News about the signing of the $425 million Higher Education for Economic Transformation project agreements between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and heads of public universities is very much encouraging.
Suffice it to say that if all goes well at the implementation stage, then Tanzanians should expect to see improved contribution of higher learning institutions to the country’s social, economic, political and development aspects.
We are confident that the transformation project aims at addressing some of the country’s pertinent challenges and societal ills like poverty, gender, class-based inequalities and perceived ineffectiveness.
Indeed, the news responds to all patriots that have been calling for reforms in the higher education learning with the view to improving student achievement through access to excellent educational programmes; and, economic gains through increased work opportunities.
Social benefits to be expected from the reformation funds include broadened access to education, health, nutrition and other public services, including equity in increased assets and access to all citizens.
Studies by experts have shown that those attaining quality higher education have higher incomes, have more opportunities in their lives, and tend to be changer catalysers in society.
They argue that society benefits by having quality higher education system, in the sense that with high rates of education completion, there are lower crime rates, better overall health, and civic involvement.
What they mean is that higher levels of education corresponds to lower levels of unemployment and poverty, so, in addition to contributing to tax revenues, adults holding higher education are less likely to depend on social safety-net programmes, generating decreased demand on public budgets.
Indeed, Prof Adolf Mkenda rightly noted, this project will revitalise and expand the capacity of 17 institutions to contribute to key areas for innovation, economic development, and labour market relevance in Tanzania.
Hence, let every player involved ensure they add value to the implementation of the project for it to succeed as desired.
MAINTAIN BUTCHERY CHECKS
The ongoing operation to check compliance by butcheries with statutory infrastructural, hygiene and registration requirements must be accorded the weight it deserves.
To be effective, the operations should be regular. Complaints about poor hygiene at butcheries are seemingly endless. The current operation revolves around issues such as the use of meat-chopping logs and rusty equipment instead of using meat-cutting machines.
It was also recently established that only ten percent of butchery operators in Dar es Salaam have paid for their business licences and routinely adhere to hygienic rules.
This state of affairs calls for concerted efforts by all those concerned in order to protect the health of meat consumers. The authorities should consider ways of ensuring that, for example, meat-cutting machine prices are affordable by butchery operators.
Currently, the average starting capital for a butchery in a metropolitan periphery is only about Sh1.5 million, while a medium-sized meat cutting machine is sold at between Sh1.8 million and Sh2.8 million.