Govt throws weight behind innovation, creativity

Govt throws weight behind innovation, creativity

VICE-PRESIDENT Dr Philip Mpango has said the new Education and Training Policy should strengthen innovation and creativity.

He equally directed the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to fast track the review of the Education and Training Policy 2014.

VP Mpango issued the directive in Dodoma on Thursday when gracing the climax of the Innovation week 2022 which kicked off on Monday.

Marked under the theme: ‘Innovation for Sustainable Development’, the week coincided with the National Science, Technology and Innovation Competition (MAKISATU 2022).

Speaking at the event, Dr Mpango also tasked the ministry to put in place measures that would help students fall in love with science, technology and innovation subjects in order to promote innovation and creative works.

He said Tanzania was still lagging behind in innovation works citing the 2020 statistics from the World International Copyright Organisation (WIPO) depicting that Tanzania had submitted only 97 innovative products compared to 459 by neighbouring Kenya and 7,603 works submitted by South Africa.

“I also want to see the ministry collaborating with the private sector to increase the number of people in science, technology and innovation by allocating enough budget for academics to conduct research works which would promote innovation and creativity works,” he stated.

Dr Mpango also asked the ministry to look for opportunities for innovation studies outside the country, insisting that many developed countries had sent their people to the best colleges outside the country.

He equally underscored the need to increase vocational training colleges to promote self-employment among graduates.

The VP further noted that innovation was key to the country’s development and that it was among the key issues that are included in the National Development Plan and the CCM manifesto.

Speaking at the event, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)Resident Representative, Christine Music said her institution was fully committed to collaborating with the government of Tanzania on innovation agenda in order to boost the economy of the country.

“Building a culture of innovation is key in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as achieving an industrialised Higher income economy.

Vodacom Tanzania Managing Director, Sitho Mdlalose, said that he was greatly encouraged to see the government working with the Private Sector to bring the country’s economy to higher levels.

He said Vodacom was also committed to seeing innovation in Tanzania being prioritised for the best interests of the country’s economy. “As among the sponsors of this week from the private sector we see the potential of innovation in the country.”

Earlier when briefing the VP on the innovation week and MAKISATU, the minister for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Adolph Mkenda said this was the fourth time the ministry is marking the innovation week.

He noted that so far, the government identified 785 innovators through MAKISATU and that the most talented 200 innovators had been developed by the ministry through the Commission for Science and Technology to bring their innovative products to commercialisation, thereby increasing employment opportunities as well as increasing the country’s GDP.

MAKISATU competitions were launched in 2019 as one of the ministry’s strategies to identify and develop innovations made by Tanzanians and encourage the use of Science, Technology and Innovation that will support the development of the industrial economy.

Innovators ought to be identified and developed by the ministry through COSTECH.

Author: KATARE MBASHIRU in Dodoma

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