Professor Omari has written a lucid and interesting account of developments at the University of Dar es Salaam from which he draws some broadly-based conclusions.

He begins by exploring the background to the 1974 CCM decision to change university admission procedures: after 1974 only those with considerable work experience qualified for admission. One result was an older student population, less equipped in some ways to cope with traditional undergraduate courses Fairly quickly, modifications had to be made to science admissions. The issue of equity of access – especially of women – also had to be addressed Professor Oman remarks that the early cracks In sciences and for women students provided a hostile staff with ammunition to point out the flaws In the innovations, and that the exemptions again gave critics an opening to point out Inconsistencies He is pessimistic about the multiplier effect for decades to come of admitting poor students Into the Faculty. of Education.

Professor Oman comments on the powers of heads of state as chancellors of universities. This underlines the importance of getting right the relationship between the state and the university. This is a sensitive issue, as current events in the University of Zimbabwe demonstrate. There, new legislation on tertiary education has run into strongly expressed opposition from the university community and relations between the Ministry and the University are not good. Tanzania early realised that the university as a sovereignty symbol is both an asset and a liability. Professor Omari quotes President Nyerere (1985) “the effects of ambition clashing with the limitation of resources” and Nahdi (1987) on the University of Dar es Salaam as “a seething cauldron of militancy and radicalism and new ideas. Academics streamed from all over, looking for the revolutionary Mecca of their dream” He draws attention to the Incompatibility of ‘the Wish of the political elite for a subservient university, closely following and obeying party and government policies Without overt contradictions’ and ‘the culture of a university which had accumulated an international reputation for being at the centre of the developmental debate.’

Professor Omari quotes Cote, who wrote in 1973 that, of the three primary functions of a university (teaching, research and training), it is research which is the essence of scholarship and a necessary condition for the existence of a university. However, since then increasing stress has been placed on the vocational aspects as a fundamental part of university education. Perhaps, therefore, Professor Omari might have acknowledged that it is not only in developing countries that ‘the pressures on universities to redefine themselves so as to be more responsive, practical. … and the locus of change have been particularly severe.’ Professor Omari charts the course of the ‘University as a Workers’ Institution’. He criticises the lack of consultation with the university when the Party introduced changes in 1974. He makes the point that it is easier to innovate in a multi-university system. Tanzania – like most of Africa – has lacked the capacity of countries in the North.

The lessons of the Tanzanian experience do not all take the form of cautionary tales. There has been a growth of interest in university-sponsored work experience. Although Professor Omari finds no evidence that such experience if leading to a long delay between secondary and tertiary education, produces persons better equipped to play their role in national social and economic development, he concludes that the policy debate regarding the relationship between work experience and university education should not cease.
I do not wholly go along with professor Omari in his view that ‘university first-degree programmes take the form of liberal education designed to give broad analytical skills different from vocation-specific skills’ or that’ it is a misconception to conceive the role and objectives of universities in developing countries primarily from the perspective of specific skill training while they have multiple roles and functions to deserve the claim’. He suggests that other post-secondary institutions whilst being flexible enough to filter a few for university should prepare people for specific occupations. He shares with others the view that this would allow universities to concentrate on producing high-level personnel with broad, flexible, imaginative conceptual frameworks and attitudes consistent with management capabilities and tasks that would cut across sectoral confines. However, there are countries in Africa where the demand for people with such skills is beginning to be satisfied There are limits to the expansion of the public sector, and some of the future emphasis in African universities must be on producing people for self-employment.

For those who wish to follow the debate started by Professor Omari a stage further I recommend a study of the recent work on cost effectiveness and efficiency of universities by the Association of African Universities. Next year should see the production of a report by the Higher Education Working Group of the Donors to African Education that will cover in depth issues raised by Professor Omari as well as some of the more recent developments in African higher education than those brought out by the Tanzania case study.
John Theakstone

THE FACADE OF PRECISION IN EDUCATION DATA AND STATISTICS – A TROUBLING EXAMPLE FROM TANZANIA. Joel Samoff. Journal of modern African Studies. 29, 4 (1991). pp 669 – 689.

To the educational planner, the first essential on which to base any development or projects, is to have a firm and reliable base from which to start Two of these, namely a) the number of students in the system by grades; and b) the expenditures Involved, are examined by the writer of this article. Dealing first with educational statistics, the writer found some years back, that in one region in Tanzania (Kilimanjaro), “there were nearly twice as many children in primary schools as the official reports indicated”. An error of this magnitude when totalled by all regions, gives a completely false picture and could produce major distortions and misjudged development as a consequence.

