Vocational Education and Skills Training in Mainland Tanzania for National Development: A Review of the Literature from a Historical Perspective
The development of any country Tanzania included depends on availability and effective utilization of human resources, which in turn are predicated on the level, quantity and quality of education, especially vocational and
technical education and skills attained through formal and informal education, living and working contexts which have the role of improving productivity and enhancing per-capita income of the individual and the nation at large. Human resources transform the economy as well as the society itself through wealth creation and value added to primary produce. Vocational training develops skills of the individual human being culminating into the accumulated knowledge and technical skills that are needed for national development. Skilled personnel constitute the most important resource for national development. This paper has traced the development of vocational education and skills training and acquisition
in Tanzania and its contribution to the development of Tanzania. Starting from the colonial governments (the German and British administration) the missionaries provided both vocational education and skills training; a role carried over to the post-independence period during which policies for improvement of vocational education and skills training were given even greater emphasis by the newly acquired national government. This paper assesses the influence vocational education has contributed to the development of Tanzania. Prior to independence, initiatives for vocational education and skills provision came largely from both the government and the various religious denominations. The goals for establishment of vocational education were to construct and service their respective premises for various activities including their own accommodation, churches for religious ceremonies, conference halls, and workshops halls, as well as for the benefit of trainees own houses. The colonial government’s interest in vocational education and skills training focused more on the construction and provision of equipment for Government premises, road repairs including bridges which were termed public works. The thrust for vocational education and skills expansion took place after independence especially after the policy of Education for Self-Reliance; which was fully backed by both the government and the Rulling Party as reflected in the Musoma resolution as well as the policy of liberalization of Education and in the
Education and Training Policy of 1995. The ESR Policy led to the establishment of Post Primary Technical Centrers, Folk Development Colleges, Diversification of Secondary Education Curricula while liberalization of education encouraged private sector providers of vocational education and skills training especially for profit making. The establishment of VETA to register all institutions providing vocational education to follow identified curricula and standardizing the assessment served to improve the quality of Vocational Education and Skills acquisition. As per 2010/2011 Tanzania can be proud of having attained gender parity in Folk and Vocational education training. Despite challenges there are
good prospects for sustained vocational education provision and skills acquisition for national development.
Keywords: Vocational Education and Skills Training, Diversification, productivity, skilled personnel, lessons, Human Resources, Post Primary Technical Centres, Apprenticeships, Folk Development Colleges and Diversified Secondary Education Curricula.