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A Valedictory Message to the Mbeya University of Science and Technology (MUST)

CHALLENGES OF TRANSFORMING A TECHNICAL INSTITUTE  INTO A UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


A Valedictory Message to the Mbeya University of Science and Technology (MUST)


Let me begin by thanking the appointing authority for the unique opportunity availed to me to serve as Chancellor of the Mbeya University of Science and Technology from April 2014 to December 1018. Furthermore I congratulate, most sincerely, Honourable Pius Msekwa and Honourable Zakia Meghji upon their appointment as Chancellor and Chairperson of Council, respectively. I wish them all the best in their new role as principal overseers of the University.

Secondly, this address is meant to provide advice to the incoming leadership of the University based on the limited but exciting time I have had as the founding Chancellor of this young and emerging scientific and technological University. However, I am cautious about this prospect. For how can one offer advice to a veteran of higher education transformation and administration in the country? Pius Msekwa, the new Chancellor was the first Tanzanian Clerk of the National Assembly. He was the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam after its transformation from the University College of East Africa. Of late he has been Speaker of the National Assembly of the United Republic of Tanzania. Likewise Zakia Meghji, a lady of high integrity, has risen from humble begins in Zanzibar to become a District Commissioner, Regional Commissioner, Member of Parliament, and Minister. I have had the privilege of working with both of them in the service of the public. I have no doubt whatsoever  that MUST stands to benefit from their leadership.

By way of background, Mbeya University of Science and Technology (MUST) is the result of re-engineering and transformation of a technical college into a university. As such, some of its challenges could be unique to itself when compared to the development of a “greenfield” university. Mbeya Technical College (MTC) was established in 1986 as an institution directly under the Ministry responsible for education with a mandate to offer offer full technicians certificates and ordinary diplomas. MTC was officially launched on 1 September 1986. In 2002, MTC was transformed into Mbeya Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) under the National Council for Technical Education (NECTA) (Establishment) Order, No. 9 of 1997, with a mandate to cater for ordinary  diploma, advanced diploma, and Bachelor of Engineering degree levels MIST was transformed into a fully fledged University in accordance with  the Universities Act No 7 of 2005 and Mbeya University of Science and Technology  Charter 2013.

I was appointed Chancellor by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania under Section 5 of the University Act, No 7 of 2005, read together with Article 9 (1), (2) and (3) of the Charter establishing the Mbeya University of Science and Technology. Part V, section 34 of the University Act, No. 7 of 2005 states: A university shall be headed by a Chancellor or equivalent designation who shall have such functions as are conferred upon him by this Act. Section 35 reads:(1) The Chancellor of a public university shall be appointed by the President:- (a) from among a list of three candidates proposed by the council of a public university upon recommendation of search committees; (b) and upon such terms as the President may prescribe. Section 35 (3) specifies the qualities required of the Chancellor as (a)...a person of outstanding integrity, academic and administrative experience; who is mandated to (b)..., confer degrees, grant diplomas, and other certificates and awards of the university; and to (c) have such other non-executive functions and privileges as the President…..shall deem appropriate to provide under the relevant charter.

Article 9 of the Charter is informed by the Universities Act 2005. According to the Charter, the Chancellor is “the head of the University”. The responsibilities of the Chancellor are: to confer, in the name of the University, degrees, and grant diplomas, certificates and other awards.  Further, more responsibilities of the Chancellor of MUST are stipulated in the Mbeya University of Science and Technology (Rules) 2013. In accordance with section 3 subsection 5, the Chancellor has “...the right from time to time, to direct, an inspection of the University or an inquiry into teaching, research, consultancy or any other work of the University”. According to subsection 5(d), the Chancellor has the “ power to direct for visitation to the University and Constituent University college(s) in such a manner as may be appropriate or prescribed”. Subsection 5(e)  of the MUST Rules 2013 states “ the Chancellor shall provide advice and guidance to the Council as he or she may consider necessary for the betterment of the University.” 

