Dar es Salaam. The question whether or not higher learning institutions impart youth with necessary skills continued to divide opinion of stakeholders on Thursday, September 19, 2019, at the Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum (MTLF).
Today’s MTLF focus was on education under the theme ‘Empowering Youth with Relevant Knowledge and Skills’.
The forum seeks to explore challenges in Tanzania’s education curriculum and how linkages between higher learning institutions and the private sector can be primed to help young graduates fit in the job market and become self-reliant.
“Apart from the present weaknesses, the curricula in the higher learning institutions have contributed enough in producing people with the necessary skills to suit the labour market demands,” said Prof Lughano Kusiluka, Vice Chancellor, Mzumbe University at the forum.
Prof Kusiluka said that various reports have shown recently that Tanzania’s economy has been growing steadily and that wouldn’t be the case if the country’s workforce doesn’t possess the necessary knowledge and skills to participate in economic activities.
“But there are some challenges that need interventions,” offered Prof Kusiluka, noting that the number of students admitted to higher learning institutions and so the number of graduates.
“The labour market is arguably not that large to absorb all these people. The question now which should be asked is how we are going to generate more employment and how we do prepare our youth so that they can create the required jobs,” he said.
But according to Dr Godfrey Telly, an educationalist with the regional advocacy group Twaweza, the country’s curricula do more harm than good to the country’s young people.
“Most children tend to be more confident when they have not started school. But soon after starting school, it’s like their confidence is taken away from them,” said Dr Telly.
The researcher pointed out that the country has undergone various changes in its curricula at various educational levels, changes that have been motivated by various factors.
“But these changes have not been successful in addressing the real issue. It’s like they’ve been dealing with branches of a tree while leaving its trunk untouched,” said Dr Telly.
On the question of creating employment opportunities and reducing mismatch between learning institutions and labour markets, Ms Faith Shayo, the National Programme Officer-education, UNESCO stressed on the need of prioritizing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).