THE government has no plan to set up or establish any other public university, Deputy Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) Mwita Waitara told the National Assembly yesterday. Mr Waitara said this when responding to two separate questions from Members of Parliament (MPs), including a lawmaker, who wanted to know if there were any plans to promote Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy to university level.
According to Mr Waitara, the governmenthas no intention of elevating Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy to university level. “At the moment the government is improving conditions at existing universities and colleges, but if there is a need to add more other public universities, the government will do so in the most suitable areas,” the deputy minister noted. He said so far there were 11 public universities, two associate universities and 32 high learning institutions in the country.
Mr Waitara pointed out that the government recognised the importance of universities and higher learning institutions in developing human resources that would contribute to Tanzania’s industrial and middle-income economy by 2025. “The government is implementing a programme to improve universities and higher learning institutions available to repair and set up new infrastructure as well as develop new teaching and learning materials to maximise enrolment and enhance the quality of education offered,” the deputy minister said.
Responding to a question by Ms Suzan Massele (Special Seats-Chadema), who wanted to know the government’s plan to construct new public universities in Mwanza City, Mr Waitara appealed to the citizens in the city and other areas to continue using universities and higher learning institutions in place.During the question and answer session, Mr Hamidu Bobali (Mchinga-CUF) pointed out that Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy was there for a long time and had been used to prepare leaders of the country and neighbour countries.
He, thus, wanted to know whether the government did notsee a need for promoting the academy to university level and why the government was not disbursing development funds at the college as allocated. Responding, the deputy minister told the House that Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy was a higher learning institution established through Act No 6 of 2005.
He said it was fulfilling its key responsibilities of conducting professional training in social sciences at certificate, diploma, degree and PhD levels. In addition, the college conducted leadership training, ethics and good governance, researches and provided advice to members of the public. “The government’s plan is not to promote existing colleges, but to improve the conditions of existing universities to repair and construct infrastructure, have modern equipment and have more qualified lecturers,” the deputy minister said.
He noted that such measures would enable the facilities to increase enrolment and enhance the quality of education provided. Mr Waitara further pointed out that the government had been disbursing funds to the facility depending on the availability of funds. For example, he said, in the 2017/18 financial year, the government issued all funds set aside for development expenditures amounting to 1,189,000,000/-, which was spent on the construction of hostels.