Arusha. The government targets to have 800,000 graduates in technical skills by 2020 under its industrialization drive.
About 700,000 will graduate in various technical skills from vocational colleges run by the Vocational Education Training Authority (Veta) and 80,000 from the technical colleges.
The increased enrolment, says the deputy minister for Education, Science and Technology William Ole Nasha, aims to stimulate national plans for middle income economy through industrialization.
"Technical education is key in order to attain that goal", he said during the nineth graduation ceremony at the Arusha Technical College (ATC) on Saturday.
According to him, plans in place are to increase graduates from Veta centres to 700,000 a year by 2020/2021 from 150,000 in 2014/2015.
Graduates from the technical colleges would be increased from 40,000, the figure for 2014/2015 to 80,000 from the technical colleges in two years' time.
In order to boost technical training, new Veta colleges have been opened in Geita, Rukwa, Simiyu and Njombe regions while construction of new ones are in different stages in Namtumbo,Chunya, Kilindi and Ukerewe districts.
Major rehabilitation is going on at Veta colleges in Tanga, Mwanza, Kihonda (Morogoro) and at the Morogoro Teachers' Training College while those ones at Moshi, Makete, Mwanza and Tanga have been fully equiped.
Also in order to increase the number of technical education graduates, a new programme dubbed 'Education and Skills for Productive Jobs (ESP) has been initiated for folk development colleges.
Mr. Nasha expressed his concern over the low number of female graduates at the Arusha College and ordered the Tanzania Education Institute (TEI) to secure Sh. 1.7 billion for the construction of female hostels at ATC.
The college currently has a total of 2,346 students, of whom 1,759 are male and 587 female. The latter accounts for only 25 per cent of the total. This has been attributed to the shortage of accommodation facilities.
On his part, the acting Rector Dr. Masudi Senzia said only 20 per cent of the 465 graduates were females, noting, however, that upgrading of the training courses at the college to full scale engineering from the technician training level was timely because of the industrialization drive announced by the government recently.
"The environment is ripe for the streamlined courses at our college because of industrialization and the entrepreneurship drive. This is the opportunity to take us to the next level", he pointed out.