Education experts and stakeholders call for a robust skills development policy in TZ


Chief Secretary in the President's Office Ambassador Ombeni Sefue speaking to the press about the skills crisis in Tanzania

Chief Secretary in the President’s Office Ambassador Ombeni Sefue speaking to the press about the skills crisis in Tanzania

Tanzania must rebrand education system to give emphasis to work ethics, skills and entrepreneurial in line with competitiveness to leverage a middle income economy, Chief Secretary in the President’s Office Ambassador Ombeni Sefue said Monday.

Sefue said in Dar es Salaam the relevance of the education system is now a matter of national concern, given the sector has not fully addressed social-economic challenges.

“We need to rethink the curricula in our educational institutions, at all levels. We need an education system that addresses in a comprehensive way what it takes to make people employable, versatile and competitive in a rapid changing world,” the chief secretary said while opening the national Co-creation skills development workshop.

Ambassador Sefue stressed the rate of unemployment situation was worsening and thus the government resolved to develop a national skills development plan which would be adopted by all sectors and subsectors across Tanzania.

At the three-day workshop, the Chief Secretary urged delegates to consider introducing work experience in school curricula to ensure students are aware about the expectations of an employer or the attributes of an effective job creator.

The workshop is also expected to come up with the strategy and roadmap that will guide the government, private sector, the communities, educational and vocational training institutions as well as development partners to transform Tanzania through skills development.

Approximately 23million Tanzanians are in the job market and the number is expected to reach 45 million by 2030. The population growth rate is very high and the secretary is concerned with the approximately 1.2 million people annual population increase.

More than 800,000 job seekers enter Tanzania’s labour market annually and according to the secretary the country “must act now.”

“We must do more to improve the business environment. Jobs are created through investment, if our policies, infrastructures and bureaucratic inefficiencies are holding back investment we must have the courage not just to admit it, or complain and whine but to actually roll up our sleeves and do something about it.”

Consolata Mgimba, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training Centre said the country needs an effective mechanism for skills needs identification, planning and projection.

She noted only three percent of the workforce is high-skilled, 13 percent medium skilled and 84 percent of the working population is low skilled.

The officials said a substantial increase of the level of workforce skills is part and parcel of a successful transition to middle income status.

“Developed countries have made great advancement in scientific and technological fields, which have enabled them overcome limitations imposed by their environments … we need to strengthen skill development in applied science, engineering and technology to promote innovation for fundamental sustainable growth,” Mgimba underscored. 

According to stakeholders, a special national skills development policy is needed to facilitate smooth implementation of the plan.

Godfrey Simbeye Executive Director for Tanzania Private Sectors Foundation (TPSF) said the government and the private sector need to join forces to create a skillful society that will boost the country’s investment potential.