Sunday, May 26

EDUCATION FOR SELF-RELIANCE: HOW TANZANIA’s UNIVERSITIES CAN INCREASE THEIR GRADUATES’ EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES.

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Image result for photos of msekwa            I
got the inspiration to write this article immediately after reading a
presentation in
THE CITIZEN newspaper
of Saturday, 11
th May, 2019, 
by  Epiphania  Kimaro; 
wherein she cogently  narrates her
own personal experience regarding how
 
“an additional professional qualification” can enhance employment
opportunities for University graduates, and those of other Higher Learning
institutions;”
 and proceeds from there to
give some positive advise to such Institutions, urging them “to establish the
much needed shift from the conventional, to new and more competitive
  ways of imparting knowledge”. She continues
thus: “They (the 
 and other Institutions of higher learning) should
consider creating environments
  which
will enable students to pursue professional qualifications in parallel with, or
in addition to, their non-professional degrees, by
  using methods such as   “enriching their curricula with material which
will prepare students to take exams for additional professional
qualifications,
  and taking deliberate
action to provide awareness, guidance, and encouragement to their students to
take
 such additional courses for
professional qualifications,
  when they
are
  pursuing their chosen conventional
study courses”
 Kudos to Ms Epiphania  Kimaro  for her enlightening contribution. She actually
started her presentation by drawing attention to the obvious fact, that “unemployment
remains a key challenge for many developing countries, including Tanzania,
where new graduates continue to flood the increasingly competitive global jobs
market yearly”. And then she asks the pertinent question: “What then, can our higher
learning institutions do, in order to increase Tanzania graduates’ marketability
in the global economy?
   It is in answer
to this question, that she preceded giving her advice, which is quoted above.
   After
reading her piece, three points quickly came to my mind, which will form the
basis of my presentation in today’s article. They are the following: – 
The first is to strongly encourage the
present day Higher Learning Institutions, and their students, to adopt and
implement the sound advice given by
 Ms
Epiphania.
   The second is to ‘add value’
to her thoughts, by pointing out that such action, if taken, will hugely
contribute to the practical implementation of Mwalimu Nyerere’s
  philosophy of “Education for Self-Reliance”. 
The third
is to discourage people whose tendency is to blame the current ‘gradate unemployment’
plight, by making comparisons with “the good old days”, when University
students
  were literally ‘guaranteed’
employment immediately after graduation.
 
I will start with this last one.   
No
comparison with the distant past.
An
anonymous wise man once expressed the view that “another indicator of the fact
that one is ageing (apart from the number of years he has clocked), is what he
thinks and talks about”. He was referring
to some ‘oldies’ who are very fond of ‘going back’ to their nostalgic
reminiscences of the ‘good old days’ and comparing them with the present day unfavourable
circumstances. Unfortunately, this includes some of the journalists who
regularly consult me on a variety of issues which arise from time to time, who have
a similar tendency of asking me the question: “how was it during your
leadership days?  In other words, they
want to make comparisons between the present, and the very distant past. Granted,
that may be fine in some cases.  But
surely not in the case of graduates’ unemployment. Thus, my reply has always
been that it is actually unreasonable to make such comparisons, simply because
of the vastly changed circumstances which have occurred, having been created by
the major changes of Government policy on that issue. 
The
governing University education policy that was in place at the time when the public
University of Dar es Salaam was established way back in 1970, was that the
University’s mission was “to provide training solely for the purpose of
producing the high level manpower required for filling vacancies in the public
service”.  Hence for that reason, student
admissions to that University were strictly controlled, and deliberately aligned
with the achievement of that particular objective. In fact, there had been established
a “High Level Manpower Allocation Committee, whose function was to allocate
graduating students to available positions in the public service. In other
words, every graduating student was assured of employment. Those were the
proverbial “good old days” which, obviously, cannot possibly be replicated in
the present circumstances, when tens of thousands of students are graduating
every year from more than fifty Universities. 
The
reason for the subsequent change of policy.
            In the course of time, this
restrictive policy had to be changed. And it was repealed and replaced by a new
policy, under which University education was to be regarded as a ‘human right”,
which every academically qualified student was entitled to receive. It is this
major change of policy which facilitated the creation of additional public Universities,
as well as the introduction of many private Universities; plus the
corresponding large increase in the number of graduating students; inevitably
bringing with it the current nagging problem of graduate unemployment; whose
viable solution can only be found in self-employment; that is, if our
Universities will provide the necessary enabling skills. And, indeed, this will
be a practical implementation of the philosophy of “Education for
Self-Reliance”’
The
targets were the majority rural school leavers
            Under the prevailing circumstances of
1967 when the policy of “Education for Self-Reliance” was promulgated, with
only one University and a mere handful of higher learning institutions; the
principal targets of this policy were actually the children of the rural
peasant parents, who constituted the vast majority of the country’s primary and
Secondary school leavers, and who, realistically, had no hope of access to
higher education. It is in relation to these, that the ESR policy document
stated thus: -“ Our schools must, in fact, become communities that practice the
precept of self-reliance  . . .  All Schools, but especially primary and Secondary
Schools, and other forms of higher education, must contribute to their own
upkeep. They must be economic communities, as well as social and educational
communities. Each School should have, as an integral part of it, a farm, or
workshop, which provides the food eaten by the relevant school community, and also
makes some contribution to the total national income”.

