Education to blame for lack of jobs among graduates

Friday February 12 2021
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The Speaker of the National Assembly addressing Parliament in Dodoma during a past session. PHOTO | FILE

By Habel Chidawali

Dodoma. The debate on the Third Five Year Development Plan (FYDP III) was yesterday dominated by comments about Tanzania’s unemployment which the lawmakers said was not fully-addressed in the Plan.

Some of the MPs put blame on the current education system which, they said, focuses more on preparing graduates to be employed instead of self-employment.

Unemployment rate measures labour market by showing underutilization of the available workforce. It also shows inability of the economy to generate jobs for people who want to work.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Tanzania’s unemployment has been decreasing from 10.3 percent recorded in 2014 to 9.7 percent in 2018.

However, the legislators lamented as to why a number of graduates remained unemployed for years, saying this showed that not enough was being done in the development agenda to address the matter.

Dr Pius Chaya (Manyoni East-CCM) who happened to be a lecturer in different higher learning institutions said he knew a number of young people whom he taught at least four years ago and were still unemployed.


He asked the ministry of education to review the entire education system which he said had failed to produce job makers.

“I taught at the University of Dodoma and at the Institute of Rural Development - and I still see a lot of jobless graduates hanging around in the streets. And they seem to have no future,” he said.

He said Tanzania’s education system was a bit different from other countries where majority of the graduates were able to create jobs.

Mr Ndaisaba Ruhoro (Ngara-CCM) interrupted Dr Chaya’s comment by adding that the graduates were not able to employ themselves because they lacked the practical side of what they learned.

He said most of the graduates were not ready to work in such areas as animal husbandry and farming as they were prepared only for the white collar jobs.

“Their knowledge is mostly paper-based and when they graduate they meet a different scenario on the ground,” he said.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Job Ndugai, also joined the debate, clarifying that some countries like Kenya had a curriculum that prepared the graduates to become entrepreneurs.

He said some colleges were doing business by introducing courses that they were not good at.

He cited an example of the Morogoro-based Sokoine University of Agriculture (Sua) saying it was training History teachers while its main focus was agriculture.

“Just yesterday, I met a young woman who graduated from Mzumbe University some six years ago but she is still jobless. She owes the loans board with interest and I simply don’t know how I can help. It’s really serious,” he said.

He said even those who were already employed were thinking of owning plots instead of thinking of how to generate extra income through side projects.

Earlier in the morning, Dr Mathayo David (Same West-CCM) asked Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa why the government was not employing more people to fill the gap created by retired public servants.

In response, Mr Majaliwa said the government employs in accordance with the demand in specific areas.