FLOUTING road traffic regulations, reckless driving, speeding, and quality of tires have been widely blamed for road accidents, which claim hundreds of lives, as authorities take different measures to try to minimize the problem.
The measures include improving requirements in issuing of driving licenses (like training and obtaining a certificate from recognized driving schools), impromptu fine for violation of traffic regulations, and introducing speed limits, and confiscating driving license for those repeated road offences.
Road accidents are still common in the country, and according to the Office of the Chief Government Statistician (OCGS)’s monthly briefing on road accidents, a total of 20 accidents were reported in July, 2020 that involved 30 victims of whom 29 were males and one was female.
Among the victims, 18 were injured and 12 died. OCGS says 1,573 traffic offences were reported in July 2020. They include ‘dangerous overloading of passengers’ (388 offences) followed by ‘driving without license, insurance and road license’ (304 offences).
Other offences were ‘Non-compliance with guidelines and traffic regulations’ (275 offences),’ and failure to wear uniforms and badges for conductor and drivers, operating commuter buses or public transport vehicles (219 offences)’.
The efforts have helped to reduce road accidents, but some researchers have also linked the poor quality of services at the automotive workshops as also contributing to car accidents, as many car repairers are unskilled.
Study shows that problems in engines, improper fixing of tires and other accessories are common problems in car repairs workshops, which contribute to road accidents in the country, yet there have been little attention on the automotive workshops.
Many people owning or using vehicle (a car, motorbike), also complain against thefts or cheating as some dishonest steal spare parts or exchange the new one with old one, and filthiness as most of the automotive workshops operate in dirty environment and repairers wear shrugs often do you visit an automotive.
Amid growing era of science and technology, where most of the damaged, or with technical fault items including cars are discarded instead of repair, there is an emerging question, whether we still need automotive workshops and car repairers.
In most developed countries like the US, UK, Japan, and the rich countries in the Middle East, it is already common, to use a vehicle for a short period, and once it develops mechanical problems, it is regarded as used item, for recycling or sold to developing countries.
Due to increasing human activities and government projects which include road expansion, construction of modern buildings, and emphasis of cleanliness in big towns/cities such as Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, in recent years, master planners and authorities in municipalities’ closed down most of the automotive workshops in city centres, claiming the workshops tarnish the image of the city.
In Zanzibar like in developing countries, automotive workshops are still very important and need to be improved as they play a crucial role in transportation sector including minimizing accidents.
Study shows that most of the car repairers in automotive workshops are people who either never went to school or failed to continue with secondary/higher education, and the only choice was to get trained as car mechanic or driver.
During a workshop to create a dialogue with all automotive stakeholders in Zanzibar, the Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) and Vocational Training Authority (VTA) organized a one-day seminar where participants discussed challenges and future demands of automotive workshops in Zanzibar.
The first ever gathering on cars repair in the Islands also aimed to indicate technical skills gaps and demands for the future to create highly specialized courses by VETA to serve all automotive workshops. That has been made possible, thanks to the 2017-2023 Zanzibar – German Vocational Training Partnership Project.
Implementers of the project are the VTA under the Ministry of education, and the Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), under the supervision of a Germany expert.
Reflecting on participants opinions, the German expert, Mr Dirk Smelty, Project Manager says automotive workshops, ‘Auto mechanics/mechatronics/Auto electric,’ were still important in the development of the country.
He argues that “Auto electric and Diagnostics; Modern car service management; Modern engine inspection and repair; Modern Air condition service and repair; and Competence and Practice are important. This makes the project to develop automotive workshops and training of repairs crucial.’
During the discussions held at the Verde Hotel, participants including those from the private sector, explained the need of creating a space for sectoral dialogue, and the need to upgrade youths who are already in local automotive workshops.
“Let members of the public, and the government, recognize all staffs in repair workshops by providing regular trainings particularly as the new technology grows. The traditional car repair is almost past. We have new cars, with new technology, and multiple foreign languages,” Mr Haji Kombo from a private automotive works said.
He adds that students should be encouraged to join vocational centres to stop the perception that the centres are for failures in schools, “It is true that in private workshops, and vocational centres, we find youths who failed form II, IV, and VI national examinations.”
Mr Hans Dieter Allgeier- a consultant and facilitator of the program, shared his experience on the development of automotive workshops for the past decade in the country (Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar), compared to Europe.
“When I came in 2006, there was almost nothing here. There were very few cars on the island and spare parts were difficult to get. Now the market has changed a lot and adapted to the new situation. More technology is coming into the island,” he said.
New market situation include: more modern and especially more European cars are imported, most of the cars use diagnostic in order to be repaired or even make service on them, and very high demand on modern workshops, therefore leading to high demand on knowledge and experience.