It took me two years to study and to know the University, the boundaries and the environment in which I would operate as Chancellor. This critical time allowed me to formulate ideas that I would later share with the University community on what role I thought MUST could play and what the nation expects of MUST in the implementation of the Tanzania National Development Vision 2025.

Tanzania’s development aspiration as outlined in the Tanzania Development Vision 2025 is:
Transforming Tanzania into a middle-income country, imbued with five main national attributes:
a) High quality livelihood;
b) Peace, stability and unity;
c) Good governance;
d) A well educated and learning society; and
e) A competitive economy capable of producing sustainable growth and shared
benefits.

Other attributes include: Food self-sufficiency and food security; Universal primary education; the eradication of illiteracy and the attainment of a level of tertiary education and training that is commensurate with a critical mass of high quality human resources required to effectively respond and master the development challenges at all levels; Gender equality and the empowerment of women in all socio-economic and political relations and cultures; Access to quality primary health care for all; Access to quality reproductive health services for all individuals of appropriate ages; Reduction in infant and maternal mortality rates by three-quarters; Universal access to safe water; Life expectancy comparable to the level attained by typical middle income countries; and Absence of abject

I was lucky to have been one of those who crafted the National Vision 2025.

I shared my humble thoughts  to the University through an inaugural lecture, the third such a lecture to be given in Tanzania. The first inaugural lecture was given by the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere at the inauguration of the University of Dar es Salaam in 1970. The second was given by Benjamin William Mkapa when he became Chancellor of the University of Dodoma. My public lecture, delivered at MUST on 16  December 2016 in the aptly named Mwalimu Nyerere Hall, was titled:Science, Technology and Society: The Potential of Mbeya University of Science and Technology in Realizing the Goals of Vision 2025)  (http://www.markmwandosya.com/2017/08/chancellors-inaugural-lecture-by-prof.html). I summarize the salient points of my advice to the University community as follows:

  1. (1) The imperative on the part of the university to develop the requisite manpower and brainpower for the implementation of the National Development Vision 2015. On the role of the University in the development of a self reliant society I drew my advice largely from the seminal lecture delivered by the Late Mwalimu Nyerere at his inauguration as Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam in 1970.

  1. (2) The role the University in the development of the community immediate to its environs: My advice is for the University to involve itself in education, science and technology development for the benefit of the surrounding villages, wards, district, the City of Mbeya and the Southern Highlands Zone and Tanzania. It cannot afford to remain aloof of the challenges and aspirations of its immediate environment. To set an example, MUST, as a technological university has to rehabilitate its buildings and the campus infrastructure. The road from the Mbeya-Tunduma Highway into the University passes through the Ikuti heavily populated settlement. It is a rough 2 km road. Should a university of science and technology with a fully fledged department of civil engineering construction complain about the status of its infrastructure?. In order to implement the advice, the University Council has promulgated a policy on matters that cover consultancy on all matters related to construction, technology, engineering and other services and has formed a company, MIST Constructors Limited (MISTECO) with a view to implementing the policy.

  1. (3) Scientific and technological cooperation: As a sequel to the foregoing, MUST is advised to establish cooperation and collaboration with specialised scientific and technological institutions in Mbeya and its impact area. I had in mind  the possibility of MUST establishing a medical school in collaboration with the Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital. Discussions were initiated among the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital and MUST. However, it was decided by the Government that the University of Dar es Salaam should transfer its Medical School to Mbeya, with its base at the Zonal Referral Hospital. The Chancellor’s advice for MUST to establish a diploma and degree course on Biomedical Technology to complement medical training, is being implemented. There is a critical shortage of biomedical engineers and technicians in the country. India, through the Apollo Hospitals group and upon the request of the Chancellor, has assisted in the development the required curriculum. This link could in future prove useful in the training of the required expertise. In furtherance of cooperation and collaboration among institutions in Mbeya, MUST were advised and the Chancellor facilitated a meeting between heads of MUST and the Uyole Agricultural Institute. The idea is for MUST to establish studies on agricultural mechanization and agricultural engineering. It would be remiss if these two institutions were not to collaborate to improve agriculture which is the mainstay of the economy of the nation with the southern highlands being the bread basket. In this respect the Chancellor has discussed a related matter with the Director of Mechanization in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. The Ministry would be prepared to hand over to MUST, the Japan-funded  Mbarali Agricultural Mechanization Centre in Mbeya Region. During my inaugural lecture, I mooted the idea of MUST developing links with the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) with a view to establishing railway engineering training at MUST. The TAZARA railway and workshops in Mbeya would provide an ideal location for practical training. I have not been advised how far the advice has been taken. With the benefit of hindsight and foresight the advice was timely. For, the country is now implementing the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). No doubt qualified manpower will be a major challenge.

