PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has directed the Ministry of Finance to allocate more funds to public universities and constituent colleges in a bid to address some of the longstanding challenges that afflict higher learning institutions.
"Budget allocations to the institutions have been decreasing every year. It is high time the trend was reversed," a statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communications, quoting the president said on Thursday.
Mr Kikwete made the remarks after a six-hour meeting with leaders of the institutions at State House. The officials were led by Prof. Remmy Assey of Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA).
The meeting was also attended by Vice-President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal and Chief Secretary Ombeni Sefue. "The additional funds should be used to improve infrastructure in the varsities. To start with, an assessment should be conducted to determine areas of priority and plans for implementation," he ordered.
Mr Kikwete also directed the Public Service Management Office in the President's Office in collaboration with leaders of the public varsities to review the scheme of service for professionals in the institutions and make improvements.
"Similarly, arrears owed to the academicians that have been approved should be settled in phases while efforts should also be done to verify the backlog that is yet to be approved," Mr Kikwete said. And unlike now where the institutions have to depend on the Public Service Recruitment Secretariat (PSRS) on staffing, the president wants public varsities and constituent colleges to hire staff on their own.
"The Public Service Management Office should also meet with leaders of the academicians to find solutions on areas of promotion and salary increment," the statement quoted President Kikwete as saying.
Also, the recent programme that was launched to build homes and loan them to public servants should include professionals from public institutions of learning.
According to the statement, Mr Kikwete urged public universities and constituent colleges with an adequate amount of land to consult with social security funds, which have members in the institutions, on the possibility of constructing staff houses in respective premises.
Mr Kikwete and leaders of the institutions have agreed to meet after three months to assess implementation of the directives, according to the statement.