Unfortunately, the writer does not develop these possibilities but concentrates the bulk of his theme on governmental expenditures on education. He then proceeds to demonstrate how widely differing conclusions can be drawn from identical pieces of data. His arguments and reasons are important and are worth summarising. To evaluate accurately how much is actually spent on education, the planner or developer must check whether :-

i) official financial figures deal with budgeted or actual expenditure;
ii) all expenditures by government are covered; some may be covered by local councils in addition;
iii) other voluntary bodies contribute, eg: churches or community groups;
iv) local currency values have changed over the periods being compared ;
v) the periods being compared are really comparable; and,
vi) the periods being used for comparative purposes are long enough to yield valid conclusions.

Having made these points, the second half of the article concentrates on showing exactly what has been happening to recurrent expenditures on education over the two decades in Tanzania as a whole. The overall conclusions reached are that a) official statistics must be treated with great caution; b) apparent changes must be watched over a longish (several year) period before public policy is changed and, c) pinpoint accuracy IS impossible (though often claimed) and only general trends are worth’ considering.

These are all valid points and are supplemented by the writer stressing that generalisation must be checked by on-the-spot sampling, because officialdom in the country’s capital may be ignorant of what is actually happening in the localities.

This last point was all too clearly discovered by your reviewer when he spent some days in the Mtwara region and found serious lack of co-ordination in more than one respect between locality and headquarters.
The article performs a valuable function in drawing attention to basic discrepancies and the need for careful qualification before generalisations are made. It concentrates over-heavily on recurrent expenditures to the neglect of other areas such as teacher qualification and supply, which are not mentioned. Greater emphasis could have been placed on the error liable to arise if the numbers and grades of pupils are inaccurate. However, overall, the article makes its points firmly, and alas, With validity
Bernard Braithwaite


This is a technical and academic article. You have to dig for them but the author has the right ideas. Much of what he says applies also to other industries, but the building materials industry is of special interest since we all use its products. The reporter’s themes are that:

a) In Tanzania there is excessive dependence on imports, and even locally produced building materials have a high import content.
b) local building materials industries are inefficient and high cost, so leading to low utilisation which makes matters worse; and,
c) import substitution alone is not the answer. Throughout the article the author tends to confuse two separate sectors. They both use building materials but there the resemblance ends. One is the large scale modern construction sector, and the other is the small scale traditional domestic sector.

To use the term “modern” defines the problem. The construction industry is truly traditional. Technology and design for large buildings are now world-wide. City centres everywhere are locked into this technology. Who can tell apart a skyline in America, Africa or Asia? Some of this building upwards is a necessity but some is merely fashion . Not all cities have space problems, yet many choose to build high mainly for reason of prestige. The other sector is domestic and local – essentially low rise as opposed to high, what we describe a ‘traditional’ People pay lip service to this but rarely build.

The essence of traditional styles the world over is to use local materials. But architects trained in high technology do not accept these limitations and involve their clients in expensive imports. And local people, building for themselves, copy what they see and also use imported products.

It was not always so. The author refers to colonial days and implies that Tanzanians were taught expensive habits. Yet in the 1920’s the Tanganyika PWD Issued a technical guide which became famous as “Longland’s Field Handbook”. As late as the 1950’s it was issued to all British Colonial Service Cadets, and It was recently reprinted by the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITOG) It had all the right ideas, advocating the use of local materials (because there were no others) and described how to improve their quality. It even encouraged Technological Co-operation among Developing Countries (TCDC), as now advocated by the United Nations, by quoting from Indian and West African equivalents.

As the author argues there is a need for education, training and guidance, and here the government should give a lead But it may be that government officials Will need to be re-educated first to understand that local is best. And the government must show support in its own building work. People copy what they see
It was unfortunate that the decade of African independence was the 1950’s and 60’s, when Soviet central planning appeared to be highly successful, and Western countries too had faith in the ability of governments to plan prosperity. Hence the series of problems experienced not only by Tanzania but familiar to Eastern and Western countries alike. Here they are described as:-

a) Excessive protection which has fostered uncompetitive behaviour;
b) Inefficient public sector industries;
c) State controlled monopolies;
d) Development determined by political rather than economic criteria; and,
e) Wage regulations raising the cost of unskilled labour, coupled with a lack of training creating skill shortages.

