Govt launches committee to groom graduates

IT is time higher learning institutions reorganised to use their research findings to groom graduates who are competent and prefer self-employments according to the labour market demands.

That was said by the Minister for Investment, Industry and Trade, Dr Ashatu Kijaji while gracing the launching of Mzumbe University Industrial Advisory Committee under HEET Project funded by the World Bank in Dar es Salaam, recently.

She further said that as institutions, they should focus on imparting skills which benefit the country and its people even after 50 years from now, adding that the government was ready to support them including linking them with outside labour markets.

“But, there must be an assurance that we produce employable graduates,” she said.

“Train employable graduates who can be absorbed in the labour market with little coaches, the government wants special education that goes with the modern world demand, or else you (higher learning institutions) will be offtrack.

“Through the Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE), many employers are complaining that the skills the graduates come out with do not match what they want on the ground.

“Again, various surveys conducted by the employers’ union between 2004, 2012 and 2014 show that graduates do not match their skills when they are hired, so it is forcing employers to send them outside the country to acquire skills required globally

“If the committee finds that there is a challenge in the curricula used in colleges, then they should deal with them for improvements in collaboration with other authorities so that graduates can adapt to market needs,” she pointed out.

Dr Kijaji further said that institutions should not be areas to provide ‘education’ but should be flexible to transform them to keep pace with changes in the modern world.

“The fourth industrial revelation requires us to be very competitive in the market, but we can’t cope if we don’t suit employers in Tanzania, outside the country and globally,” she said.

The minister asked the committee to honour local researches and findings concluded by experts within the institutions, instead of thinking that foreign ones are the best and yardsticks.

She tasked the committee to assess how the country’s graduates as a workforce can penetrate the international market.

“For instance in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), we should be informed where we failed so that in the next 10 years, we should know where we are going.

“With their prior assessment and advice, we should ask, are we going to the market as observers or competitors?” she posed.

In a related development, the minister noted that recently, when she was in Saudi Arabia, she had a talk with their Chamber of Commerce and she was informed that Tanzania has an offer to supply them with 24 containers of unripe bananas on weekly basis, but that could not be fulfilled after the delivery of only one container.

“As a country and with our traders, we must ask ourselves where there is a problem, because bananas are there in the value chain, it means we strategise to exploit this chance for our traders and country at large.”

On his part, the Acting Principal of Mzumbe University, Professor William Mwegoha promised to work on the directives as a committee in the institutions and transform the existing challenges for economic benefits of the country.

“If necessary, we shall improve the curricula so that graduates can compete in the job market,” he added.

The HEET project is a five-year venture worth 425 million US dollars (998bn/-) that aims to strengthen the learning environment and labour market alignment of priority programmes, while enhancing the delivery of knowledge to produce graduates who meet the demand and standard of the current and future labour market.

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