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Tanzania Has Only 40,000 University Graduates

TOMRIC Agency, 18 October 2000

Dar Es Salaam - With a population of about 32 million and over three local universities, Tanzania has only 40 university graduates one of the lowest rates in the world, a researcher has said.

Low enrollment rates caused by low resources, is one of the factors behind a situation. However, despite having a small number of university graduates, the country's rate of unemployment is very high graduates being one the victims.

Dr. C. Ndibalema from the Faculty of Education of the university of Dar Es Salaam says almost 40 years after the country's independence, and currently with the population of 32 million, the country had only 1,000 university graduates for each one million people. This is one of the lowest rates in the world.

He was unveiling his observations on the education status at a recent meeting also organized by the Economic Research Bureau (ERB) of the university of Dar Es Salaam, the oldest higher learning institution in Tanzania.

There is not more than 40,000 university graduates in Tanzania, he said.

To him, Tanzania should undertake major investments in education and training in order to speed up economic prosperity similar to the South East Asian countries, an observation which got support from other economic researchers at the University of Dar Es Salaam concurred who also observe that the country was not likely to gain anything from the East Asian economies if she overlooked the education sector. Several meetings and programs supported by Asian countries, put emphasis that African countries, especially of sub-Sahara region, should learn from Eastern experience. Apart from university graduates, figures indicate that low enrollment is also prevailing in other higher learning institutions. Studies show that from 1993 to 1996 only 9441 students were enrolled into various higher learning institutions in Tanzania.

Various higher learning institutions have been taking reform programs, but they are productive. Since three years ago, the University of Dar Es Salaam had embarked on the program to double intake at the university. The increase could however not tally with the existing classrooms and other facilities. In some lecture rooms some students take notes while standing, especially during lectures on shared subjects.

Contributing on the same aspect of education, Dr. Bartholomew M. Nyagetera, a Senior Research Fellow with ERB.

The Malaysian economic development experience and education promotion provided useful lessons to Tanzania and other developing countries.

But insist that there were few lessons for Tanzania because of the poor economic base, abject poverty and little investment in education and training. Dr. Nyagetera says that the Malaysian economy was similar to the Tanzanian economy in the 1960s in terms of population, size, per capital income, growth rate of GDP, incidence of poverty in education and health indicators. But now, Malaysia and Tanzania are poles apart, and are now at different levels and states of economic development with Malaysia in the upper middle income economies while Tanzania is in the group of low-income economies he says.