TCU blacklist draws anger

What you need to know:

The move by the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) was widely condemned by affected institutions and students as reality downed on what the implication would be on the blacklisted learners.

Dar es Salaam. There was uproar yesterday following the decision by the authorities to blacklist at least 8,400 university students over what was described as lacking qualifications for pursuing undergraduate studies.

The move by the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) was widely condemned by affected institutions and students as reality downed on what the implication would be on the blacklisted learners.

Speaking to The Citizen in separate interviews yesterday, some vice chancellors and heads of student organisations contended that TCU should shoulder the blame because it is the entity which controls the higher learning central admission system.

TCU released a list of more than 8,000 of continuing students from 52 higher learning institutions, who it say don’t meet admission criteria. The commission directed all students who were on the list to consult their respective universities before February 28 for further verifications.

However, the directive has been strongly opposed by those who spoke to The Citizen.

The St Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) Vice Chancellor, Fr Thaddeus Mkanwa, said TCU is was wrong to direct students whose admission are allegedly questionable, to go back to their universities for verification because the commission is the one, which control the central admission system.

According to Fr Mkanwa, under the central admission system, students apply through the TCU website.

After that, according to the university chief, a joint admission committee, which comprises TCU officials and vice chancellors from all higher learning institutions responsible for academics, sit together and go through the list of qualified candidates and do the selection.

“I think TCU has a lot of explaining to do, because it is the one that controls the entire admission system…I think it is wrong for TCU to direct students to go back to their universities for verification,” said Fr Mkanwa, who noted that Saut is yet to receive any official communication from the commission.

He added: “For example, TCU claims that some Saut students, whose names are on the list, have index numbers that are vague, while others have index numbers meant for foreign countries; I fail to understand why TCU admitted them in the first place if they didn’t meet the university entrance criteria… it is time the TCU told us whether the rules have changed.”

For his part, Tanzania Higher Learning Institutions Students Organisation (Tahliso) President Stanslaus Kadugazile called on the Minister for Education Science and Technology, Prof Joyce Ndalichako, to form an independent team to investigate the matter.

Mr Kadugazile said it was not right for TCU to audit the same list of students it had picked as qualified in the first place.

“When you go to apply through TCU website, criteria for each course are identified; how comes that TCU admitted students who don’t meet them?” queried Mr Kadugazile.

He also condemned TCU for giving the students only until February 28 to consult their universities. According to Mr Kadugazile most of higher learning institution students are currently on leave, so taking into account the fact that Tanzania is a vast country and most of wananchi are poor, it will be difficult for most of them to make it on time.

These sentiments were echoed by the chairman of Saut Students’ Organisation Ayo Emmanuel. Mr Emanuel, who said that instead of directing students to return to their universities for verifications, TCU officials are the ones who should visit the universities to conduct physical verifications.

For his part, however, the University of Dar es Salaam Vice Chancellor (Academics), Prof Florens Luoga, said that UDSM has already started to go through the names of its students who are on the list.

He was categorical that no student who meets admission criteria but has his/her name on the list, will lose his/her right to continue with studies.

“We are going through the list and if we will find out any student has been wrongly included, we will contact TCU to make sure no one loses his/her right to studies,” said he.

TCU posted on its website the names of the affected students, some of whom are shown to have sat their Form Six national exams in the 1990s. The notice directs the named students to consult respective universities on their fate.

The St Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT), Mwanza campus, tops the list with 1,046 students, followed by the SJUT with 968.

Other institutions are State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) 966, Mzumbe (639), Abdurrahman Al-Sumait Memorial University (SUMAIT in Zanzibar) (552), University of Iringa (UoI) (522), the Institute of Rural Development Planning (IRDP), (431) College of Business Education (CBE), Dodoma Campus, with (375), Institute of Finance Management (IFM) (305) and the University of Dar es Salaam which has 224 students.