Tanzania government threatens to close more universities

Education ministry is analysing a report into the quality of higher education and may close down substandard institutions

November 22, 2016
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The Tanzanian government has warned it will close a number of universities after inspections found that many institutions were substandard.

Joyce Ndalichako, minister of education, science, technology and vocational training, said the government was in the process of evaluating a report on the quality of the country’s higher education institutions and told reporters at Tanzania’s 2016 higher education summit that they had identified some that “don’t have the requisite qualities to provide university education”, The Citizen newspaper reported.

“There are those which will be barred from offering certain courses,” Professor Ndalichako said. “Since the...government seeks to provide quality education to equip graduates with appropriate knowledge and skills that will provide the expected efficiency in workplaces, higher learning institutions is the area to which we should pay serious attention.”

She added that students disrupted by the government’s plans will be relocated to suitable institutions, but they should be prepared to take qualifying tests prior to admission.

Professor Ndalichako said the case of Tanzania's St Joseph University – which was closed earlier this year – where relocated students were subsequently found to have too poor skills to continue with their degrees, showed that the country was facing a problem of poor quality of education in some places.

“Most graduates entering the country's employment market have been found with skills and knowledge quite below employers' expectations and they have to be given additional training,” she said. “This year's meeting aims to find the means to provide better education that will benefit the country.”

Simon Msanjila, deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, confirmed that teams of experts had conducted inspections in all higher learning institutions to identify the ones that meet the government's quality criteria.

“Currently, we are assessing the findings from each of the teams, and then we shall come up with one comprehensive report,” he said. “The final report will establish the universities to be closed or courses that will be scrapped in certain universities.”

john.elmes@tesglobal.com

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