Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Monday, May 8, 2023.
Tanzania buys over 18,000 tons of food to improve food security
Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe told the parliament on Monday that the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) has purchased 18,294.314 tonnes of food to strengthen Tanzania’s food security.
According to Bashe, who doubles as Nzega Uburn MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM), the purchases now make NFRA with a total volume of 159,870.216 tonnes of food stored in its warehouses.
Bashe said the government would continue expanding its capacity to store food from 251,000 tonnes to 506,000 tonnes.
However, he said that the government had begun a feasibility study to build a storage facility to increase the storage capacity to 3,000,000 tonnes by 2030.
“The goal is to ensure that our country can store food for six months in case we face a period of disaster for the protection of our economy, dignity and freedom,” he said.
Availability and access to food have been drastically reducing in Tanzania, with farming activities shrinking considerably, partly because of rising fertiliser costs.
Rising operating costs for farmers combined with the drought have led to a reduction in agricultural production, says a recent study by the non-governmental organisation HelpAge International.
The organisation reports that acute food insecurity has reduced the quality and nutritional value of people’s daily diet and increased the risk of malnutrition and ill health.
According to a survey conducted by HelpAge, most households are coping by using cheaper (hence less nutritious) food (90 per cent), reducing the number of meals per day (85 per cent), and reducing food quantities per meal (84 per cent).
It calls on the government to allocate subsidies to the agricultural sector to make food production affordable again, pointing out fuel subsidies as it believes they can effectively reduce escalating fuel prices.
“[The government must] provide food subsidies to ensure older people have access to adequate nutritious food,” the organisation added. “The government should also try to control food price inflation by regulating market prices.”
ATCL resumes direct flights to China
On Monday, Tanzania flagbearer Air Tanzania announced that it is resuming direct flights to the Chinese city of Guangzhou starting from May 11, 2023.
In a notice to customers, the airline stated that round-trip flights between Dar and Guangzhou would involve three flights per week operated by its B787-800 aircraft.
“The flights will fly from Dar es Salaam (Julius Nyerere International Airport – TB3) to Guangzhou (Baiyun International Airport – TB2) every Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and from Guangzhou to Dar es Salaam on every Wednesdays, Friday and Sunday with a top over in Zanzibar,” the notice reads.
Chinese ambassador to Tanzania Chen Mingjian welcomed the news on Twitter, writing: [I’m] glad to know that Tanzania Airlines Air Tanzania will resume its round-trips between Dar es Salaam and Guangzhou and back to Dar es Salaam via Zanzibar from May 11, 2023. [I] hope this airline could boost trade and tourism through people-to-people exchanges between China [and] Tanzania.”
Reacting to the development, Tanzania Ambassador to China Mbelwa Kairuki urged various passengers going to China to use Air Tanzania, saying that the transportation has been made easy as it takes only ten hours to reach your destination.
“But also, if you take the direct flight, you don’t have to undergo the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test instead, you will only be needed to do the Rapid tests, which you can even do at your home,” Mr Kairuki told the government-owned Daily News newspaper.
Over 50 Tanzanian educators tour Shanghai to learn math education
About 50 policymakers and educators from Tanzania are touring the Shanghai-based Teacher Education Centre to learn math education from the institution in China’s biggest city, officially launched in 2021 under the auspices of UNESCO.
According to media reports, the delegation has visited China two years since the Shanghai Normal University’s research institute of international and comparative education, where the education centre is located, organised an online training session for Tanzanian math educators to help improve their teaching capabilities in 2021.
The cooperation went further in 2022 with Chinese math educators visiting Tanzania to carry out face-to-face guidance while online training session was also organised.
Over the next two weeks, the Tanzanian delegation will hear Shanghai education officials and teachers share experiences in policymaking and math teaching and go to local schools to have a close-up view of how math classes are delivered.
On Monday at the welcoming ceremony, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Education Franklin Jasson Rwezimula said Tanzania is reviewing its national education policy, and mathematics has been given much importance in the curriculum.
“Mathematics is one of the core subjects involved in primary and secondary schools as Tanzania is developing collective measures to improve students’ performance in basic education,” Mr Rwezimula said.
He added that he hoped his delegation would learn the best practices and experiences in Shanghai to help improve the East African country’s education policy and teachers’ capacity building.
Albert Paul Kissima, a curriculum developer from the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE), participated in the online sessions from 2021 to 2022.
He revealed that during the training, the educators, similar to Shanghai teachers, made preparations for some topics in math teaching, with Chinese experts providing insights to complement their preparations.
“In general, the educators appreciated all the sessions, and they are ready to share their experience with their counterparts who did not get the opportunity to participate in the sessions,” Kissima said.
“And now we have got an opportunity to visit Shanghai to learn face to face and to interact with other teachers in local schools. We hope we will learn and share many experiences,” he added.
Liang Xiaoyan, the lead education specialist of the World Bank, said the training session was critical for Tanzania as the students there were weak in mathematics.
She said the country’s recent Certificate of Secondary Education Examination revealed that 89 per cent of students failed mathematics.
Airtel Tanzania holds talks with Indian Institute of Technology over Zanzibar campus
Airtel Tanzania says it is in talks with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), which plans to set up a campus in the country. In a statement, Airtel said it would support the institute with communication equipment and data services.
The IIT runs courses in IT, metallurgy, mining engineering, chemical engineering and other subjects and currently only has two campuses outside India, in Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur.
During a working tour, discussions were held in Dar es Salaam when IIT academics visited Airtel Tanzania offices.
Airtel Tanzania MD Dinesh Balsingh said the new partnership would see IIT set up a campus in Zanzibar, called IIT Madras, to serve Zanzibar and the rest of the East African region.
He added that IIT Zanzibar is expected to open its doors in October 2023 to 50 undergraduate students and 20 masters students. The institution will offer data science and artificial intelligence courses for the first year.
According to Balsingh, the decision to set up the first campus in Zanzibar is because of its historical significance as a trade hub and its current attempt to reposition itself as an international business centre.
In addition, Zanzibar offers both the tranquillity of a relatively small town, letting students focus on their studies, and access to Swahili culture to enrich their experiences.
The IIT model focuses on producing the 12 per cent of elite workers that attracts investment, launches innovative ventures, integrates the economy with the rest of the world, and pulls it forward by its bootstraps, added Balsingh.
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