Enable more women to study for PhDs, Tanzania challenged

Thursday August 03 2017
PhDs pic

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania must enable more women to pursue doctoral education in various disciplines if the country is to attain its industrialisation goal, according to a Malaysian academic.

“Tanzania must create an enabling environment for more women to pursue Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in different fields if she wants to seriously industrialise,” Dr Wan Chang Da, a researcher from Malaysia’s National Higher Education Research Institute (IPPTN), said at the Consultation Meeting on Doctoral Education in Commonwealth Africa (Deca) in Dar es Salaam.

“The Tanzanian community needs to provide intellectual education for men so that in turn they can also provide opportunities and support to girls and women to achieve PhD education,” Dr Wan added, noting further that statistics showed that the participation of Tanzanian women at the level of PhD was very low.

“This is not good because development is brought by all regardless of gender.

“We are here to discuss how to provide innovative PhDs. It is possible to be innovative and creative, but women should not be left behind. Back in my country, Malaysia, we have solved this obstacle after removing some inherent cultural obstacles to women, which led to their incompetence in pursuit of their PhD studies.”

The Deca meeting was held to appraise the status of doctoral education in Tanzania, which is a member of the Commonwealth. The consultation was based on a country report, which was presented by Dr Joel Kayombo from the Dar es Salaam University College of Education (Duce).


The report, apart from highlighting significant growth in the number of people pursuing doctoral rducation in Tanzania, noted that there was big demand for PhD holders in Tanzania. This demand, according to Dr Kayombo, stems from the exponential growth of higher education institutions in Tanzania since the advent of the new millennium 17 years ago.

However, the report highlighted the lack of a clear focus on doctoral education in key education policy framework in Tanzania.

“When you look at these three policy frameworks – the Higher Education Policy (1999), the Higher Education Development Program (2010) and the Education and Training Policy (2014) – doctoral education has not been reflected in the policy discourses,” Dr Kayombo said.

The consultation meeting was funded by the Malaysia-based Commonwealth Tertiary Education Facility (CTEF) and co-hosted by the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) and University of Science of Malaysia (USM).

Speaking earlier, the Director of Research and Postgraduate Studies (DRPS) of the Open University of Tanzania, Prof Hossea Rwegoshora, said PhDs should be more innovative, with research focusing on issues that foster Tanzanians’ development rather than on purely theoretical issues which had little impact on the lives of Tanzanians.

“Our target is to see PhDs bearing fruit, and not kept on shelves while Tanzanians’ lives are static. We want studies which discover something beneficial to Tanzanians,” said Prof Rwegoshora.

Dr Margaret Bushesha, OUT Director of Quality Assurance and Control, said in order to achieve the goal of providing innovative PhDs, students should study hard and learn more.

“The biggest problem with our students lies in self-learning. A PhD student is expected to be a researcher from the master’s level. When they come to PhD level, their studies become more independent. Studying independently can facilitate the discovery of new knowledge and upgrade existing knowledge and skills,” she said.