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Education is a key factor in developing society in Tanzania

Dr. Perpetua Kalimasi from Morogoro, Tanzania, is at present staying as a visiting lecturer at the University of Tampere School Of Education. She comes from the Mzumbe university. Her stay is part of the ReWell project. In Tampere the project is coordinated by Professor Anja Heikkinen.

Photo © Päivi Svärd

During her stay in Tampere Dr. Kalimasi teaches as a visiting lecturer at the School of Education and supervises and guides students with their theses both in Finland and in Tanzania. The theses deal with curriculum processes of the participating universities and regional adult and vocational education institutes.

The relationship of Dr. Kalimasi to the University of Tampere dates several years back, with her intention to study in the Faculty of Education of the University of Tampere. She came to know Professor Anja Heikkinen, who later acted as the second supervisor of her Doctoral Thesis. She did not get the scholarship she was aiming for back then, but the collaboration continued during many visits, international conferences and through the networks of vocational and adult education research. The result of this collaboration is the ReWell project that started in 2014.

Dr. Kalimasi did her Bachelor Degree in Education Studies and Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Finance. After completing her studies she was employed by the Mzumbe University Students Services and her daily work was related to student affairs from career guidance to welfare matters, health and sports. As the University of Mzumbe established a Department of Education and was recruiting teachers with a background in both education and finance, Dr. Kalimasi became a teacher of education. The Doctoral Thesis of Dr. Kalimasi is connected to the role and responsibilities of universities in solving problems of the society: the research deals with the role of universities in integrating entrepreneurial education across disciplines so that graduates can cope with the global challenges and labour market dynamics.

Dr. Kalimasi is now the Head of Department of Education Foundations and Teaching at the Mzumbe University.

The challenges of developing education in Tanzania

According to Dr. Kalimasi, the challenge of the education in Tanzania is developing adult and vocational education. Only few young people have the capacity to continue their studies after basic education. Another area that needs to be developed is higher education and especially teacher education, so that the quality of adult and vocational education can be improved. Adult and vocational education are key factors in developing the economy and society of Tanzania. Education helps people to help themselves and improve their circumstances in life.

The Mzumbe University is a boarding school with both students and staff working long hours from seven in the morning to seven in the evening. The students or their parents pay for the semester fees and other costs that are rising all the time. Students complete their studies and graduate quickly to avoid the costs rising even higher.

Dr. Kalimasi says the high costs of study are a problem especially for the adult students. Many adults would be willing to continue to master’s programmes but are not able to do so, being responsible for their jobs and having a family to support.

Dr. Kalimasi does not consider her own work too stressful but she is concerned with having too little time to spend with her family. For example marking exams often takes time from dawn to dusk, including weekends.

In the future, Dr. Kalimasi hopes the collaboration with the University of Tampere could continue. It is important to develop of the staff of the Mzumbe University, and the student and staff exchange is an excellent tool to do that. In exchange one does not learn only about the Finnish culture and education but about other countries and cultures as well.

Text: Anja Heikkinen and Päivi Svärd

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Muutettu: 17.3.2015 13.31 Muokkaa

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