Confusion as agency blacklists varsities

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Several universities and constituent colleges were thrown into state of panic as others rushed to seek clarification following the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) order that also delisted 75 courses from some 22 universities as well.

Dar es Salaam. Confusion and anxiety gripped the academia yesterday following reports that 19 institutions of higher learning have been blocked from enlisting students for the 2017/18 academic year.

Several universities and constituent colleges were thrown into state of panic as others rushed to seek clarification following the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) order that also delisted 75 courses from some 22 universities as well.

Some affected universities were up in arms yesterday, fearing the impact of the TCU move on their respective reputation and plans for the new academic calendar. The order, however, does not affect continuing students.

Officials of the universities who spoke to The Citizen protested that TCU ambushed them and that the agency tasked with overseeing quality education in the higher learning echelons may have used outdated information against them.

Prospective students were caught unawares by the order which came just four days into the college enrolment window. Universities across the country resume session in September for the new academic year.

Nearly 33,000 candidates who sat their Form Six national examination in 2017 scored first and second division to qualify for direct entry into university. Over 20,000 others with division three and below are also expected to seek for enrolment in colleges for training that corresponds with their scores.

Yesterday, it became apparent that TCU were not on the same book with the affected institutions as each of the parties appeared to blame each other for the development.

The Citizen learnt that heads of affected universities in the upcountry were travelling to Dar es Salaam and others were holding internal meetings to seek for immediate solutions concerning the matter. Reports confirmed by TCU confirmed the order follows inspection carried out between September and October 2016, but which the protesting universities say was outdated.

The TCU acting executive secretary, Prof Eliuther Mwageni, said feedback was circulated to all colleges by July 1, this year. He added that all institutions with flaws were given 14 days to correct and submit their reports to the commission for further review.

According to the vice chancellor of Morogoro Muslim University, Prof Hamza Njozi, whose institution is suspended from admitting students in five degree programmes, they had submitted the updated report to the TCU before the given deadline but are surprised it did not help.

He said that they have already corrected the shortcomings which were outlined in the TCU report and that they didn’t expect the suspension.

“There were inadequate lecturers for some of the courses offered by our university but it was already sorted as we have recruited enough facilitators,” he said.

However, he admitted that the college has frozen admission for bachelor of languages and interpretation due to lack of enough lecturers as many have gone for studies outside the country.

Responding to the concerns, Prof Mwageni admitted to receiving of reports from several colleges saying the council’s board would analyse the feedback before making a final decision. “All universities have submitted their reports basing on the given recommendations, and the board would sit next week to discuss the way forward,” he said.

The principal of Marian University College (Maruco) situated in Bagamoyo, Prof Peter Msola, said they would issue an official statement tomorrow.

“As I speak I am travelling to Dar es Salaam. I have seen the announcement this morning (yesterday) and we shall discuss it at the management level before issuing the statement,” he said.

Prof Gaudance Mpangala of Ruaha Catholic University (Rucu) said the university received TCU directives following the 2016 assessment suggesting certain improvements for some courses. Prof Mpangala who was formerly deputy vice chancellor for academic affairs said all he knew was that the matter had been addressed. His successor in the position, Prof Donatus Komba, told The Citizen he was on his way to Dar es Salaam following the TCU notice.

The acting administration officer at Jomo Kenyatta University in Arusha (JKUA), Mr Elias Kizota, said the university was unaware of the announcement adding that JKUA senior officials have engaged TCU in dialogue to resolve the controversy.

“As I’m speaking my bosses are meeting TCU officers in Dar es Salaam on similar issues. We are surprised by the commission’s decision to release this list.

Hopefully, the university will have something to comment after the management have concluded discussing with TCU,” he said.

The Tumaini University vice chancellor, Rev Masiba Shuco, declined to comment on the announcement, saying next week the university would give comprehensive statement.