SCHOLARS have hailed the achievements attained by the government in various sectors but observed that there was still room for improvement in the fight against poverty and social services delivery.
The scholars noted that the country had especially done well in the education sector where enrolment rate in secondary schools had increased tremendously. Speaking during the symposium to reflect 51 years of independence at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in the city, Dr Kitila Mkumbo, said the students' enrolment rate is currently at 29 per cent behind Kenya with 32 per cent.
However, he said the government should introduce free secondary school education to increase the enrolment rate, saying the school dropout rate was on increase in rural areas because of lack of school fees. "We should borrow a leaf from our neighbours (Kenya) by introducing free education for secondary education in order to increase the enrolment rate," said the scholar.
He said the number of higher learning institutions has increased from one university (UDSM) during the independence to 40 institutions at present. But he said there was a need for the major improvement in entire education system to provide the country with graduates with self reliance mindset, saying the current system only prepares students to excel for the examinations.
"Our education system should prepare graduates to be curious instead of preparing them to pass the examinations," he said. Dr Mkumbo advised the government to invest heavily in education sector largely to prepare teachers and that failure to get advanced level of education should not be qualifications for one to become a teacher at primary and secondary schools.
Dr Haji Semboja said despite the fact that the country is endowed with the good number of natural resources, the sector contributes by only 4 per cent to the national income, saying the sector was contributing by 10 per cent during independence.
"We should embark on the vision to ensure that the sector contributes by between 15 and 20 per cent in future," he advised. He also said since 51 per cent of the entire land of East Africa is in the country, the government should introduce agriculture subject from kindergarten to higher learning institution for the country to feed the entire region.
"We are not poor as the developed countries claim but what we are lacking is knowledge to use the natural resources," he said. Prof Gaudence Mpangala said the good and visionary leadership of the country's first president, Julius Nyerere means that the country has a good foundation on which to forge ahead and prosper. He said as the country marks its independence celebrations, it is important to maintain peace and unity among people.