WB lauds Mandela institute for advancing gender inclusion

ARUSHA: THE World Bank (WB) has commended Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology’s (NM-AIST) efforts in promoting Gender inclusion at the learning facility.

World Bank Country Director Nathan Belete said it was rewarding to see how NM-AIST was advancing the issue in its academic circles.

“I was very pleased to hear the commitment of the leadership in the institute to prioritise gender inclusion in their acceptance in their programmes,” underscored the World Bank Country Director when he visited the learning facility on Monday.

According to Mr Belete, over the last several years, there’s been a gradual increase in the number of female students that are enrolled, noting that the World Bank acknowledged NM-AIST commitment and leadership in ensuring that such a plan becomes sustained.

He said: Of course, for us in the World Bank, the issue of inclusion, particularly gender inclusion and opportunities is critical.

NM-AIST, which forms a part of the network of Pan-African Institutes of Science and Technology spread across the continent, had churned 334 female graduates in different courses since its first graduation in 2013.

It has also seen female staff assuming senior positions including that of a Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

Commenting on Higher Education for Economic Transformation project (HEET), Mr Belete said tertiary education was a key priority for the World Bank in Tanzania.

He singled out a number of activities witnessed at NM AIST, such as ICT innovation and research in agriculture in the sciences in general, were critical for responding to the needs of the labor market and the industry in the country.

“It is our view that the government is rightly investing in these types of training institutes and we would like to continue to do whatever we can to partner with Institute’s such as the Nelson Mandela in our program going forward,” Mr Belete assured.

In her rejoinder, HEET project coordinator at NM AIST Professor Suzana Augustino, said the learning facility had already spent 992,015 US dollars (about 2.5bn/-) out of the total 10 million US dollars (about 25bn/-) from the World Bank in implementing the project which aims to strengthen the learning environment, ensure greater alignment of priority degree programmes to labour market needs, and improve the management of the higher education system.

“We are currently reviewing our curriculum to ensure that it aligns with the market demand and we’ve also set up an industrial advisory committee,” she added.

Earlier on, NM AIST Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Research and Innovation Professor Anthony Mshandete, informed the World Bank Country Director that the learning facility was on course to establish a new school, dubbed Earth Sciences and Engineering (EaSE), which will also feature courses in Geo-Sciences and Mining.

NM-AIST is accredited by the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) and is actively being developed as a research-intensive institution focused on postgraduate and postdoctoral studies and research in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET).

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