The facilitator said due to some interventions to improve automotive workshops and vocational training centres, some successes have been recorded, which include: curriculum has been developed, the establishment of VTA, upgrading KIST to institute, and more modern cars and technology has been imported to Zanzibar.
Other success stories are the market to repair cars has been growing big, and more repair workshops has been opened, regarded as a milestone in the development of the workshops in the recent years.
After sharing his experience, Mr Hans Dieter Allgeier asked whether the workshops are market oriented or certificate oriented, the need of the private sector, the need in training centres, the need of the vocational training teacher, the need of the students, and areas most needed, in order to compensate the actual need.
Mr Geoffrey Millinga-manager, from Budda Auto Works Limited said most of the youth joining repair work and automotive technician are talented and only need training.
Mr Mkubwa Khamis- Head of inspection department-VTA said “Let us motivate youth to join vocational training programs so that graduates fit to work in the developing world of science and technology. We now import vehicles with modern technology, necessitating skills upgrading.”
The Executive Director of ZNCC Mr Hamad Hamad said the project is timely, because having skilled automotive technicians working in workshops with modern equipment will definitely minimize accidents and improve vehicle services.
Mr Adam Chingwile- project coordinator, private sector (ZNCC) said the project is being implemented jointly between Zanzibar VAT and Germany government, Karume Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), and Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors (ZATI), with the aim of creating favourite environment for students to graduate and get employed.
It is implemented in two phases: 2017-2020, and 2020 to 2023, and involves training of trainers (teachers), where about 60 teachers attend classes in six fields, improving their skills. Twelve teachers from VTA have graduated.
The six areas of study include ‘Automobile & Auto electric,’ Electrical & Electrical Installation; Solar Power Technology; plumbing & Pipe Fitting; Welding; and Electronics. He said the project also involves strengthening of public and private partnership; promoting dual apprenticeship; and Internship.
Executive director of VTA Dr Bakari Silima says the VTA was established in response to the high unemployment rate among the school leavers. VTA has an overall responsibility for ensuring the provision of required skills for effective socio economic development in both, the formal and informal sectors.
He said “Vocational education is education that prepares people to work in a trade, in a craft, as apprentices. Vocations are usually based on manual or practical activities and are related to a specific trade or occupation. Vocational education is sometimes referred to as career education or technical education.”
Dr Silima informed the gathering that in order to meet the objectives, the training system has to ensure the flexibility of training delivery, in this regard VTA adopted a Competence Based Education and Training (CBET) approach.
“The approach is flexible in responding to demands of the labour market and at the same time it puts emphasis on performance at the standards set by the labour market while accommodating the needs of varied target groups to pave a way for lifelong learning,” he said.
Vocational training authority established first in Zanzibar and was passed by Act No 8 in 2006 and prior to that period apprenticeship ordinance was used to guide apprenticeship training within the country The Executive Director said that Vocational education and training in Zanzibar provides skills training to approximately 1000 people each year.
This represents 11.3 per cent of Zanzibaris aged between 15 to 35 years. Of these 55 per cent were male and 45 were female.
“Gender equality is a major international policy platform. In Zanzibar women are identified as one of the equity target groups for VET under the auspices of national policy. Women’s entry in to the workforce has been the single greatest shift in the Zanzibar labour market in the last 30 years,” he said.
However, women continue to be clustered in traditionally female occupational areas and are over represented in part time employment. They are more likely than men to have significant breaks in employment due to their caring roles in families.
Women’s entry in to the workforce has been the single greatest shift in the Zanzibar labour market in the last 30 years. However, women continue to be clustered in traditionally female occupational areas and are over represented in part time employment.
VTA has struggled over time to offer programmes that appeal to women and, more importantly, enable them to gain sustainable employment outcomes commensurate with their skill and qualification. It runs three vocational training Centres: two in Unguja and one in Pemba.
They are Mkokotoni Vocational Training Centre, Mwanakwerekwe Vocational Training Centre, and Vitongoji Vocational Training Centre. “VTA also supervises 45 Private Vocational training Centres in Unguja and Pemba Island,” he said.
Fifteen fields of study were provided in the vocational training centre and categorized as: service trade, construction Trade, repair and service trade, Food Preparation, Food & Beverage Services, and plumbing & masonry; carpentry & Wood Carving; painting & Sign Writing.
Other areas are welding & Metal Fabrication; motor vehicle mechanics; and Refrigeration and Air Condition; information & communication technology; Agriculture; supporting subject; entrepreneurship and business skills; life and communication Skills; and basic computer skills.