            But the University was not excluded.
That is why, in his speech titled “Address by the Chancellor of the University,  on the tenth anniversary celebrations (Dares
Salaam,  29th August,
1980);  Mwalimu Nyerere  queried as follows  (with regard to the issue of undertaking
physical production, and service activities, 
aimed at offsetting expenses and bringing in additional  revenue): “can we say that the University is
playing a vanguard role in the question of education for self-reliance?”.  Of course, the answer was a loud NO.                                                           
That
is precisely why, in my considered opinion, the suggestions made by Ms Epiphania
Kimaro, which are quoted above, would make a huge contribution to the
implementation of the policy of’ Education for Self-Reliance’ at the University
level of education.  Obviously not in respect
of the envisaged ‘extra-curricular’ productive activities, but in the Universities
giving their students ‘an additional professional qualification’ for those who
need it; in order to enhance their opportunities for self-employment, and, as a
consequence thereof, their individual self-reliance.  

The
South African general elections of 8th May, 2019.
There
was another issue which is of great political importance, that took place last
week, and therefore easily qualifies for discussion in this week’s “current
affairs” column, since, presumably, it is still ‘current’ in the minds of our
readers. I am referring to the just concluded general election in South Africa,
whose final results were announced last Saturday, 11th May, 2019.  The
dominant point which was underscored in sections of our print media, was that
this was  “ANC’s worst ever showing” in
all of that country’s general elections held so far; just because it received “the
smallest mandate since 1994, when Nelson Mandela led it to victory in the first
multi-racial polls”.              
 That is of course true.  Hence, it is important for our own ruling
party, CCM; to draw some lessons from the ANC’s comparatively unsatisfactory
performance.
There are two such lessons. The first is
the inescapable need for CCM to understand what has caused this apparent “loss
of faith” in ANC by such a large proportion of the voting public of South
Africa.                         
 In my humble opinion, the good or bad image of
any political party, but more particularly the ruling party, depends almost
entirely on the behavior, or conduct, plus the public actions of its top
national leader, i.e. the party President or Chairman.   
   Now,
it is fairly common knowledge that the previous national leader of the ANC,
President Jacob Zuma’s public image had ‘plummeted down the mountainside’; with
endless accusations of a variety of scandals, including corruption, and the
misuse of Government funds on purely personal projects.                   
 The second lesson is the apparent poor
management by the ANC Government, of the country’s economy, and the social
services delivery system.  Under
President Zuma’s leadership, that country was cruelly subjected to a sluggish
economic growth, plus record unemployment. These are the factors which
obviously tend to alienate people from supporting their ruling party, and actually
motivates them to punish that party at the time of elections, by voting for the
opposition parties.

It is therefore incumbent upon CCM, to
endeavor to keep these evils at bay, come rain, come sunshine.  Indeed, CCM itself has already had a taste of
what may be described as “voters’ anger” when, during the 2010 general
elections, this party was subjected to a similar punishment!
At
that time, CCM was being accused of “harbouring and protecting” among its leadership
ranks, certain individuals who were deemed to be ‘
Mafisadi’, the Kiswahili word used to describe those leaders who
engage themselves in corruption, or other scandals, in blatant breach of the
leadership code of ethics. The voters’ anger was manifestly expressed and
directed to where it would register most vividly, that is, in the Presidential poll;
wherein President Kikwete’s majority was drastically reduced to 61%, down from
80% which he had scored in the previous (2005) Presidential election.
                                                    

 The point was of course taken by CCM, and soon
thereafter, the party national Chairman Jakaya Kikwete, wisely put in place a
mechanism for reviewing the entire party’s affairs, including its structure, in
order to determine precisely what had led to this undesirable turn of events.  Appropriate remedial measures were soon recommended,
and adopted, by the party National Executive Committee (NEC) in 2011, in the
form of new party guidelines headlined “Kujivua gamba”.
One
wise man, Malcolm X, is on record as having said the following: “there is no
better lesson than adversity.  Every defeat,
every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own lesson on how to improve your
performance the next time.”    
  The apparent ‘loss of faith” in ANC by the
voters of South displayed in the general election of 8th May, 2019;
should not only be a lesson, but also a good 
reason,  for that party to
‘re-examine its conscience’, and take any necessary steps  which will “enable it to do better the next
time”.

Source: Daily News and Cde Msekwa Himself

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