Higher education students in Tanzania are still finding it hard to adapt to the user-pay system in which they have to directly pay for the costs of university education. Under the Higher Education Sponsorship Loans Board (HESLB) arrangements, the government offers only 60 per cent scholarship to qualified students. Students are required to pay the remaining 40 per cent.
Recently, University of Dar Es Salaam students went on strike demanding 100 per cent government stipend for their studies and additional allowances. University of Dar Es Salaam (UDSM) students claim that most students are unable to pay the remaining 40 per cent of their fees.
Following that two-day strike, the University board suspended all undergraduate students and imposed conditions that all students who want to return must pay the required fee in full before resuming studies.
Ni mwaka 2007, na siyo miaka ya 1960's au 1970's na hata 1980's. Na wajue maisha ni magumu duniani pote. Hata hapa USA kama huna full scholarship utafanya kazi mbili tatu, huko unasoma ili kuweza kumudu fees. Wenye wazazi wanaoweza kuwalipia ‘full’ ni wachache sana ukilinganisha na idadi ya wanafunzi. Wanafunzi wengi wanasoma kwa mchanganyo wa mikopo, grants, scholarships na kazi.
In her follow up post, she posts her readers’ comments. Some outrightly reject students’ demands while others sympathise with them.
Muhidin Issa Michuzi documents sequence of events as they unfold at UDSM. And again, readers’ opinions vary from those who favour user-pay education system as practiced in most Western countries to those who favour full government sponsorship for higher education students as it used to be during the times of Ujamaa:
Kwa kweli nijitahidi kufikiria kama haya baadhi ya maoni humu ndani yameandikwa na Watanzania au Watanza-European, au Watanza-American, kwa kweli ni aibu kubwa sana kwa baadhi ya maoni hayo.
Hivi kwa vile ninyi mko nje au mna uwezo wa kifedha ndio mnafikiri kila mtanzania yuko hivyo? Hata hamjui world bank records zinasema vipi kuhusu average income per capita ya Tanzania ni U$350.00 (kumbuka ni kwa mwaka mzima), ambayo ina maana Mtanzania kwa wastani anaishi for less than a dollar per day?
Pamoja na kuwa na ukweli kwamba baadhi ya hawa wanafunzi wazazi na walezi wao wanaweza kulipa hiyo Tshs.800,000/-, lakini nina imani wengi tu hawana uwezo wa kulipa kiwango hicho, na sasa wanaambiwa walipe kwa muda usiozidi wiki mbili kutokea sasa, kwa kweli serikali yetu imelewa madaraka na labda huu ndio utakuwa mwanzo wa watu kuanza kuchallenge ahadi za wanasiasa, nanukuu, ” hakuna mtoto wa maskini ambaye atasimamishwa au kuachishwa masomo kwa kuwa hana fedha za kulipia ada” Jakaya Kikwete kwenye moja ya hotuba zake kuhusiana na maswala ya elimu bongo.
Kama nilivyosema hapo siku za nyuma, HUU NDIO MWANZO WA TANZANIA KUJENGA MATABAKA… Mungu ibariki Tanzania….
Just because you are living abroad and you are financially secure, you assume that every Tanzanian is in your position. You don’t even know what the World Bank records say about Tanzania's average income per capita – it is only US$350.00 (mind you this is the annual income) which means an average tanzanian lives on less than a dollar a day.
Even though some parents can afford to pay Tshs.800,000/- [626 USD], I believe that most of them cannot afford. And now they are asked to pay that sum in less than two weeks. Our government is drunk with power and perhaps people will start to challenge politician's promises. I quote “No child from a poor family will either be suspended or expelled because of lack of fees” said President Jakaya kikwete in one of his speeches addressing educational issues in Tanzania.
