Tuesday, April 4, 2017

TCU verifies students’ credentials to ascertain their admission status

In a bid to scrutinize proper admission status for students currently undertaking undergraduate courses, Tanzania Universities Commission (TCU) underwent a thorough investigation with a view to wipe out cheating on certificates or diplomas used as credentials for student’s admission at higher learning institutions in the country. The exercise by the TCU which took place in Sept 2016, had caused panic, uncertainties and anxiety that reigned among students and their parents at the risk of losing their admission status.  Score of parents and students blamed the commission for the delayed identification of the shortfall that put at risk the plight of about 8,000 students already admitted at various higher learning institutions in the country. TCU being the top most organ in the country is mandated to supervise and control students’ admissions pursuing various programmes in all higher learning institutions. The organ had demanded the already admitted students to prove their academic credentials or risk disqualification immediately. The commissioned ordered students put in suspicion and had appeared in their list to present their academic credentials to their Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic offices at a respective institution as instructed by TCU and failure to comply by the order would not be recognized. During that time, some students questioned the regulatory accreditation function of TCU, parents and guardians said the verification should have been done earlier to avoid inconveniencing especially students who are in their final year of studies. TCU’s Information Officer, Mr Edward Mkaku was quoted by the media as saying that, TCU had no intention of disqualifying any student in the list, rather to verify students admitted through TCU and National Council of Technical Education (NACTE), an organ that admits students pursuing courses at a level of Diploma. He said TCU launched a crackdown with a view to ascertain the legality of school certificates and diplomas used by students while applying for the admission to pursue undergraduate studies in various higher learning institutions in the country. It can be remembered that, the exercise was done following the exposure of unqualified students admitted to St Joseph University in Tanzania totaling about 480 in 2015/16 academic year.  The issue was exposed by the Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training Prof Joyce Ndalichako when he was winding up a debate in Parliament for her ministry’s budget estimates for the 2016/17 financial year.  The ministers’ announcement also aimed at clearing the air regarding the expulsion of the under qualified students who were being pitied by some members of parliament. The minister was giving clarification on the reported incident in which over 480 students were granted admission to pursue university education while some of them had not even been to high school or to any equivalent education level. The Minister claimed that, most of them were Form Four leavers with poor performance, yet the Higher Learning Students’ Loans board had issued them with loans amounting to millions of shillings. She further observed that since education cheating had been there for quite some time, obviously there might be a number of civil servants who assumed office undeservedly.  All the 480 students were discontinued indefinitely, and due to this the only advice the government gave was personal efforts by the students to seek proper educational procedures that could qualify them to resume classes at St Joseph University.

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