Speaking shortly before signing the MoU on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam, Deo Mwanyika, Acacia Vice President (Corporate Affairs), said there were a number of aspects that the company and the university were partnering in.
He mentioned some of aspects as a two-year practical work experience for second and third year students, funding for university laboratory equipment, sponsorship of Postgraduate Mining/Mineral Process Engineering students and bursary for six students.
He said the two year practical work experience for the mentioned students in the chemical and Mining engineering department in various fields of significance to Tanzania’s development agenda in relation to the mining sector.
Mwanyika congratulated the first 52 students who will be part of the programme and asked them to apply the knowledge and experience gained from practical training for development of Tanzania.
He further said: “Acacia is committing more than 22m/- for purchase of laboratory equipment, student site visits and practical experience at its mine sites and help to supervise final year students on their project work.”
“This support, exposure and experience are critical to our students, the future professional workforce of our country. Acacia creates that solid foundation one needs for their career”, he said.
Under the two-year Mou, he said the company has for the new study year allocated 6 scholarships for students at CoET.
Mwanyika noted that education was an important factor for economic development, even though most students were not in a position to pay for their tertiary education due to lack of funds.
“As Tanzania’s leader in the mining sector, the firm is committed to further increasing its investment in higher education,” he assured.
He urged students at UDSM and other institutions of higher learning in Tanzania to realise that they were a honoured lot, having access to education that was a distant dream to many others in the country.
“Whoever will be a beneficiary of Acacia’s internship and scholarship programmes in the next two years will have a responsibility to give back to our community and country by imparting the knowledge gained,” he said.
The firm has run the scholarship programme with UDSM since 2009, which supported top undergraduate students and offered scholarships to academic staff to pursue postgraduate studies.
For his part, the Principal of the College of Engineering and Technology (CoET) Prof Ignas Rubaratuka, said the support from Acacia had focused on practical training, industrial oriented student projects and provision of engineering and design and modeling software.
The don said the university, through CoET, has always been seeking to forge a productive and constructive partnership with the industry for the mutual benefit of all.
Prof Rubaratuka said the collaboration between UDSM and Acacia Mining was exemplary and which they were proud of and needed to be consolidated in order to continue training mining engineers.
“This is a huge obligation that if left alone, without support from companies such as Acacia, we can hardly make any meaningful contributions as it is understood all over the world that training of engineers is an expensive though necessary undertaking,” he said.
He added that most of the time universities were obliged to seek partnerships with the industry and tended to orient their training to solve problems of the industry so as to attract it to fund their activities which eventually benefitted the industry.
He said some graduates from mining programmes had secured employment in various countries such as Australia, South Sudan, Mali, Ghana, South America and South Africa.
He noted that one of the objectives of the MoU that had not been fully realised to the satisfaction of both sides was the component of staff training.
Like any other organisation, the University was constantly striving to train younger staff as part of its succession plan.
“You will agree with me that the quality of the graduates will depend partly on the quality of instructors that the university engages. We are committed to this and any funds set aside for training will be used only for this purpose,” he concluded.