to place a person of more than ten years of work experience to start from basic certificates. It is assumed that they have already learnt the basic skills at work,” he said.
He further explained that qualifications are building blocks which are connected whereby in the case of education provided in technical colleges a direct applicant from secondary school can start with the basic certificate (Level Four) then technician certificate (Level Five) then ordinary diploma (Level Six), and so on.
On the police technical colleges, he said, the institutions have been authorised by the council to offer police officers chance to advance their careers instead of remaining with the same education level throughout their working life as was the case before.
With the quality of education provided in the colleges, graduating police officers can join any police based university in the world for further studies, he said.
Reached for comment Media Council of Tanzania executive secretary Kajubi Mukajanga said his office was very much aware of the system, adding that it is accepted all over the world.
Asked why it was not included in the journalism curriculum which is prepared by MCT, he said it is not the responsibility of the council to approve the qualified applicant, but instead the mandate to assess applicants with professional experience fell in the docket of their respective colleges.
“The system is there and it is accepted all over the world…it is not the responsibility of the council to approve the ability of the experienced applicant, instead the onus is on the college where the students send their application,” he said.
Police spokesperson Advera Senso admitted that police officers graduating from their colleges are awarded ordinary diplomas titled National Technical Award (NTA) Level Six as per NACTE.
She said that students allowed to join NTA Level Six are those with NTA Level Five (Technician certificate) pass, although she declined to explain why police officers undertake the training only for one year.
She said that this year a total of 106 police officers have graduated with Diploma of Police Science (NTA Level Six) which they studied for a period of one year.