Universities urged to turn to competence-based curriculum

Friday May 27 2022
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By Jacob Mosenda

Dar es Salaam. The government has instructed universities to come up with Competence-based curricula to ensure that from now on they do not produce only academically qualified graduates, but also those with the ability to perform in the labour market.

Primary schools and technical education institutions have for some time now been using Competence-Based Education and Training (CBET) while universities continue to focus on the Knowledge based curriculum which experts have cited as one of the reasons graduates lack the required skills.

Speaking at the conclusion of the seventh anniversary of Research and Innovation Week at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) yesterday, Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Education, Science and Technology Prof Eliamani Sedoyeka said it was time for colleges to start developing curricula based on more competence.

“We have been using the competency based curriculum in primary schools, now it is good that when you revise the current curricula, you must come up with competence based to help create young people who can produce after graduation,” said Prof Sedoyeka. Competence-based curriculum is seen as a cornerstone to lead Tanzania into getting the labour-force required in industrial development by 2025.

Meant to enable a learner to develop mastery and abilities to apply the knowledge and skills in real life situations, the curriculum is now seen by stakeholders as a solution to unemployment.

“In the past, the criteria for success in the education sector were based on performance, but now we can measure ourselves by looking at the productivity of many young people graduating from universities and other levels of education, and this is our focus now that we need every district to have a technical college,” explained Prof Sedoyeka.

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In addition, Prof Sedoyeka encouraged universities to have a strategy to market their innovations and research to be able to bring productivity to their designers and researchers while assuring the ministry’s readiness to provide appropriate cooperation.

“I commend this university (UDSM) for some of the innovations that have already become a marketable product. I would like to ask you to expand the scope because if the ministry allocates funds that cover various products from elsewhere, why not use yours if available,” he said.

He urged donors like banks to see the need to recruit young innovators, citing the example of fish farming who were showcasing their creativity at the college so that they can start productive projects.

“I would like to ask you (funders) to see the need to promote innovators who have often ended up halfway, help them start business ventures through their research findings or innovations and then leave them when they can stand on their own. By doing this together we will contribute to the government’s intention in innovation,” he said.

In the 2022/23 education budget, the government has allocated Sh5.5 billion for developing innovators so that their innovations can enter the market, “We want all innovators to grab this opportunity to create value out of their designs.”

In this year’s celebration of Creative Week, UDSM was able to develop incentives for successful designers and researchers and award them prizes including cash.

“These funds are for the development of such innovations and studies so that they can reach the required levels. Although it may be a small amount, we have seen it as a catalyst for achieving the purpose of our college,” said Prof Bernadeta Killian who is the vice chancellor of the college (UDSM) Research.