Govt crackdown on academic institutions laudable

23Jul 2016
The Guardian
Govt crackdown on academic institutions laudable

GOING by how some of our institutions of higher learning behave, one might conclude that Tanzania was headed to producing a nation of illiterates.

One question which comes in the fore is how a nation of illiterates can cope up with today’s world of advancing science and technology?

Reports that the state-owned University of Dodoma had recruited 7,000 students to undergo a science teaching diploma course despite lacking minimum academic qualifications do not make good reading.

We commend the government for its new drive aimed at cleansing academic rot in some of the country’s mushrooming universities. At the same time we appeal to the very government not to loosen its stance, lest Tanzania becomes a nation of illiterates.

News that the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) has barred fresh student enrolment at at least six local universities for various quality-related reasons is encouraging.

Looking at the state of affairs in our academic institutions, more rot could be discovered in the name of half-cooked nurses, half-cooked doctors, half-cooked engineers - the list is endless.

In its Undergraduate Admission Guidebook for Higher Education Institutions released on Thursday for the 2016/2016 academic year, TCU barred St. Francis University College of Health and Allied Sciences, the International Medical and Technological University and the University of Bagamoyo. These institutions were ordered to stop enrolment for all tuition programmes.

According to TCU, St Joseph University College of Engineering was blocked from enrolment in all programmes while the University of Dodoma and State University of Zanzibar were told to halt student enrolments for their respective Doctor of Medicine degree programme.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training expelled more than 7,000 students from the University of Dodoma after investigations revealed that they had been enrolled for a special teaching diploma course despite lacking the minimum academic qualifications for admission.

Another piece of encouraging news was that the ministry also announced this week a special operation to identify and remove not only current learners, but also past graduates, who had gained admission to any local university in a similarly irregular manner.

The no-nonsense Minister for Education and Vocational Training Dr Joyce Ndalichako has made it quite clear that past graduates caught in the dragnet will have whatever certificates they earned at university rendered invalid and the government will even ensure they are expelled from any jobs they are holding on the basis of inferior qualifications.

The authorities should not end there. They should go one step further to investigate all high learning institutions, including universities, medical and nursing colleges, teacher training colleges, just to mention but a few.

We also pay tribute to the newly appointed management of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for showing the way.
NSSF Director General Prof Godius Kahyarara has ordered employees of the state-owned social security fund to submit their certified original copies of academic/professional certificates for verification.

He warned that failure to submit the documents they will not be paid their salaries until when they submit their certificates as instructed.

NSSF has shown the way. Other organizations, including media houses, should follow suit. Time for beating about the bush is over.

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