11 November 2012

Tanzania: EAC Targets U.S $2 Million for Kiswahili Commission

THE Arusha-based East African Community secretariat will invest more than 2 million US dollars for the initial operationalization of the East African Kiswahili Commission from the next fiscal year.

That was among the agreements reached when the ministers responsible for education, science and technology, culture and sports from the five EAC member states were adopting the revised draft, Inter University Council for East Africa Bill, 2012 last weekend.

A statement from the Arusha-based, EAC Secretariat, signed by the Press and Communications Officer, Mr Owora Richard Othieno, revealed that the ministers from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi were in Kigali, Rwanda for the 1st Extraordinary Sectoral Council on Education, Science and Technology, Culture and Sports which was closed over the weekend.

Kiswahili is currently the Lingua-franca of the community which uses English as its official tongue. The four-day meeting chaired by Mr Ababu Namwamba, Kenya's Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports considered among others, the draft IUCEA Bill that proposes to enact a new Act on the Inter-University Council for East Africa, 2012; plans to operationalize the East African Science and Technology Commission and East African Kiswahili Commission; as well as matters regarding Mutual Recognition Agreements that various professional bodies are currently working on to facilitate movement of labour and trade in professional services.

The draft IUCEA Bill the ministerial meeting passed was prepared to remedy anomalies and inconsistencies highlighted in the IUCEA Act (2009) following a comprehensive review of the same.

The Act in question, which the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) enacted in 2009, was meant to effectively mainstream the Inter University Council for East Africa into the EAC but its operationalization has met with a number of challenges because some of its sections do not augur well with the EAC Treaty, the institutional position of IUCEA in the Community, as well as with new developments in the provision of higher education.

The new Bill that aims to repeal the IUCEA Act 2009 will now be forwarded to the Council of Ministers -- the EAC policymaking organ -- for approval.

At the same meeting, the ministers considered and adopted the proposed budget of 1.89 million US dollars for the initial operationalization of the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) and another 2 million US dollars for the initial operationalization of the East African Kiswahili Commission, both provisioned for the 2013/14 Financial Year. Rwanda and Tanzania have been selected to host the Science and Technology and Kiswahili Commissions respectively.

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