Students verification exercise: Not even past graduates are safe

21Jul 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Students verification exercise: Not even past graduates are safe

IF you gained admission into a local university without the right qualifications, graduated and are now employed on the basis of your certificate, be worried. The government has formally declared that it is coming after you, your certificate and your job.

Just one day after expelling over 7,000 special diploma students from the University of Dodoma (UDOM), the education ministry yesterday announced an expanded operation to identify and remove more bogus learners from local institutions of higher learning.

But this time, according to minister Prof Joyce Ndalichako, not only current students who were irregularly enrolled without meeting the minimum academic qualifications will be targeted, but also such graduates of yesteryear who will have the certificates they earned rendered invalid.

For the latter group, the government will even get them ejected from the jobs they are now holding on the basis of those ‘invalid’ paper qualifications, Prof Ndalichako declared.

The minister, whose full docket covers education, science, technology and vocational training, told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the expanded verification exercise will comb through the students enrolment files of all universities in the country to establish the admission qualifications of current students and past graduates.

“This operation will start immediately after the completion of the ongoing one meant to identify and deregister ghost students who received state-sponsored loans from the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board,” Prof Ndalichako said.

In effect, if the growing concern that many students have been gaining entry to higher learning institutions through the back door is true, this new government move may end up affecting hundreds if not thousands of past and present students.

According to the minister: “We won’t spare anyone…we will go through all the names from freshers to finalists currently in universities, and graduates. Entry qualifications are very clear so there will be no room for maneuvering.”

Meanwhile, commenting on the mass UDOM student expulsions, Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) acting executive secretary Eliuta Mwageni attributed the problem to a flawed TCU admission system.

“The central admission system we use could not have allowed what happened to have happened if the laid down procedures were properly followed,” Mwageni said.

According to the education ministry’s announcement on Tuesday, an official vetting exercise had established that only 382 students out of a total of 7,805 students enrolled initially for UDOM’s special teaching diploma program had the minimum academic qualifications for admission to the course.

This constituted less than 5 per cent of the total number. “These (382) are the only students who will be allowed to rejoin UDOM and complete the program," minister Ndalichako said.

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