Arusha — PRIME Minister Mizengo Pinda has called on private firms, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals to start contributing funds aimed at supporting local students pursue higher education.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa, the premier pointed out that as more scholars get enrolled into higher learning institutions, the number of students who miss grants from the Higher Education Students' Loan Board (HESLB) continues to rise, surpassing the government's capabilities.
Mr Pinda's statement was read during the 9th Graduation Ceremony of the Mount Meru University College in Ngaramtoni area of Arusha-Rural District, over the weekend, where it was revealed that the state was still working hard to improve HESLB services, but unless private companies and the general public assist, the good intentions may not succeed.
"While it is of paramount concern that all students qualified for higher education get enrolled to universities, the government is also working to improve learning in high schools, vocational training and primary and secondary education, the state gets overwhelmed to the extent of now seeking support from the public," he said.
"Many Tanzanians have shown potential in undertaking higher education in local as well as international universities, it is now left upon the entire society to assist them in pursuing their goals through all available means," he noted.
On his part, the Vice- Chancellor for Mount Meru University, Prof Harrison Olangí stated that in the past ten years since it was upgraded to university status, the number of students at the institution has risen from the founding 50 to the current 2,010 in 2013.
A total of 570 students graduated during the occasion which was held at the university's campus along Arusha- Namanga road over the weekend. According to the Vice- Chancellor, MMU students have also been benefitting from grants from HESLB, explaining that between 2006 and 2012 the institution received loans amounting to 6.4 bil/- that covered fees and text books, among other expenses