Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Kibira University Aims at Promoting Quality Education

Bukoba — EXPERTS say a recent opening of the Josiah Kibira University (JoKUCo), and the Bukoba branch of the Cardinal Rugambwa University College, is a landmark in the region's development.

Performance in the Education sector for the last four years has been dismal. During 2006 the Standard Seven examinations pass rate stood at 76 per cent, but it dropped to 73.1 per cent in 2007.

Again, in 2008 it dropped to 63 per cent while in 2009 it fell further down to 54 per cent. In the early 1960s the region was among giants with a striving economy and many talents including doctors and professors.

It currently takes the 19th position among the 21 regions with income per capita standing at 483,158/-, compared to the national average of 693,470/-. Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC) Fabian Massawe, has commended the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) and the Catholic church for the effort in improving people's lives through provision of social services in health and education sectors.

He also said the region had made impressive achievements in education, health and provision of social services during the past 50 years. He said while in 1961 the region had only one hospital, todate there were a total of 13 hospitals. The number of primary schools had increased from 50 in 1961 to over 1,500 while the number of secondary schools also increased from four in 1961 to over 50.

Mr Massawe said in despite the achievements, there was need for the people to work harder to improve their living standards. He noted that the region had slumped from third position to the 19th position among 21 regions. He called upon residents in the region to utilize the abundant resources, good weather conditions and the surrounding Lake Victoria for their well-being.

JoKUCo Deputy Pro- Vost Administrator, Dr Abednego Keshomshahara said the university started operations on October 7, this year as a Constituent College of the Tumaini Makumira University , until when registration processes will be completed. He said JoKUCO will be officially launched on January 12, next year.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania of the North-West Diocese (ELCT-NWD) has converted Nyakato Teachers's College into a wing of Tumaini University. The University named Josiah Kibira University College (JoKUCo) in honour of the first black African Bishop of the North- Western diocese of the ELCT-NWD, who served the Diocese from 1964 to 1987.Bishop Josiah Kibira was the first African and Tanzanian to be elected President of the World Federation of Churches (WFC) from 1972 to 1982.

Josiah Kibira was also a teacher and first deputy headmaster of the Diocese's first Secondary school, Nyakato, under a Swedish missionary earlier in the 1950s. According to Dr Keshomshahara, JoKUCo will initially offer degree programmes in three degree programmes, namely B.A with Education (BA Educ), BA Educ. and Diploma in Information Technology with initial intake of 400 students.

"This aims at supporting the government in mitigating the shortage of secondary school science teachers, a concern that points to a serious development setback in our country," he said. It is anticipated that in three to five years more degree programmes will follow as the university continues to grow. These will be in business administration, ICT and law.

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda commended the Bukoba Catholic diocese for its immense contribution in improving people's lives through various sectors including health and education. Mr Pinda made the recommendation during the official burial of the late Laurian Cardinal Rugambwa, and Consecration of the Bukoba Cathedral.

He also paid tribute to the late Cardinal Rugambwa, describing him as a true son of Africa and a patriot who offered his whole life to serve all Tanzanians. He noted that the government appreciated the big contribution made by the late Cardinal Rugambwa, through construction of Rubya and Mugana hospitals, which were designated hospitals for Muleba and Misenyi districts, respectively.

He also said the late Cardinal Rugambwa made efforts to provide girls with quality education by constructing Rugambwa Girls' Secondary School. The Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Prof Anna Tibaijuka, is among the first products of Rugambwa Girls High School.

The Bukoba branch of the St Augustine University has been re-named Cardinal Rugambwa University College, in honour of the late Cardinal. This was announced by Bukoba Catholic bishop Nestorius Timanywa, during the official burial of the late Laurian Cardinal Rugambwa, and Consecration of the Bukoba Cathedral. Laurian Cardinal Rugambwa, who in 1960 became the first African Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, died on December 8, 1997 in Dar es Salaam at the age of 85.

His elevation to the College of Cardinals by Pope John XX111 was a signal of the church's recognition of its debt to its non-European clergy, and of the growing importance of Catholic congregation in parts of the world that had once been the domain of European missionaries.

Cardinal Rugambwa was an early and active participant in the Second Vatican Council. He also stressed the importance of involving the lay community in the work of the church. "In the missions, where separation is a fact of everyday life, we have to be ready to cooperate with non-Catholics in all possible ways. The church is not a museum nor an archive, but a teacher of life," he stressed.

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