THE demand for new skills improvement to promote expansion and quality of development opportunities in key economic sectors, particularly the industrialization drive, is very high.
In order to achieve that, the World Bank (WB) set aside funds and a stiff competition ensued among 108 institutions to get sponsorship. One of institutions that participated in the competition and emerged victorious is the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NMAIST) with its headquarters in Arusha.
It will take responsibility to enable the country respond to demand of advanced skills and applied research in science, technology, agriculture, health and related fields, strengthening the centres to deliver quality, market relevant post-graduate education and build collaborative research capacity in industry, agriculture and health. Professor David Mwakyusa is Chairman of NMAIST Board of Directors, the youngest Government- owned university that was established in 2012.
He commends researchers and its leaders for a hard-fought victory. NMAIST will host the Centre for Research Advancement, Teaching Excellence and Sustainability in Food and Nutrition Security (CREATES) and Water Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy Futures. Those are set to be major drives in industrial economy and would see the WB pump in substantial amount of funds in support.
That falls under the Tanzania Eastern and Southern Africa Centres of Excellence. Professor Mwakyusa says the project would be highly beneficial as it is to spearhead industrial transformation process to deliver the mission in science, engineering, health and technology aspects for the country, linking research to commercialization. NMAIST also is participating in Education and Skills for Productive Jobs (ESPJ) project.
The Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Professor Joyce Ndalichako, says the project targets to increase necessary skills in research and in the labour market.
Prof Ndalichako thanks the WB for the support, applauding NMAIST for being selected with two centres, in an international competitive exercise that had brought along 108 competitors from different countries. NMAIST will receive 12 million US dollars that would be issued on phases depending on previous results by respective participants.
The minister cautions that stakeholders should work hard to ensure they see the projects through and anybody failing to make quick and right decision would be dealt with accordingly.
As for the ESPJ, the WB will offer 120m US dollars for NMAIST and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) supporting students in agriculture, tourism, construction, energy and minerals whereby there will be expansion and modernization of training facilities with high technology equipment and technology.
She notes that the ministry would work diligently to ensure the funds are used for the targeted people and within timelines to drive the country’s industrialization agenda. WB Country Director, Ms Bella Bird says that development of workforce is crucial so that the country could meet the labour market.
She notes that at least 30,000 youths would benefit from the new skills development programme that would promote expansion as well as the quality of skills development opportunities in key economic sectors.
The 30,000 beneficiaries of the programme will include trainees enrolled in university, technical, vocational and alternative training programmes in tourism and hospitality; agriculture, agribusiness and agro-processing; transport and logistics; construction, information and communication technology and energy, she said.
“The new mechanisms being established under the government strategy and funded by the programme will include a competitive and results-based skills… it will support the establishment and strengthening of institutional mechanisms operationalizing Tanzania’s new National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS 2016-2021) that seeks to increase the supply of skills for industries with high potential for growth and job creation in the country,” she says.
“Education is the powerful weapon you can use to transform the world”.