The author’s solutions are to:
– Remove barriers to growth and encourage local and small scale enterprise;
– Develop a building materials industry protected from eX1ernal suppliers but with effective internal competition to encourage productivity and innovation;
– Encourage the selection of appropriate technology; .
-Support small companies with technical services, including spare parts and repairs, and training for skills and management;
– Protect the environment
He becomes a little over-optimistic when he ends by writing about a regional export trade, but if his ideas were applied, the improvement within Tanzania would be reward enough.
Mel Crofton

Programme on BBC 2 at 8 p.m. on Sunday 3rd May 1992. Presented by David Attenborough.

Mpingo wood is the only possible material from which you can make clarinets The instrument makers at Buffet Crampon in Paris insist that this is so. Professional clarinettists, jazz and classical, agree.

Mpingo is African .Blackwood, Dalbergla melanoxylon, a small Leguminous tree of savannah woodland. It is now the traditional tree of Tanzania which is at the centre of its natural range To a reader familiar With trees In Britain I would describe its stature as resembling a hawthorn, inclined to be shrubby and crooked, and its leaves and flowers somewhat like the introduced Robinia or False Acacia. Its heartwood is at first sight black, though really grained in shades of very dark brown, contrasting with the light fawn outer sapwood.

The timber is described as the finest of all woods for carving fine detail. It can be machined almost like metal on a lathe, and the precise bore and fine screw threads that are worked in it are amazingly stable in the extremes of moisture and temperature to which a Wind Instrument is exposed. It is so dense that it sinks in water and so hard that the tools and the sculptor’s chisel – need constant re-sharpening Selected seasoned billets of the right size for woodwind instruments and keys and fingerboards of other Instruments are exported from Tanzania at 10,000 dollars per cubic metre.

You might expect a full forestry system to have developed around this tree – planting, weeding, thinning, pruning and harvesting in rotating compartments – but this is not so. It is more like hunting than forestry. The skill lies in finding the best trees in their native habitat. Poor specimens are quite common, good ones increasingly rare, and the journey to the sawmills can now be as much as 200 kilometres to keep up the rate of felling of 600 per week. The best trees are at least 60 years old and still only as thick as the waist of the woodcutter we saw felling One. Being so small a tree, awkwardly shaped, often cracked internally it is not surprising that the waste from the sawmills greatly exceeds the product in spite of the skill of the operators. “Ninety per cent of the tree” is not good enough for export.

To many in Tanzania the mpingo is known better for the “ebony” carvings which are the speciality of the Makonde people. A good tree would provide enough wood for a family to work with for six months, and make a living. A particularly intricate sculpture, perhaps fetching one hundred dollars in Dar es Salaam, could take one man the whole of six months to complete.

The message of the programme was that mpingo will soon be unobtainable if nothing is done about its proper management, and that the importers should invest money in the necessary research and development.

One man, at least, is trying to do something about it: Sebastian Chuwa, a Tanzanian botanist. He now has 2,000 seedlings growing in pots in various locations by courtesy of his friends around Dar es Salaam. Starting from scratch, he must have a formidable task ahead. It takes a long time to experiment with trees, and the final proof that you have been doing the right thing only comes when they reach commercial dimensions. Sebastian Chuwa’s plan is to grow the trees in their natural habitat complete with their usual associated plant communities. The experimental areas would need protection against the increasing encroachment into savannah woodland by the ‘slash-and-burn’ agriculture of the increasing human population, in fact it would have to be recognised as a resource by and for the local communities. The loss of mpingo at present is being hastened by excessive burning that destroys the seedlings before they develop the protective bark that makes older savannah trees fireproof against moderate grass fires.

The success of Chuwa’s work will depend on many other people. The ultimate production of sound timber with less waste starts right now with seed selection and control of growing conditions. Perhaps biotechnology can help in genetics and vegetative multiplication. It all costs money, but it is a resource that Tanzania must not lose.
John Leonhardt

. Yassin Membar. Publisher Tanzania Youth Democratic Movement. 16, Maddock Way, London, SE 17. £4.50.

‘A questionable new type of book has appeared: the skyjacker autobiography’. So began an item in the July 23 issue of the DAILY TELEGRAPH which was describing how, ten years after the author had been arrested at Stanstead airport, having hijacked (with four other young men) an internal flight from his native Tanzania, he had now burst into print with an account of the adventure. And adventure it seems to have been. They were armed with two wooden grenades and half a dozen waxed candles wrapped in wire and brown paper. As the author says: ‘It was one of the great ironies of the whole affair that, once in control of the plane, our search of passengers turned up a real handgun brought on board by one of the passengers for his own protection !” This gun subsequently went off, accidentally it was claimed, and slightly injured the co-pilot.
The plane landed at Nairobi, Jeddah, Athens and Rome before the crew were eventually arrested and, after receiving much help from former Tanzanian Foreign Minister, Oscar Kambona, were sentenced to relatively light terms of imprisonment in Britain.

