Tanzanian Aims to Better Equip Graduates for Careers
When Noela Jonathan asks the Tanzanian government for a shilling, she considers herself lucky to get just half. Such is life at public universities across Tanzania, where an already cash-tight government is the primary source of funding.
At the University of Dar es Salaam where Noela works in administration, the unfortunate impact is a gaping hole in instruction, which ultimately leads to many students graduating without adequate learning or skills. In the course of her work, Noela sees Master's and doctoral students who struggle to write simple reports and dissertations. Extra funding could help retain teachers, pay for educational materials, and give staff training on how to submit successful proposals for more funding.
"[The students] don't have the mentality of doing business and being entrepreneurs," said Noela. "If we can do better in cooperation with corporations and donors we can get more funds which will help us to address some of the issues."
Challenges like these are the reasons why Noela, the first Tanzanian participant, along with eight other higher education administrators from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Ghana, Uganda, and Ukraine have come to the United States through IREX's University Administration Support Program (UASP). They are here to gain hands-on experience and make professional connections.
While in the U.S., the administrators receive management skills training and spend eight weeks collaborating with peers at respected public universities. By the end of their stay, they possess knowledge and skills to be catalysts of management change at their home institutions. The program also provides opportunities for seed funding and technical assistance for reform projects at participants’ home institutions. Fifty-five universities worldwide have participated in the program since 2002.
Noela hopes her experience at her host institution, the University of Missouri-Columbia, will eventually translate into Tanzanian graduates who are better prepared to enter the workforce.
UASP is funded through generous support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. See the entire list of Fall 2012 UASP fellows here.