TCU Handbook For Standards & Guidelines For University Education In Tanzania


TCU Handbook For Standards & Guidelines For University Education In Tanzania, TCU Handbook For Standards & Guidelines For University Education In Tanzania Third EditionA system of higher education was first introduced in Tanzania in 1961 when the University College Dar es Salaam was established as an affiliate college of the University of London. Thereafter, in 1963 the University of East Africa was established as a regional university for three East African countries (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), with University College Dar es Salaam, Makerere University College in Uganda and Nairobi University College in Kenya as the constituent colleges of the regional university. In 1970 the University College Dar es Salaam was transformed into the present-day University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) upon a decision by the three East African countries to establish a national university in each country by dissolving the University of East Africa.
The political and socio-economic reforms in the country that were initiated in the 1990s enabled the private sector to play a major role in socio-economic activities including the provision of higher education. 
Therefore, in 1996 private university institutions started to emerge in Tanzania and this brought in exponential expansion of higher education in the country. Furthermore, as public awareness on the importance of education to socio-economic development started to take root, even more enhanced demand for higher education access in the country emerged. As a response, there was rapid expansion of higher education capacity through the establishment of more universities, both public and private. This correspondingly led to a more than 15-fold rise in the national higher education gross enrolment rate from 0.27% in 1997 to more than 4 per cent in 2016.

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Despite the expansion in student enrolment stated above, Tanzania still lags behind in higher education access, with enrolment levels being much below the Sub-Sahara African average of about 8 per cent1. This indicates that Tanzania has a long way to go to catch up with the optimum university enrolment rate for the country to attain and maintain a knowledge economy status, considering that the current admission figures into universities are far below optimum levels corresponding to attaining this aspiration by 2025. 
While higher education reforms were taking shape in the early 1990s, it became apparent that the exponential expansion in higher education could have led to compromising the quality of the institutions and the education provided if quality assurance safeguards were not adequately instituted. Therefore, in 1995 the then Higher Education Accreditation Council (HEAC) was established, with the legal mandate to regulate the establishment and subsequent accreditation of private university institutions in the country. 
In order to expand the regulatory mandate to cover both public and private universities, in 2005 the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) was established through the enactment of the Universities Act No. 7 of 2005 (Chapter 346 of Laws of  Tanzania). The Act mandates the Commission to oversee institutional management processes at all universities in Tanzania so as to foster a harmonized higher education management system and to regulate quality aspects. In order to ensure the harmonious higher education system does not compromise institutional contexts and autonomy, each university has the legal right to operate under own Charter, granted by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania (in case of Mainland Tanzania) and President of Zanzibar (for the case Tanzania Zanzibar) after having been processed through the Commission.

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The roles of the Commission can be clustered into (i) regulatory; (ii) supportive; and (iii) advisory.

Thus, in carrying out the regulatory  function, the Commission has developed Quality Assurance General Guidelines and Minimum Standards for the Provision of University Education in Tanzania.

The 2nd Edition of the Guidelines and Minimum Standards was issued in June 2014. These Guidelines and Minimum Standards have now been reviewed and renamed “Standards and Guidelines for University Education in Tanzania”.
The review was carried out through the involvement of the diverse university education stakeholders in the country, including the universities accredited by the Commission, professional bodies, bodies and agencies mandated to register graduates for professional practice in the country, and the Government. In order to bring in regional and international perspectives, standards and guidelines of some countries in the East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as other countries outside the region were also consulted.


A Technical Committee appointed by the Commission undertook the review of the Guidelines and Minimum Standards. The Committee consisted of Prof Mayunga Nkunya (former Executive Secretary of the Commission and the Inter-University Council for East Africa – IUCEA) as the Chairperson, Prof Masoud Muruke, President of the East African Higher Education Quality Assurance Network and former Director of the Quality Assurance Bureau of the University of Dar es Salaam), Prof Deus Ngaruko (Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Open University of Tanzania), and Prof Stelyus Mkoma (Deputy Principal for Academic Affairs, