Why graduates in Tanzania are having a tough time

Wednesday May 25 2022
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By Jacob Mosenda

Dar es Salaam. Tanzanian graduates need a lot more than just passing exams and holding degree certificates so as to meet the competences required in the job market--particularly they need the vital character that accounts for the lion’s share of employers’ requirements, a key meeting heard in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the seventh anniversary of Research and Innovation Week at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Superdoll Tanzania CEO Seif Ali Seif said there were serious behavioural shortcomings among university graduates.

He argued that many graduates are largely lacking when it comes to qualifications like desirable character, some competences as well as chemistry, something that employers need more than even the GPA performance.

Mr Seif noted keen employers have formulated tailored programmes aimed at transforming graduates from being ordinary persons to professionals who fit the job market.

In a quick rejoinder, Education, Science and Technology deputy minister Omary Kipanga reminded ministry officials and universities of President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s emphasis on the resolve to improve education curricula in the country.

“Since the ministry is in the process of gathering stakeholder views on how best to improve our curriculum, I would like to ask the committee dealing with this issue to find an audience with stakeholders like Mr Seif, take their views and accommodate them in the final report,” he said.

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He encouraged greater focus on practical training through the exchange programmes between colleges and industries so that together they could tackle the global challenge.

For his part UDSM Vice Chancellor William Anangisye said that recently university management had an opportunity to visit the Superdoll Company where they were briefed on the shortcomings that graduates display.

“We promised to fight to discover and address the shortcomings through the curriculum so that what we teach is meaningful to our students and hence transform the community around them,” Prof Anangisye said.

But, Mr Seif kept on saying although they employ hundreds of graduates in their companies, it takes a lot of effort to formate them to contribute, noting that the company invests up to $50,000 on a graduate for him or her to display the desireable characters.

This, he said, should not have happened if there was proper training in universities, thus putting the higher education heads and the ministry of education to task over the situation.

For instance, for a graduate to be employed in such companies, his or her character must be 70 percent diserable, competence 20 percent and chemistry with colleagues 10 percent.

“Characteristics are things that are developed from home, training should start at home and not just put all the blame on colleges. The second is competence which involves colleges and the third is chemistry which is basically looking at whether one is capable of working and mixing easily with other people as well as controlling one’s emotions,” he noted.

“So I urge graduates and lecturers to consider this. As we align these things, the employment problem will begin to subside. If you meet all these requirements, I invite you to come and claim a job because every year we take on new young people.”

He emphasized that graduates must have both the required skills and the right mindset to join the job market.

He argued that universities must also ensure that lecturers do not only teach but they are equally competent characterwise and in their areas of profession.

Mr Seif emphasized that the issue of human capital needs to be addressed through nurturing the human capital so that when young people graduate they already know what they are going to do and in what way.

“Reality will remain as a reality, graduates cannot rely on the fact that you can go and start driving the car by reading the book or swimming in the pool by just reading instructions, you must test the water to know its weight,” he said.

“If this is addressed, employment will be much easier in the country. So, we employers now give them answers before the exam,” he said.