  1. (4) Cooperation and collaboration among higher learning institutions: The following national institutions have been established specifically to develop and promote science and technology in Tanzania. These include:  Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT); Arusha Technical College (ATC); Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST); National Institute of Transport (NIT); and Mbeya University of Science and Technology (MUST). There is wide scope for cooperation, collaboration and rationalization among these institutions in curriculum development, education and training, research and development and exchange of staff. I regard these institutions as Institutions of Technology Tanzania (ITTs). They could be re-engineered along the lines of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The government of emerging India had the foresight to establish  what are now world-class institutions which underpin the technological advance of India. ITTs could also benefit from common oversight and rationalization, while maintaining distinctiveness and academic freedom and independence. ITTs would also benefit from cooperation with IITs. In furtherance of this objective, the Chancellor, after a private visit to IIT-Hyderabad has facilitated contacts between IIT-Hyderabad and MUST which has resulted into a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions.

  1. (5) Cooperation and collaboration with international institutions: Knowledge, knowhow, education, and awareness know no geographical boundaries. Knowledge has always advanced when people who possess it have shared it. The Ivy League in the US, the Oxbridge and the redbrick universities in UK, and other renowned schools elsewhere in the world have benefitted immensely from cross-fertilization of ideas from external scholars. MUST and African universities could benefit from collaboration in research with funding agencies preferring to fund collaborative research. Whenever I had the opportunity to travel outside the country, on business other than MUST matters, I took it as my responsibility to visit universities of interest and to introduce MUST to the world. These institutions include, inter alia, the following: Adama University of Science and Technology (Ethiopia); University of Virginia (US); The University of the Mountains of the Moon, (Uganda); the National University of Science and Technology (Zimbabwe); Bindura University (Zimbabwe); the University of Rwanda (Rwanda); the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) Kigali (Rwanda); the University of Comoro (Comoro); and my alma mater,  the University of Aston and the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). By December 2018 MUST had established communication and had concluded  memorandum of understanding with a number of these institutions.

  1. (6) Cooperation with corporations, companies, and other corporate bodies: It is essential that university of science and technology establishes close links with government and private sector corporations and companies for three main reasons. Firstly, the curricula of science and technological universities is heavily practical. The assignment of students to these engineering companies and corporations requires evolution and nurturing of good relations between these entities and universities. Secondly, these companies employ and are prospective employers of the university product. Thirdly companies sometimes fund university programs, research assignments of interest, provide scholarships and fund student prizes. I have had the unenviable situation of working in public sector throughout, rising to senior positions,and creating links along the way. The relationships created stood me in good stead when I decided, as Chancellor to link MUST with a number of corporations and companies such as: the Tanzania Peoples Defence Forces (TPDC), the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA); the Universal Communication Access Fund (UCAF); the Rural Energy Agency ( REA); the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC); Millicom Tanzania (TIGO); Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA); and the Stanbic Bank (Tanzania) Ltd.

