The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), Lila Mkila went vocal at the Aga Khan University’s (AKU) 12th convocation ceremony held in Dar es Salaam on Thursday while addressing 48 graduates of Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master Degrees in Medicine and Education, and scores of the alumni.
“The more educated and skilled a person is the more productive and innovative is expected to be, greater the contribution to economic growth,” he said implying how the scholars could play their part in brightening Tanzania’s future.
“Given your knowledge and skills, you are now equipped enough to help this country reach its prosperous future,” he said, adding; “you should bear in mind that we are extremely short of people of your calibre in this country and that your knowledge and service are of an utmost value.”
AKU President Firoz Rasul echoed the banker’s remarks, reminding the graduates of the challenges while in the field.
“As humans, we naturally seek a higher purpose. We seek a great task or calling – a challenge that brings meaning to our lives, and that leaves a mark on the lives of others,” he said.
Citing an example of AKU’s work with public sector nursing bodies and Johnson & Johnson, a multi-national manufacturer of pharmaceutical, diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical, and biotechnology products, in highlighting the importance of partnerships with international institutions and public-sector organizations, Rasul counseled the medics over ways to widen and deepen the impact of their work and overcome challenges.
“With the support of the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust, which has provided scholarships for our nurses for 15 years, we undertook a major study of the School of Nursing and Midwifery and its alumni.
That study found our graduates are making a significant impact on health systems and the quality of nursing care. Nearly four in 10 are senior leaders, managers, educators or researchers, and others directly involved in patient care,” said Rasul in an overtone of pride.
He said the University in Tanzania was holding negotiations with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Ministry of Health on the possibility of giving either a Bachelor or Master level midwifery specialized courses in helping expectant mothers and their babies.
He also added that the University was also working out plans to improve the quality of education in local schools.
“Our Institute for Educational Development, East Africa (IED, EA) is collaborating with other Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) agencies on a five-year project to boost learning among pre-primary and primary school children in marginalized communities across East Africa. The project has already trained more than 1,000 educators and officials in Tanzania,” he said.
“IED, EA has today seen 31 graduates conferred with the Master degree. After today’s convocation, the Institute has over 300 graduates practicing across East Africa, a truly regional programme with wide representation from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, with a total of 623 diploma and degree holders in Tanzania to date,” he said.
He said the Strengthening Education Systems in East Africa (SESEA) which is now fully operating in Mtwara and Dar es Salaam has trained over 1,000 teachers who impact at least 75,000 pupils in 13 years of its establishment.
He added that the “Fursa Kwa Watoto” (Opportunity for Children) programme in at least 90 public schools in Mwanza and Kilimanjaro regions has trained about 600 pre-primary school teachers, head teachers and their deputies, impacting about 10,000 pupils in Tanzania in the past year alone.
“There is no greater reward than the knowledge that your efforts have deeply and positively impacted the lives of a great many people. The chance to experience that knowledge for yourself is an opportunity indeed – one I urge you not to miss,” he suggested.