The book or booklet – there are only 28 pages of text about the actual hijacking and subsequent time in prison – is disappointing. It tells us little beyond what is in the newspaper cuttings of the time which are included in the book. Nothing about the character and personalities of the hijackers; how their political activities in Tanzania drove them to take such drastic action; little about the precise nature of the Kambona intervention and the Government’s reaction to it; even less about an apparent coup d’etat which was being planned; and who was the ‘spy’ in the British prison? The mystery about the Captain of the plane and his part in the hijacking remains a mystery.

The author does write about his emotions on leaving Wormwood Scrubs: “This was a hateful place. A squalid Victorian hovel. Yet there I was, lump in the throat and tears in my eyes as I read the ‘Best Wishes’ cards …. and shook the hands of fellow inmates who I would never see again”- D R B.

WILDE TALES FROM AFRICA Jack K. H. Wilde. Castle Cary Press, Somerset. £5.95 plus £100 postage and packing.

Jack Wilde, described in Professor Brockleby’s introduction to this highly entertaining book of reminiscences as an ‘extrovert personality with a sense of humour’, spent several years In Mpwapwa working as a veterinary officer. Despite the remoteness of his station and the absence of the many comforts and facilities we now take for granted, Jack Wilde does, indeed, emerge from the pages of the book as a likeable, amusing and very life-loving individual

Thrust, like so many young men of the time, into considerable responsibility – the running of a veterinary laboratory and the overseeing of large numbers of men and their huge cattle herds – he soon seems to have taken to the work and, despite the undoubted difficulties and occasional poor health, he writes of the pleasures and sheer fun of the place and the job, barely mentioning the frustrations and the disappointments

He was Joined for his second tour by his Wife. She, poor woman, suspected that her husband was responsible for the vile odours in his bedroom when in fact it was the remarkably flatulent dog under the bed.
Inevitably, wild life features in the book There are also the usual scary snake stories – a ‘dead’ cobra suddenly coming to life in the living room – and once Wilde was tossed by a bull His African staff used to sing of him as ‘Bwana Waildi who was banged up the arse by a bull’.

At the end he describes his painful ascent of Kilimanjaro and even more painful meeting with an American religious crank who believed that Hitler had been sent by God. Fortunately, by a strange coincidence, the two men met years later in the Ngorongoro Crater and the American had modified his views. Perhaps Wilde’s arguments and sheer warmth had had a part in the conversion. Certainly one would have liked to work with a man whose enthusiasm and sense of the ridiculous side of life never seemed to flag.
Peter Barratt


ISSUES IN AFRICAN RURAL DEVELOPMENT 1991. Editors C R Doss and C Olson. Winrock International I nstitute for Agricultural Development 1991. Four of the 24 articles in this book concern Tanzania and cover such specialised topics as the economics of tractor use,mobile saw milling and village forestry

DEVELOPING INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY TO MEET THE HOUSING NEEDS OF THE URBAN POOR. Carole Rakodi. Cities. August 1991 . pp 228-243. Sites and services and upgrading projects have been implemented in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia mostly with World Bank assistance. The paper analyses the extent to which the components and institutional mechanisms developed during these projects have been sustainable.

BRITISH OVERSEAS AI D. 1991 Annual Review. Overseas Development Administration.
This lavishly illustrated book includes comparative figures of aid provided to 140 countries in 1991 . In Africa, Kenya was the largest recipient (£44 million) and Malawi came second (£37 million). Tanzania was sixth (£23 million) but it was by far the largest recipient of debt relief (totalling £7 million) amongst African countries.

RETHINKING THE ARUSHA DECLARATION. Edited by Jeanette Hartmann. Centre for Development Research . Copenhagen. 1991.
This book is a collection of articles which were first presented at a conference in Oar es Salaam in December 1986 but also contains eight articles commissioned later. (It is understood that the editor of these papers died in Norway on May 2nd 1992 during leave of absence from her post as Senior Lecturer in the University of Dar es Salaam – Editor)

FIFTY YEARS OF AGRICULTURAL TRAINING AT MATI, UKIRIGURU. 1939 -1989. AS Mosha, E 0 M Mlay. A K K Ibrahim, J R K M Mayanja and T B Mnyema Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Cooperatives. 1990.
This book is a half-century account of Tanzania’s first agricultural training Institution – the Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute (MATI) . Ukiriguru, whose origins go back to 1931 when a Mr. WC Clarke. Agricultural Assistant, pitched his tent on the site and established a seed farm there.

