News that the Ministry of Education and the World Bank have teamed up to prepare a $425 million (Sh1 trillion) five-year programme for higher education improvement in the country is really encouraging, especially as the New Year is ushered in.

For years, a number of investors in the country have raised concerns over the employability of graduates from Tanzania’s colleges and universities.

As investors, they have often posited, they want workers who can confidently demonstrate as having the following skills: business acumen (an understanding of how a business or industry works and what makes a company tick), communication and team work.

The other skills that employers want in their workers include: problem solving attitude, leadership, organisation, perseverance and motivation as well as ability to work under pressure and at a minimum supervision.

Experts add that some of the most important employability skills needed include: getting along with and working well with other people, such as communication skills and other interpersonal skills; being reliable and dependable, that is, doing what one says he or she will by the deadline he or she has agreed, and turning up when one is meant to be there.

Literature also points out to the seven key soft skills an recruit needs to join today’s workforce: work ethic, flexibility and adaptability, apart from team work and ability to learn new skills quickly.

The fact that Tanzania has already joined the Lower Middle Income Countries category coupled with its drive to industrialise its economy means graduates from colleges and universities must possess the above skills upon joining the labour market.

Hence, the programme will be instrumental in making this happen. We challenge those who would take part in its implementation to ensure that it becomes efficient and effective as much as possible.

We commend the readiness of the Ministry of Education in embracing this idea and the World Bank for its readiness to provide the necessary funds.


Our edition yesterday carried a plea by Tanzanian contractors and engineers for the government and related institutions to routinely avail them with opportunities to participate in major construction projects. This, they claimed, would enable them to gain more experience in their operational spheres – unlike the current situation whereby “most big construction projects were being implemented by foreigners, and the participation of locals was still minimal.”

The plea was directed at the deputy minister for Works and Transport, Engineer Godfrey Kasekenya, when he paid a familiarization visit of the offices of the Contractors Registration Board (CRB) and the Engineers Registration Board (ERB).

According to the acting CRB registrar Rhoben Nkori, 96 percent of the over 11,000 registered contractors in the country are indigenes – and with a majority of them with little or nothing to do.

Ditto for engineers, whereby a majority of the 29,759 registered engineers are systemically left out of major projects implementation, lamented the ERB registrar, Patrick Balozi.

We urge the government to look into this in the ‘local content’ context so that our contractors and engineers can also benefit from the sector the way other locals benefit from the petroleum sector in terms of the national local content policy.