The UK Friends of St John’s University of Tanzania
Supporting the work of the University
The UK Friends of St John’s University of Tanzania is a group in the UK who support the work of the University.
Tanzania is on the East coast of Africa; its coast line is on the Indian Ocean. It is a very beautiful country and has many attractions for visitors and tourists; these include Zanzibar, Mt Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti. However, Tanzania is currently amongst the world’s 50 poorest countries.
In order to get itself out of poverty the country needs well qualified Tanzanians in all areas of society – government, legislation, education and business. The government recognises this and has encouraged the increase of universities in the country, from 8 in the year 2000 to 18, serving a population of 43.7 million.
700 students graduate in November 2010
St John’s University of Tanzania was established by the Anglican Church of Tanzania answering what they saw as their Christian duty to be involved in higher education. The university are already involved in primary and secondary education - the first students were registered in September 2007 and the first graduation of nearly 700 students took place in November 2010.
The courses with which the University started were those identified both as feasible for this young University to deliver and ones which would yield graduates able to fulfil the needs of the country. These included education with arts and science subjects, business, nursing, pharmacy and theology. In the academic year 2010/2011 the University also introduced its first Masters courses taking its own graduates and students who had graduated elsewhere.
Funding for equipment and staff
The only regular source of income for the University is from student fees. These are barely adequate to pay staff salaries and other essential ongoing costs. There is extremely little for books, equipment and development. Fees cannot be increased as very few would be able to find funds to cover this increase. The University, therefore, needs to search for funds elsewhere. The UK Friends are aiming to support the University in the search for additional funds, for books and for good second hand equipment here in the UK. For example, three containers of equipment have been sent to the University over the last four years.
Due to the rapid growth in the number of universities in the country, the number of Tanzanians with appropriate qualifications to take the lead in running courses is inadequate for the number of universities at present. This means that in the short term Tanzanian universities must search overseas for senior staff. The UK Friends are aiming to be proactive in the search for staff, and it also needs to search of funds to support such staff at the University.
Although the Tanzanian government provides loans for many students not all get a loan to cover the whole cost. Many just do not have enough for both tuition fees and living expenses – so some do not eat well. The UK Friends support the University’s Hardship Fund to help such students.
Please do help support our work by helping people in Tanzania have a fairer chance in life.
Dr Elizabeth Taylor, UK Representative, St John's University of Tanzania
The Archbishop of York has been Patron of the UK Friends of St John's University of Tanzania since 2007