POST ABOLISHED. Laetlcia Mukurasi. The Women’s Press. 1991 . £15. 00 This is an autobiographical account of the author’s two-year struggle to protect her employment rights after she was the only woman and the only manager to lose her job during a redundancy exercise at Fibreboards Africa Ltd. She was eventually reinstated after being replaced by an expatriate on eight times her salary.

This vast 700- page book contains 6,159 items, each with a summary of the key words. Items vary from a Brazilian paper on Tanzanian coffee dated 1927 to a paper on plant nematode pests of bananas dated 1986.

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS, OUTPUT AND PRICES IN TANZANIA. A Sepheri. World Development. Vol. 20. No. 2. 1992.
This paper examines the relationship between changes in international reserves and in output, prices and monetary balances from 1962 to 1986.

TACKLlNG OBSTACLES TO HEALTH CARE DELIVER Y AT DISTRICT LEVEL. A M Ahmed, E Mung’ong’o and E Massawe. World Health Forum . Vol. 12. 1991 . . pp 483-488.
Low staff motivation is the main problem limiting the quality of health care according to this survey undertaken in the urban district of Dodoma and the main problems in the rural areas are poor transport and poor supervision. The survey covered six urban dispensaries and two health centres and three health centres and three dispensaries in the rural areas.

MUST DIABETES BE A FATAL DISEASE IN AFRICA? STUDY OF COSTS OF TREATMENT. S S Chale, A B M Swai, P Myinga, 0 G Mc Larty. British Medical Journal. VoL 304. 1992. pp 1215-1218.
This concisely written study of over 900 patients at Muhimbili Medical Centre, Dar es Salaam determined that the average annual cost of diabetes care in 1989-90 was $287 per patient requiring insulin and $1 03 for a patient not requiring insulin. Thus around 0.2% of the population aged 15 years and over used the equivalent of 8% of the total government health expenditure, which was $47,408,382. The paper concludes ‘Diabetes places a heavy strain on the limited resources of developing countries If African patients with diabetes have to pay for their treatment, most Will be unable to do so and Will die .’

This paper evaluates the performance of small and large grain milling techniques based on data from 49 maize and 16 rice milling units. The author demonstrates the economic Viability of the small-scale custom milling sector and is encouraged by the restoration of cooperatives which could operate such machinery and thus reduce the monopoly power of the National Milling Corporation In terms of access to raw grain. He is critical of the marked differences in milling machine characteristics which have evolved In Tanzania over the years.

CONSERVATION AND BIODIVERSITY OF LAKE TANGANYIKA F C Roest Bulletin of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation. Netherlands.
This report is a follow-up to a seminar held in Burundi in March 1991 which listed the dangers – excessive suspended sediment following clearing of 40 – 100% of the surrounding forest land, overfishing and pollution – and makes recommendations on possible improvements.


Mr MICHAEL BALL, an ecologist, recently spent 26 months as an Agricultural Extension Officer in Nzega, Tabora Region.

Mr PETER BARRATT has been a Lecturer in English in three countries of Africa – Malawi, Rhodesia (as it then was) and Swaziland.

Mr BERNARD BRAITHWAITE has served as Chief Education Officer (East Sussex), Director of Education (Bahamas) and as an Education Planner in the World Bank. In 1979 he advised on improving basic education in Tanzania.

Mr ROGER CARTER is Vice President of the Britain-Tanzania Society.

Mr MEL CROFTON was, until recently, Industrial Training Advisor in the British Council. He has visited Tanzania several times in connection with transportation projects.

Ms JUDITH HOLLAND was a VSO teacher in mathematics in Tabora 23 years ago. For many years she organised the Britain-Tanzania Society seminars; she plans to re-visit Tanzania in November.

Mr JOHN LEONHARDT who works at a field studies centre in Hertfordshire was in Tanzania as a biology teacher from 1965 to 1969.

Mr JOHN THEAKSTONE is Head of the Africa Section of the Higher Education Department of the British Council.

Mr PETER YEO who works at the International Cooperative College, Loughborough, was a District Officer and Regional Local Courts Officer in Tanzania until 1964. His book ‘Cooperative Law in Practice’ was published in 1989 by Holyoake Press.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.