New graduates celebrate amid uncertain futures

What you need to know:

  • Some graduates expressed concerns about the rising cost of school and the uncertainty of success in today’s competitive job market at the occasion, which saw 2,796 graduates don their caps and gowns

Dar es Salaam. The graduating class of 2023 at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) has raised voices of uncertainty as the country continues to grapple with the challenges of education and employment.

The expressions were aired yesterday after the institution’s 53rd graduation ceremony held on Tuesday, serving as a poignant reminder of the importance of meaningful reform and support for Tanzanian youth.

The increasingly expensive nature of education and the uncertainty of success in today’s competitive job market were concerns for some graduates at the occasion, which saw 2,796 graduates don their caps and gowns.

A Bachelor of Arts in Literature graduate, Ms Monica Lyari, embodied a blend of joy and apprehension as she contemplated her future. Her concerns revolved around the escalating costs of education and the uncertainty that shrouds success in today’s fiercely competitive job market.

“I’m thrilled to have crossed this stage, but I am filled with uncertainty about what lies ahead. Many who studied this course find themselves struggling to secure a foothold, with only a fortunate few finding employment as teachers,” she articulated.

Monica echoed a sentiment held by many of her fellow graduates--the need for a shift towards practical education within the academic system. She acknowledged that such a transformation could alleviate the burdens of her generation, which grapples with the weight of their prospects and the anxiety this imparts on their parents.

“The upcoming plan, if fully implemented, could be a lifeline. I fear, though, that the heaviest burden might fall on my parents, who have invested significantly in my education without the aid of higher education loans,” she lamented.

Despite Mr Issaka Suleiman’s gratitude for obtaining his degree, he could not escape the pall of uncertainty that loomed over his future.

He admitted:  “I have completed my studies, but I am gripped by fear. When I think about my major in history and political science, I struggle to envision job opportunities. Even considering a career in politics seems fraught with challenges.”

The bleak employment prospects have led some graduates to rethink their initial aspirations. Issaka’s candid admission reflected this shift: “If you had asked me, before joining the university, whether I would choose a technical college or university, I would have unequivocally opted for university. But now, in the face of harsh realities, I would lean towards technical education.”

Parents, like Ms Sofia Alfred, who travelled over 2,000 kilometres to witness her son’s graduation, are deeply troubled by the prevailing employment situation.

“In the past, we took immense pride in providing our children with a university education. Many were willing to part with their land, but today, countless families find themselves impoverished, and the returns on their investments remain elusive,” she lamented.

However, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology is well aware that the challenge of employment and the scarcity of entrepreneurial opportunities for graduates are pressing concerns.

According to the Minister for Education, Prof Adolf Mkenda, several aspects of the new education policy for the year 2023 may be implemented shortly to address these concerns.

UDSM’s Vice Chancellor, Prof William Anangisye, encouraged the graduates not to wait passively for employment but to actively seek out opportunities.

He emphasised: “Be individuals who actively seek out opportunities rather than waiting for them to come to you, a notion that can be challenging in today’s highly competitive environment.”

An education consultant from the University of Dodoma, Dr Anneth Nkwimba, said, “As the country grapples with the challenges of education and employment, the voices of the Class of 2023 underscore the urgency of meaningful reforms and support for Tanzania’s youth.”