Serengeti — OVER 80 secondary school students living in Serengeti are annually sponsored by Singita Grumeti Reserves.
The Community Outreach Programme Coordinator, Mr Richard Ndaskoi, explained the sponsorship programme to the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki, who was in the region to inspect community development projects.
Mr Ndaskoi said: "We want students to acquire the required level of education and skills to secure employment at the Reserve as well as other institutions. He pointed out that the English language is one of major challenges facing youths who have completed their secondary school education.
The scholarships offered by the Reserves are; hospitality, conservation, English Language and vocational training. He explained that Singita Grumeti Reserve sponsors students in private universities and higher learning institutes because their average marks are low and not competitive enough for the public universities.
Mr Ndaskoi who is on the recruitment team explained that the Reserve faces a major challenge during interviews as prospective Tanzanian employers fail to express themselves in fluently in English. "Being able to express yourself in English is very important in the hospitality industry, as staff interact with foreigners on daily basis at the hotel and during safaris," he explained.
The Managing Director, Grumeti Fund, Mr Brian Harris, said the Reserve has a policy that requires them to recruit from local communities living around the Reserve. Due to the lack of required skills, the Resreve has decided to sponsor students who have finished secondary school to university level.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki, said community projects being implemented by the investor show they have good intention and are in line with government's developmental plans. Ambassador Kagasheki commended Singita Grumeti Reserves noting that few investors would take trouble to provide such scholarships.
The Minister underscored the importance of English language, especially in the hospitality business. He noted that being a member of the East African Community (EAC), Tanzania needs to put emphasis on both languages to ensure locals compete at the same level with other EAC member states.
"English is the language of business in the world, we need to rethink our steps so we do not lag behind. Already Rwanda which was a predominantly French speaking country has turned to English," he added.