Arusha Times (Arusha)

24 November 2012

Tanzania: In Focus - Characteristics of Good Colleges

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Stakeholders in Tanzania do not rank colleges. Instead, officials express characteristics of good colleges during graduation ceremonies.

For example, officials at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University (KCMU) College implied several characteristics of a good college referring to KCMU College. The aim was to impress the audience at the 2012 KCMU College graduation ceremony.

A good college will attract those who are graduating to enroll at the College for further education. Some members of the audience may also be attracted to study at the College rather than at other colleges that offer similar courses. KCMU College is affiliated to Tumaini University in Tanzania.

Officials mentioned discipline as an important aspect of good training implying that a good college respects discipline. In particular, speakers representing the college informed the audience that the college has established a dress code to ensure that students dress respectably.

An official of KCMU College emphasized the importance of discipline by asking the students who studied physiotherapy to swear in front of the audience that they will be committed, ethical and will not ask or accept bribes in the course of delivering their services to patients.

In addition, officials mentioned students' performance as a measure of a good college. They mentioned that majority of students at the college have been able to graduate in 2012. Some students received awards for outstanding performances in their examinations.

Speakers mentioned relevance of programs as an indicator of a good college. For example, KCMU College offered a Diploma Course in HIV/AIDS in 2012 for the first time. That is because HIV / AIDS medical services are of utmost importance in Tanzania now.

The college has been able to offer the first PhD whereby one PhD student graduated in 2012. It implies that KCMU College is a progressive and arguably a good college.

A representative of the Tumaini University was happy to announce integrity of colleges like KCMU which are affiliated to the University as a characteristic of a good university. She mentioned that the Sebastian Kolowa University College (SEKUCO) in Lushoto which is also affiliated to Tumaini has now qualified to be an independent university.

Therefore, SEKUCO is now registered as Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU).

Officials are working to ensure that other colleges that are affiliated to Tumaini University qualify to operate as independent Universities rather than colleges.

Gender balance as a characteristic of good college did not surface during the graduation ceremony at KCMU College. Perhaps it is because all twenty something nurses who graduated were women. Meanwhile, more men and women graduated as doctors of medicine.

On their part, officials at the Open University of Tanzania, Arusha Branch mentioned ability of the University to ensure that students finished their courses on time. Time to complete courses is of essence for students who study through distant learning programs.

The Open University of Tanzania is the only University that offers distant learning opportunities in the country. The University's Arusha Branch is located near the Arusha International Conference Center along the East African Road.

Officials were proud to announce during the 2012 Graduation ceremony that students who graduate from the Open University of Tanzania are properly educated because the University prevents cheating during examinations.

Officials prevent cheating during examinations by ensuring that students do not get opportunities to meet and collude with lectures or administrators during examinations.

Arguably, presentations at Graduation Ceremonies offer a basis for selecting good colleges in the absence of college ranking systems in Tanzania.

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