As to students’ verification, TCU only shot itself in the foot

25Feb 2017
The Guardian
As to students’ verification, TCU only shot itself in the foot

Anxiety, panic and confusion have gripped students pursuing studies in higher learning institutions after the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) issued an announcement that requires them to verify their academic credentials as many risk disqualification.

Parents and guardians have also been left confused as a result of the announcement with most of them blaming the Commission for causing unnecessary trouble to their family members.

Education stakeholders on their part have faulted the Commission’s announcement, questioning TCU competence in administering the admission process of students into higher learning institutions.

For years now the Commission has been presiding over the whole process of admitting students into higher learning institutions (Universities), beginning with the first stage of receiving applications to the last stage of allocating students to respective institutions depending on the courses they applied for.

Undoubtedly, in processing the applications TCU has been thoroughly scrutinizing school leaving credentials of all applicants before embarking on further admission stages.

The guidelines for undergraduate admission into higher education institutions state that the commission, through its mandate, in collaboration with the National Council for Technical Education (NACTE), the National Examinations Council of Tanzania (NECTA), the Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESLB) and higher education institutions (HEIs) coordinate students’ admission through the Central Admission System (CAS) which has been in operation since the 2010/2011 academic year.

According to guidelines provided by the TCU, applicants seeking admission into higher education institutions must lodge applications online and be selected to programmes of their choice centrally.

The guidelines further stipulate that the selection processing is based on minimum programme entry and other requirements of each institution, including admission capacity and other parameters.

But one important aspect of the admission process is that the decision on the actual admission of applicants is made by individual institutions through their governing boards and administrative bodies.

We fully understand that as per TCU guidelines, each student must score certain marks or grades to be able to qualify for admission into higher learning institutions, short of which the applicant is shown other alternatives such as joining vocational education facilities recognized by NACTE.

That being the case, how come the same institution that administered the admission process of the students into higher learning institutions comes up with news that over 8,000 students are not qualified for the programmes they pursue? Who should bear the blame?
Reports that emerged immediately after the blacklist was unveiled indicate the breadth of the list of students the TCU cited as potentially unqualified to pursue their studies, as that includes scores of students already in their final year of studies, which shows how keen that TCU announcement must have been. Why didn’t they fail and consequently be discontinued, then?

If unqualified students have been able to learn and pass their first and second year courses, then someone at TCU is playing with ink, paper and laptop in issuing that cantankerous announcement.

It is faulty to the extreme to announce that someone can’t sink for a course in dental science and the students has passed all his or her first and second year exams! It is a prank that ought not to be performed by a peer organization like TCU.

If the TCU wants to say that the whole admission system is faulty it ought to remember it has been the coordinator of the same process, and secondly, it can’t explain how the same students pass their exams.

In that case TCU A can’t win over ‘TCU B’, where TCU A was wrong to admit those students but ‘TCU B’ observes that they are passing their exams! Why must it shoot itself in the foot with such contradictory positions?

Whatever background materials were used, the fact that scores of those student passed courses in their respective higher learning institutions settles the point.

The Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training ought to pull the curtains in that shoddy episode of institutional somersaulting and flagrant contradiction.

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