Top officials in both the public and private sectors often lament about the quality of new recruits — graduates and non-graduates alike. It is therefore hardly surprising that fingers are being pointed at our educational institutions, namely universities, colleges, training centres and schools in general.
A story in our stablemate Mwananchi yesterday showed that one possible cause of this trend is lack of sufficient field training for students and trainees at different stages of learning.
Those interviewed voiced their concern about the short field times that students get while undergoing their studies. Such field times often last only five to eight weeks.
It can easily be seen that the allocated time is too short for students to sufficiently develop their skills and competencies in their respective areas of study.
However, this is not the only shortcoming in Tanzania’s educational system. To tackle them, various measures need to be taken.
Education authorities need to adopt innovative approaches and best practices in order to improve efficiency in this area, which is crucial in developing a strong society.
Firstly, it is time the authorities pushed for competence-based learning, as well as personalised learning across the entire education sector.
Secondly, Tanzania must make use of technological advances to bolster the quality of teaching and learning in and outside the classroom.
Thirdly, funding should be increased to facilitate implementation of various programmes in the education sector, including research and development.
Fourthly, efficiency should be the keyword in the use of community resources, meaning that more should be done with less owing to budgetary constraints.
And fifthly, the principle of flexibility should apply across the educational spectrum so that there could be more alternative paths for learners. It is not fair to weigh every learner in the same way while their natural endowments are different.
Community engagement should be emphasised if Tanzania is to bring about the desired transformation in the education sector.
INVESTMENT: EA CAN DO BETTER
Profit is what drives investment. It is highly unlikely that private capital will be brought to East Africa for philanthropic reasons. That is why officials in Tanzania and the entire region must work harder to remove any obstacles that are likely to scare away prospective investors.
To attract capital, policies must be more predictable. The region needs to fix infrastructure and lower the cost of doing business by, for instance, ensuring that there is reliable power supply.
The granting of generous tax exemptions, although not very popular, being an avenue for direct loss of revenue, is a measure that has been consistently applied. There is also a guarantee against expropriation and reforms to ease the granting of licences and other conditions.
Despite all these initiatives, several huddles still exist. The legacy of statism needs to be curbed to encourage greater private participation and flow of direct investment.
Governments must seriously address the existing poor and inefficient social, economic and physical infrastructure; unreliable power supply; and rigid tax regimes, which increase the cost of doing business, thus hampering investment.