  1. (7) Chancellor's Fund for Women in Science, technology, Engineering and Mathematics: During my Inaugural Lecture in 2016 I bemoaned the large disparity in admission between female and male students in engineering, science and mathematics into tertiary education in Tanzania, citing the following statistics: For the academic year 2015/2016 female enrollment was 23%, 13%, 24% at ATC, DIT and MUST, respectively. The corresponding figures for female employment were 19%, 16%,  and 24%. NM-AIST fared better at 34%. Council and Management of the University were urge to reflect on the challenge and come up with a policy to encourage and promote women in STEM. Meanwhile the establishment of a Chancellor’s Fund for Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship was proposed by the Chancellor. The fund has been established. Its establishment has been received positively in many quarters. Some of the cooperating partners mentioned earlier on have donated to the fund financially and by way of equipment. Some have made  commitments to contribute. The Fund is managed and operationalized by an association of female members of staff. The fund is meant to provide scholarships to capable but financially stressed girls to pursue their studies at MUST. In addition, acting on the advice of the Chancellor, a program for visits to secondary schools in Mbeya Region, with a view to promoting STEM and girls in STEM has been initiated. This activity falls within the remit of the Chancellor’s Fund. In order to implement the advice and to direction and to mainstream gender in all core functions of the University including academic, research, consultancy and community outreach services, the University has in 2018, adopted a Gender Policy. 

  1. (8) Chancellor’s Lecture Series: The University is part of the wider society. No single university can claim to have the monopoly of knowledge. There are people outside the confines of the University who, upon invitation, are prepared to share knowledge and experience with staff, students and university community. It is in this context that the Chancellor advised the University to initiate a regular series of lectures to be given by prominent scholars and distinguished people from outside. The Chancellor’s Inaugural Lecture would be the first in the series. Lecture Number 2, titled Re-Engineering A University Under Constraints: The Mbeya University of Science and Technology, was delivered by Professor Matthew Laban Luhanga, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam on 14 December December 2018. The third lecture was to be given by Professor Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, former Chief of UN HABITAT, former Minister of Lands and now Member of Parliament for Muleba North. For unknown reasons, the lecture was cancelled or postponed last minute. Hopefully cancellation or postponement does not signify of the end of this important lecture series.

  1. (9) Honorary Degrees (Honoris Causa): It is in the tradition of universities the world over to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to universities and society through knowledge addition and/or expansion and through making life of societies better than it would otherwise be. In my Inaugural Lecture I advised and Council endorsed a proposal to formulate a policy that would guide the nomination of individuals for the award of an Honorary Doctorate of the Mbeya University of Science and Technology (Honoris Causa). The policy requires the setting up of a Nominations Committee which considers in detail candidates proposed for nomination. Its recommendations are forwarded to the Senate which after consideration are forwarded to Council. The Council considers the recommendations of the Senate and forwards its submission to the Chancellor who makes the final nomination. For 2018 Council recommended to the Chancellor three names of Tanzanians of outstanding qualities who have distinguished themselves in the service of engineering and engineering education. These are: Engineer Lt. Col. (Rtd) Joseph Simbakalia; Engineer Prof. Matthew Luhanga; and Engineer Prof. Awadhi Sadiki Mawenya. Considering his immense and pioneering contribution to engineering education, mindful of the fact that he was the first Tanzanian to attain a Doctorate degree in engineering, aware of the fact that he was also the first Tanzanian to be Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Dar es Salaam, mindful also that he was one of the founders of the Institution of Engineers Tanzania (IET), the Engineers Registration Board (ERB), founder member of the Tanzania Academy of Sciences (TAS), and founder member of the Front Against Corruption in the Engineering Industry in Tanzania (FACEIT), without any hesitation, the Chancellor nominated Eng. Prof. Awadhi Sadiki Mawenya for the award of Doctor of Technology (Honoris Causa), of the Mbeya University of Science and Technology (MUST).

