Engineers raise concern over shortage of supportive cadre

TANZANIAN engineers are pushing for training of more middle-level technicians to help the country achieve the industrial drive by 2025.

There have been concerns that elevation of previously technical schools to degree level has impacted negatively on the training of technicians who are critical in provision of back-up services to engineers in their daily activities.

Speaking in separate interviews ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Engineering Registration Board (ERB) next month, professional engineers charged that the country needs engineers of different cadres, technicians and artisans to establish and operate the envisaged factories.

Former Director of Equipment Maintenance at Tanzania People’s Defense Force (TPDF) Brigadier General (Rtd) Reginald Chonjo admitted that there is shortage of technicians, adding that experts in the industry have Kenya.

Similar views were shared by Vice-Chancellor of Kampala International University (KIU) Prof Jamidu Katima who stressed that the country can hardly attain the industrial economy without highly trained and patriot engineers.

Prof Katima who previously headed the College of Engineering and Technology (CoET) of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), however called for empowerment of local engineers to enable them undertake major projects, which are currently dominated by foreigners.

“We need to have the local content policy in engineering and construction as it is the case with natural gas and oil industry.

The policy will play a great role in empowering local engineers,” Prof Katima, a specialist in chemical engineering, explained.

Initially, there were technical schools which have now been elevated and they include Dar es Salaam Technical College, now known as Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology and Mbeya Technical School, which has become Mbeya Institute of Science and Technology.

Prof Katima remains hopeful that the government will continue training more technicians to serve in the ongoing projects and planned factories in many parts of the country through the government spearheaded industrial drive.

Recently, Industry, Trade and Investment Deputy Minister Engineer Stella Manyanya said Tanzania may be well catered for when it comes to the number of qualified engineers but faces acute shortage of technicians and architects to provide critical back-up services.

Engineer Manyanya noted that as the country moves towards industrial revolution and stable economy through industrial development, there is need to have a wider base of technicians and architects who undertake the real construction works on site.

“When it comes to engineering profession, we have all the top level experts but there is shortage at the lower segment that comprises technicians who actually do the works,” she said.


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