Nyerere backs business

January 9, 1998

TANZANIA is creating a fourth public university from the former Institute of Finance Management.The new Dar-es-Salaam City University College is seeking affiliation with universities in Britain and South Africa.

Education officials say the university will fill the gap in east and central Africa for an internationally recognised business school.

Although it is state-owned, the government wants the university to run as a business and raise money from the private sector and financial institutions. Lecturers will be encouraged to exploit their own work commercially.

Former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere recently said the time for "free education" has gone. Dr Nyerere said that if Tanzania was to develop, then it has to embrace private education at both secondary and university levels.

"With globalisation of the economy, Africa cannot afford to continue in isolation, but needs competitive business executives capable of stimulating business activity," he said.

Tanzania, like the rest of East Africa, is faced with a growing demand for university education. The existing public universities, Dar-es-Salaam, Sokoine and the Open University of Tanzania, have an enrolment capacity of fewer than 12,000 students. Tanzania has the smallest number of university and secondary students in East Africa.

According to principal Harun Madoffe, the new university will forge strong links with industry in contrast to other universities in east Africa. Mr Madoffe said this was why the new university had decided to seek affiliation with British universities with strong relationships with industry.

"We thought the University of Dar-es-Salaam did not have the experience we were looking for, as it has no established ties with business or industrial sectors," said Mr Madoffe.

Dar-es-Salaam is in the throes of a major financial crisis that has affected most of its academic programmes. A report prepared by the university council to a consultative conference on the higher education sector in Tanzania showed that the government this year provided less than half the resources requested.

This year, the government allocated 44 per cent of the university's needs, compared with 96 per cent in 1984.

Research and capital development has declined over the years. "The only research in progress in Dar-es-Salaam University or Sokoine University of Science and Agriculture is donor-aided," said the report.

The university has drawn up a 12-point plan towards setting up a strong scientific capacity for promotion of science and technology. The idea is to make the university the focal point for research in Tanzania and the senate had approved a variety of degree courses in science and technology.

The university also intends to increase the enrolment of science students from 620 to 1,400 in the next three years.

The government recently asked the Higher Education Council of Tanzania to start scrutinising applications from various organisations interested in establishing private universities.

Top of the list are the Lutheran and Catholic churches. The Lutherans plan to establish Tumaini University, which will have three campuses, while the Catholic church will elevate the Nyegezi Social Training Institute into the St Augustine University of Tanzania.

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