  1. (10) Botanical Garden. MUST owns an area of 1001 hectares at the main campus in Iyunga, Mbeya and 48 hectares at its Kianda Campus, almost 230 km from Mbeya, near Sumbawanga in  Rukwa Region. It is planned to expand the Kianda Campus to 500 Ha in the future. Of the 1000 plus Ha of the main campus, while MUST holds title to all the land, nearly half of the land is still held by the villagers who are waiting to be compensated by MUST/Government. Needless to say the land is vast and should cater for the expansion of the university for over a century. Being near to the city, this land is prime. For now much of the land is fallow or is being farmed by the university community in smallholder lots. This is perhaps not the best utilization of university land. In order to avoid conflicts in the future and for the university to contribute to greenhouse gas mitigation and to protect the environment, it would be prudent to aforest much of the area and develop it as and when required. Otherwise there will be pressure on the land from various quarters For, nature abhors vacuum. The Chancellor has also proposed that University establishes a Botanical Garden to cater for indigenous plants, trees and flowers. Indigenous species of plants and trees are disappearing at a fast rate due to anthropogenic activities. It is essential that through such initiatives we preserve indigenous seeds and tree and plant species for the benefit of the present and future generations. The Tanzania Forestry Fund has agreed to contribute seed money to the tune of Tsh. 50 million to kickstart the initiative and the University has set aside 15 Ha. for the Botanical Garden. Should it succeed, the Botanical Garden could be the first of its kind to be established since independence.

Let me end by underscoring three key points which are in many ways in line with the aforestated.

Firstly, guidelines for changing or renewing the tenure of the leadership of a a public university in Tanzania emanate from Section 36 and Section 37 of the University Act, 2005 in respect of the Vice Chancellor and the Deputy Vice Chancellor and the Charter of the respective university. After assessing the leadership and management needs of the University generally, and specifically in the light of the transition from a technical college into a university of science and technology, Council proposed that there be changes of leadership at the management level. Towards the end of 2017 Council constituted a search committee, chaired by an appointee of the Chancellor, for the nomination of the Vice Chancellor and two Deputy Vice Chancellors responsible for academic affairs and finance and planning, respectively. The report of the Nominations Committee was forwarded to the Senate. After consideration by Senate, recommendations were forwarded to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in January 2018. Government rules require the Ministry submit the nominations together with its observations to the Office of the President for security and other clearances. The process can take long, as was in the case of MUST. The report from the Ministry  came back in November 2019 giving the University greenlight to make the appointments. The report from the Ministry was tabled in Council for noting and as finnaly forwarded to the Chancellor for appointment. In this regard the Chancellor appointed Prof. Aloys Mvuma from the University of Dodoma, Vice Chancellor; Prof. Godliving Mtui from the University of Dar es Salaam, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics and Research) and Prof. Justinian Anatory from the University of Dodoma, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance, Planning and Consultancy). This is a strong team. I have no doubt it will propel MUST to higher heights.

Secondly, the MUST lacks a library, one that would fit the description of a university library. The room used as a library has existed since the days the institution was a technical college in the early 80’s. A new library is being built. The Chancellor and the Chairperson of Council had the opportunity to take up the matter with the Permanent Secretary and the Minister for Education, Science and Technology with a view to requesting the unblocking and speeding up of government budgetary allocations for the library. Furthermore, the Chancellor has linked MUST management with the Tanzania (Government) Building Agency in order for the contractor to expedite the work upon being guaranteed payments by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. However, the Minister for Education, Science and Technology has advised institutions under the Ministry that the Government faces budgetary constraints across the board and as such they have to rely more on internally generated funds. MUST is advised to use funds generated from student fees, consultancy and other sources to complete the construction of the library. Once the construction of is completed, Management may wish to revisit the planned use of the library to take into account the fast changing nature of information technology. To set an example, the Chancellor has provided the University with 1032 academic e-books.

