Higher Institution Education and Entrepreneurial Knowledge Acquisition of Graduates in Tanzania

By Mwantimwa, Kelefa | Current Politics and Economics of Africa, April 1, 2019 | Go to article overview

Higher Institution Education and Entrepreneurial Knowledge Acquisition of Graduates in Tanzania


Mwantimwa, Kelefa, Current Politics and Economics of Africa


INTRODUCTION

As observed by International Labour Organisation [ILO] (2007), job markets in many developing countries are unable to accommodate the expanding pool of skilled young graduates. Tanzania, being one of those countries, is experiencing an increase in the number of young university graduates who can no longer be accommodated by job markets. Ngalomba (2013) found that about 700,000 young graduates in Tanzania enter the job market; however, only 40,000 of them find jobs in formal sectors, therefore leaving majority (94.3%) not employed in such sectors hence raising the question of where they end up. In that regard, Mwasalwiba (2012) noted that majority of graduates end up settling for profiled temporal jobs while some join the informal sector.

As widely reported, this long standing challenge faced by the government of the United Republic of Tanzania (see Mangasini, 2015; Kushner, 2013; Mwasalwiba, 2012; Olomi, 2009; Wara et al., 2007) is more acute among people with ages between 15 and 34 years, with those in urban areas being severely affected (Youth Employment Decade [YED], 2015). The problem continues to grow as the public and private sectors' capacities to absorb new entrants into the labour market continue to be limited (Mangasini & Gabagambi, 2015). Worse still, the nation has recently seen a massive increase in formal education enrollment which is making the already critical youth unemployment problem more acute. Confirming this aggravation, Wara et al. (2007: 165) comments that "it is disappointing to observe that the unprecedented expansion of investment in youths' education in many regions has not been accompanied by with necessary changes in the employment sector". Even more appalling is the fact that young graduates' transition from college to business entrepreneurial activities remains insignificant (Olomi, Charles & Mori, 2013) hence the deepening cries of lack of jobs in the country. In this situation, one cannot help but wonder if the higher learning institutions are sufficiently integrating entrepreneurship knowledge in their curricula so as to equip and motivate students to become business entrepreneurs.

In fact, the dearth of studies showing a clear picture on efforts made by Tanzanian higher education institutions to enhance graduates' acquisition of entrepreneurial knowledge leaves the status of this issue unclear. For instance, studies to examine barriers Tanzanian graduates face in acquiring such knowledge are very limited. As a result, details regarding the types of entrepreneurial knowledge students acquire, how it is acquired; its relevance; and barriers faced in doing so remain scant. Considering the value of such details to planners and decision makers, this chapter attempts to examineTanzanian students' acquisition of the knowledge.

HIGHER LEARNING INSTITUTIONS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

The United Republic of Tanzania (URT) has made and continues to make concerted efforts in the education sector. Remarkably, the Government has integrated entrepreneurship education in vocational and higher learning institutions. However, tracing the roots of this integration brings more confusion than clarity. While some authors (e.g., National Council for Technical Education [NACTE], 2015; Mwasalwiba, 2012) connect the introduction of entrepreneurship education to a political philosophy of 'socialism' and 'education for self reliance'which came into being in 1968, others (Valerio et al., 2014; Fulgence, 2015; Olomi, 2009) link it to trade liberalisation, privatisation of parastatals, and retreachment of workers that happened in the mid 1980s. In fact, the main motive behind 'education for self reliance', which became a philosophical foundation for Tanzania's education system, was to match education with work demands as a strategy for strengthening socio-economic growth in the country. Regarding the philosophy, NACTE (2015: 2) summarises that "education for self reliance philosophy entails that while pursuing education at any level, a learner should be equipped with relevant work skills to enable them to contribute meaningfully in society by doing legitimate work either as self-employed or employed worker". …

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