Like I said before, this is the beginning of creation of classes in Tanzania… God bless Tanzania…
Huu ni mfano mmoja kati ya mingi sana nchini mwetu. Hivi ndivyo tunavyoiandaa Tanzania ya leo. Ewe raisi wa nchi,ewe waziri, ewe kiongozi,ewe mwananchi mwenzangu,unajisikiaje kuona hali kama hii? Nini thamani ya uongozi wako?…
In his follow up post, he offers a solution:
Tufanye nini? Hili ndilo swali ambalo hatuna budi kusaidiana kulijibu kwa pamoja. Jambo la kwanza ambalo naamini tunaweza kulifanya ni kutochoka kuhoji,kukemea na kusaidia kwa kutoa mchango wetu wa hali na mali. Tusiishie kuandika tu huku kwenye mitandao na wakati mwingine kutupiana lawama hata miongoni mwetu sisi wenyewe.Jambo moja ambalo ni muhimu sana ni kumuuliza mbunge kwa mfano wa jimbo hilo la Morogoro Kusini Hamza Abdallah Mwenegoha kwanini hali katika jimbo lake ni ya kukatisha tamaa na kutia aibu kwa kiwango kile? Binafsi nimeshafanya hivyo kwa kumuandikia barua pepe nikiambatanisha picha ile na kuhoji kwa kina,kulikoni? Ingawa bado sijapata majibu na pengine sitopata majibu kamwe nina uhakika kwamba ujumbe umemfikia na hivyo atatambua kwamba dunia inamtizama. Ukipenda kumtumia barua pepe pia unaweza kwa kutumia anuani ya firstname.lastname@example.org
Usiishie kwa Mwenegoha peke yake bali pia mbunge wa jimbo lako, kule utokako au kule ilipo familia yako,asili yako nk. Kwa bahati nzuri anuani za barua-pepe,simu za nyumbani, za ofisini, za kiganjani za wabunge wetu zimeorodheshwa katika tovuti ya Bunge la Jamhuri ya Muungano Tanzania.
Do not stop there, you can also do the same to your MP. Luckily, members of parliament emails, their homes and office telephone numbers, their mobile phone numbers are all available at the parliament of United Republic of Tanzania Website.
While Jeff encourages his readers to write directly to members of parliament, Ndesanjo takes a look at digital tools for activists. He cites online media, blogging and SMS technologies as the latest weapons in the African activists’ arsenal to fight for political, economical or social change. He gives an example of Zimbabwe where one Zimbabwe's online publication Zimdaily has started a campaign of naming all of government officials children living abroad, replete with their work, college or residence addresses. The logic of the campaign being “if you hate the West that much why send your children there?”.
Ndesanjo asks his readers for their views on this particular strategy that Zimdaily is using to fight the current Zimbabwe's government. His readers have expressed divergent opinions on the matter:
… Ni kweli si vizuri kuwapakazia watoto makosa ya wazazi, lakini mzazi anapoielezea dunia kwamba hazihitaji au hazipendi nchi za magharibi ilhali anapeleka familia yake huko huko, ni unafiki uliopita kipimo.
Nadhani wananchi wa Zimbabwe wanajaribu kuwaanika viongozi na familia zao (ambao vile vile ni wala matunda ya mfumo mbovu), kuonesha kwamba “you have to mean what you say”.
I think Zimbabweans are trying to tell their leaders and their families (who are the beneficiaries of a corrupt/faulty system), that “you have to mean what you say”.
While another reader does not think that this strategy will affect the targeted group:
… lakini si siasa safi kuweka picha na anuani za vijana hao kwenye tovuti. Wangeweza kuwasialiana na serikali za nchi hizo kimya kimya. Labda waneweza kuongelea hilo swala na kueleza sababu zao bila kutoa picha na anuani za watu hao. Na hata kama hao watu wakirudi Zimbabwe, hawatapata shida kabisa, wataendelea tu kula pesa hizo hizo za wizi.
… it is not fair to expose those young people's addresses. They could have consulted with the Western governments where those kids are residing. And even if those people were to be returned to Zimbabwe they would not suffer, instead they would continue to live a privileged life.
On development and mobile phones in Africa, Ndesanjo writes:
Matumizi ya SMS na simu za kiganjani kwa ujumla kwenye harakati na hata shughuli nyingine za maendeleo kama vile kilimo, masoko, biashara, afya, na elimu yanapanuka siku hadi siku. Hakuna teknolojia ambayo ni rahisi kupatikana na kutumika kama simu za mkono kwa nchi za Afrika ambazo zina mtandao mdogo sana wa simu za nyumbani. Simu za viganjani ndio zitakuja kuwa chombo kikubwa cha watu wa kawaida kuingia kwenye zama za habari na mawasiliano. Sio kompyuta za mezani au za mapajani. Kompyuta zao zitakuwa ndani ya simu zao.
He cites M-Pesa as a good example of the use of mobile technologies for development. M-Pesa is a new service that allows members of the public to transfer money using SMS.
Maitha, who blogs at Mawazo na Mawaidha, writes about M-Pesa and open source movement in Kenya. Recently, he, used M-Pesa service. He points out an incorrect Swahili phrase used by the service and wonders why they did not consult a Swahili linguist.
He posts links to three Kenyan websites dedicated to the promotion of open source software. He believes that the websites will contribute to the growth of open source movement in Kenya.