Thirdly, and lastly, let me share the following challenges with MUST and other ITTs:
  1. (1) According to the National Development Vision 2025, Tanzania aims to attain a middle income level status by 2025. As a strategy to achieve that goal, Tanzania has decided to industrialize. The world is now on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The role of MUST, ITTs and other universities is to offer candid advice to Government on how to industrialize and to prepare manpower and brainpower to underpin the development and use of cutting edge technologies. These include, inter alia, Nanotechnology, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, information technology including 5th generation wireless and Internet of Things, blockchain technology (Blockchain technology is a result a paper by an unknown Satoshi Nakamoto in his seminal paper: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System; that would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution)  and 3D Printing (collectively, cyber-physical systems, an interaction of digital, physical and biological systems). Otherwise Tanzania, and other African countries may find themselves immersed in the Second and Third Industrial Revolutions while the rest of the world is moving on.

  1. (2) The second challenge is more specific. In 2021 Tanzania will mark 60 years since independence. That point in the nation’s history should provide an opportunity to showcase what our scientists and engineers have been able to achieve. My considered advice is that we explore the possibility of designing and manufacturing a communication satellite and launching it using an Indian Rocket. I have discussed this possibility with the relevant Ministries. It has been positive and excitedly received. It would be an honour to Tanzania. ITT’s may wish to collaborate with relevant Ministries and other universities and institutions within and outside the country in order to implement this proposal. Those who may think the idea is far fetched may wish to know that some small satellites in India and elsewhere are being designed and manufactured by high school students. Many such satellites have been launched into space. In this regard, Rwanda is ahead of us. For it plans to launch a satellite into space in 2019.


To the students, the following words of advice are extended to you: Be interested in the subjects of your study and study hard and excel in whatever you do; Be inquisitive in seeking knowledge and truth; Be creative and analytical as you confront  personal and societal challenges; Be courageous in defense of what is right, and in what you believe in; Stand on the side of justice and against injustice; Be capable of making reasoned arguments, “argue don’t shout”, and as you do so rely on proven references; Balance your activities and adhere to adage advice, Mens sana in corpore sano; Exhibit integrity and patriotism in thought, word and deed as you prepare to serve your Nation. In abiding with these tenets, no doubt the Nation will extend its embrace, welcome you to its fold and hail: This is without doubt a product of MUST.

To the entire community of the University, work as one to improve the academic excellency of the University guided by the old African adage: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

I extend my most sincere thanks to the MUST community: Prof. Penina Mlama, the erstwhile Chairperson of Council; Dr. Amos Nungu, the Acting Chairperson of Council, Members of Council; Management; Lecturers, Instructors, Workers and Students; for the cooperation extended to me during my tenure as the founding Chancellor of the Mbeya University of Science and Technology. 

By way of closure, let me sincerely congratulate, once again, Mr. Pius Msekwa, Chancellor, and Ms Zakia Meghji, Chairperson of Council, upon their appointment to the stewardship of the University. 

I wish you all Godspeed in the work ahead.

Officium Supra se ipsum


Mark J. Mwandosya
Lufilyo
Busokelo
Rungwe District
January 2019



Copyright© 2017 Mark Mwandosya. All rights reserved

Comments

  1. What is amazing is that Prof. Mwandosya was a Chancellor at MUST for five years but he never solved any of the good issues he has addressed above during his reign. Could this be a snake wiring article?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read the valedictory carefully. It is about advice given at the beginning, what had been acted upon and the possible way into the future.

      Delete
  2. Hey Mark, just finished reading your farewell address to the MUST community. If adhered to, I have no doubt about the road to success for MUST. Thank you for your contribution to the importance of "learning" and the challenges of higher education in national development. Your voice, experience, critical analysis and vision should serve as a beacon for the government, and students at MUST. Thank you always for sharing. Remain inspired, the nation needs you
    BE well in aspects of your life. Walk in peace for a job well done. Joyce

    ReplyDelete
  3. Prof, after getting time to properly read your speech to MUST and digesting it, it was forceful and masterfully done with wise advise embedded in it. Thank you for sharing.
    Prof. Frederick Ringo

    ReplyDelete

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