Communication, Works and Transport Minister, Isack Kamwelwe said in Dar es Salaam this week while launching the new training program at National Institute of Transport that the move is aligned with state objectives to equitable distribution of job opportunities.
“The National Institute of Transport has designed a very unique bus driver training course for women which, as government we thank the World Bank for supporting the institute to achieve its goals," Engineer Kamwelwe said.
He said the Fifth Phase Government under President John Magufuli has invested heavily in improving and expanding transport infrastructure, among other things, including the eight-lane road highway currently under construction between Kimara in Dar es Salaam and Kibaha in Coast regon but also construction of the Ubungo interchange as well as Morocco to Mwenge and Mbagala to Gerezani BRT projects.
"These massive transport projects require highly qualified and experienced drivers to ensure safety of passengers and property,” he added while commending NIT’s management for its innovative thinking in devising the unique female drivers training course to empower women technically.
“It should be noted that various studies have shown that women drivers are more careful on the wheel than their male peers which is good for public transport. This training is very important in enhancing road safety for the sustainable development of our country," the Minister noted.
On his part, NIT Rector Professor Zacharia Mganilwa said the female drivers’ courses that was launched, was historical because it is the first time for NIT to organise such an affirmative course which seeks to empower women.
"The beginning of this female drivers’ training course for BRT is a result of government's efforts through the Ministry of Transport, the World Bank, Land Transport Regulatory Authority and various stakeholders’ efforts," Prof Mganilwa said. He further noted that the BTR female drivers’ training course will be offered to 102 candidates from 230 women who submitted applications seeking enrolment.
"The training will last for seven (7) weeks and upon graduating, the new drivers will be eligible to acquire a Class C drivers’ license that allows them to drive public passenger vehicles including the BRT buses," he said.
Apart from World Bank funding, NIT also received U$2.1million from African Development Bank (AfDB) aimed at introducing a regional centre for excellence in road safety that trains professional drivers and auxiliary staff.
He said construction work of the centre which will start this year, will also train vehicle inspectors, commercial drivers to professional level as well as driving examiners.
“We don’t want to see continuing road accidents taking a toll on our roads any more in future because we need skilled workforce in growing our economy,” the NIT Rector stressed.
Speaking on the sidelines of main event, NIT’s Governing Board Chairman, Professor Blasius Nyichomba thanked the government for approving various projects proposed by his leadership aimed at expanding the institute’s transport disciplines.
"The launching of today's training for female drivers who will be operating BRT buses, is part of NIT's efforts to contribute towards stimulating economic development in the country as outlined in the National Development Vision of 2025," Prof Nyichomba said.
Mary Kumalija who is one of the candidates for the course said it was her dream come true. "We thank the government under President John Magufuli for giving us this opportunity to prove our abilities,” Kumalija said while also extending her appreciation to the World Bank, NIT and AfDB for the support.