TEA reveals impact of skills development fund over 5 years

Dr Erasmus Kipesha

What you need to know:

  • Through the SDF, a total of Sh20.1 billion in grants have been allocated to various institutions to facilitate training in the mentioned crucial sectors

Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Education Authority (TEA) has made significant strides through the Skills Development Fund (SDF) to change tides in efforts to address the persistent issue of youth unemployment and skill gaps.

The five-year initiative, funded by the World Bank, focuses on empowering young people with essential skills in key sectors such as agriculture, agro-economy, tourism, hospitality services, transport, construction, information and communication technology (ICT), and the energy sector.

Speaking at a meeting with editors and journalists on Monday in Dar es Salaam, the director general of TEA, Dr Erasmus Kipesha, highlighted the impact of the programme over the past five years.

Through the SDF, a total of Sh20.1 billion in grants have been allocated to various institutions to facilitate training in the mentioned crucial sectors.

Over 49,000 young people, including 22,410 women and 26,650 men, have benefited from skill development programmes.

Dr Kipesha emphasised that the focus was not merely on imparting skills but on ensuring tangible outcomes for the participants.

“Over the past five years, 80 percent of the beneficiaries have either found employment opportunities or established themselves as self-employed individuals,” he revealed.

The inclusivity of the initiative was also highlighted by the acting director of Resource Mobilisation and Education Support, Mr Masozi Nyirenda, who revealed that among the beneficiaries, 464 were individuals with disabilities, and 2,928 came from poor households in Tanzania Mainland.

In Zanzibar, 600 young people from economically disadvantaged familieshave also reaped the benefits of the programme.

The SDF operates as part of the broader Education and Skills for Productive Jobs (ESPJ) Programme and the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) under the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology.

The comprehensive strategies aim not only to equip young individuals with practical skills but also to bridge the gap between formal education and the demands of the current job market.

The pressing issue of unemployment among graduates in Tanzania was acknowledged during the meeting. Annually, more than 800,000 graduates enter the job market, yet less than 15 percent secure employment in the formal sector.

The SDF has emerged as a crucial intervention, offering an alternative path for those who may have otherwise faced the prospect of unemployment.

One success story is that of Awadhi Mkora, known as Dr Fundi, who has become an expert in phone repair and maintenance. He now operates his business on Aggrey Street in Kariakoo, one of Dar es Salaam’s busiest commercial hubs.

Dr Fundi told The Citizen: “Most of my clients are phone technicians who haven’t received the necessary training to do this work professionally, and some phones are completely tricky, so when they receive clients and refer them to me.”

A graduate in engineering, Amina Rashid Mirambo, exemplified the programme’s impact on breaking gender stereotypes. Despite entering a male-dominated field of mobile maintenance, she confidently serves her clients.

“I had a dream of becoming an electronic engineer, which is my profession. After graduation, I started wanting to know how to repair damaged people’s phones because I saw there was a great opportunity, especially here in Dar es Salaam,” she explained.

Through the SDF, Amina acquired the skills needed at the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) to succeed in a field she is passionate about.

Looking forward, Dr Kipesha outlined TEA’s commitment to supporting the implementation of the new education policy in 2024. The focus will be on improving the learning and teaching environment, providing necessary equipment, and increasing access to quality and equitable education throughout the country.

This commitment aligns with the overarching goal of the SDF—not just providing skills but transforming lives and creating sustainable opportunities for Tanzania’s youth.