The president made the comment at the State House Grounds in Dar es Salaam in a ceremony to hand over university charters to eight universities that have met set criterion.
“Over time now, I have observed only few students being graduating at the levels of Masters and PhDs -- and from that experience, I get a feeling that you guys are so mean for not widening opportunities at these levels,” he told some representatives of the universities present.
Mr Kikwete challenged universities to act immediately and take appropriate measures to rectify the situation, adding that the increase in the number of universities with fewer lecturers in the pool would create crisis in the near future.
“Lecturers should have permanent areas of work so they can concentrate and produce quality professions that will compete in the global market but with the current situation where lecturers are shared by so many universities the future is in jeopardy,” he said.
The president challenged newly-established universities to also consider hiring international lecturers as an interim remedy to the shortage.
“In the 1970s, the University of Dar es Salaam hired so many lecturers from abroad and I was also among the students who were there then and this is the way to go now for newlyestablished universities because we cannot compromise the quality of education under the guise of shortage of lecturers,” he observed.
He urged the Ministry of Education and vocational Training and the Tanzania Commission for Universities to conduct regular inspections and ensure that all universities adhere to standards, including putting up necessary infrastructures for quality learning.
In another development, President Kikwete noted that Tanzania still lag behind its neighbours on the number of students admitted in universities, calling for efforts to increase the number.
“We have 166,000 students in our universities while Kenya, regardless of its small size and population, has 265,000 while South Africa has 800,000. It is good to note that we have grown fast from 45,000 students in 2005 but we are not good enough,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, said that the number of universities has increased tremendously in the recent years posing a challenge of producing enough qualified students to fill vacancies. “The number of universities has increased from 37 in 2010/11 to 50 by 2012/13 and thus the capacity of enrolling students has increased to 70,000 per annum but the students in the pool qualifying are only 43,000,” he said.
He noted that the government has started recognizing “prior learning” for people in service so they can qualify to join universities through mature entry window as a way of addressing the shortage.
Dr Kawambwa noted that various efforts are being made under the government’s initiative dubbed-Big Results Now, adding that many challenges would be addressed in a bid to create an avenue to achieve the 2025 vision of mid income country.
Universities awarded charters include Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT), Tumaini University Makumira, Tumaini University Dar es salaam College (TUDARCo), and Mount Meru University (MMU). Others include Nelson Mandela University, Mbeya University of Science and Technology (MUST), University of Arusha (UoA), Ruaha University College (RUCO).