- Published on Monday, 20 August 2012 02:37
- Written by MARC NWAME in Arusha
- Hits: 1092
THE English can certainly get lost in local forests here, but local students taking forestry studies at Olmotonyi, are reportedly also getting lost in English.
Last weekend, the Olmotonyi Forestry Training Institute, located in the ‘Enkare-Olmotonyi’ also known as ‘Ngaramtoni,’ section of Arusha-Rural District, observed its 72nd Graduation Ceremony ever since the college was established here over 75 years ago.
It was during this occasion which was graced by the Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, that the FTI Principal, Mr Christogus Haule lamented of what he described to be ‘poor mastering of the English language,’ on the part of the students taking Forestry Studies.
“Our trainers, who sometimes are foreigners from related training institutes abroad, are frequently faced with communication breakdown with most of our students who find English a very difficult language,” said Dr Haule. As it happens, the forestry training at Olmotonyi is an English Medium curriculum which means the students have no way out other than learn the language or kiss their Diplomas goodbye.
But even worse, ‘Mathematics’ became another subject which is also being thrown into the equation of pet-peeved lessons at Olmotonyi, the country’s only forestry training institute. “Unfortunately you cannot avoid Maths either,” maintained Mr Haule.
The Principal was on view that maybe poor ‘Science,’ preparations from Primary and Secondary levels of education make most of the students joining the Olmotonyi College to find the two subjects hard to tackle.
“But these remain to be the most important fields of testing, which means the only way out is to exert more efforts in them through practicing fluent conversation in English and doing more mathematics exercises,” pointed out the principal.
In the graduation statement read on their behalf by Mr Necta Urio a ‘Diploma in Forestry,’ student, the graduating scholars lamented the use of foreign trainers from abroad being brought about by unavailability of local lecturers.
“Sometimes classes are delayed and some subjects postponed or taught within very limited time due to over dependency onto foreign tutors,” complained the students.
The students also revealed that, the female participation in forestry studies, and the related enrolment at Olmotonyi, also left a lot to be desired. “Today a total of 121 students are graduating in Ordinary and Advance Diplomas in Forestry but out of these, there are only 39 women, the rest (82) are all males,” reads part of the graduates’ statement.
The students stated that many of their counterparts failed to attain the required grades due to various obstacles, including illness and other personal problems. But the most biting bug as far as the students are concerned, was that of employment, or lack of it;
“This is the third year in which the college keeps churning out qualified graduates but none of the three batches have been successful in getting employed.” “As the result most of the student who leave Olmotonyi are forced to change careers and undertake other studies that may guarantee them jobs, something that keep discouraging others to join studies in forestry,” pointed out the students.
Deputy Minister for Natural resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu promised that his ministry will ensure that at least 1000 students who have so far graduated in forestry studies over the years are assimilated into various job openings.
Mr Nyalandu assured the students that the courses they were taking will prove to be great assets in future as the country and the Eastern African region start investing heavily in the protection of natural resources.
“All you have to do is to ensure that, you come up well trained highly qualified for the challenges facing this field,” stated the Deputy Minister, who also used the occasion to present prizes to best performing students.
Forestry training may be okay, but the students also must be equipped with computer skills to be in better position in facing the modern age which means Olmotonyi graduates must at least also come out well equipped in this field as well.
However as far as the Olmotonyi Board Chairman, Mr Peter Gilla is concerned, the Institution’s Digital Laboratory is very cramped. “The room being used can only take 25 computer sets that have to be shared among 326 students, while the college’s requirement at the moment is to have a full-fledged lab with 50 computer sets,” said the Board Chairman.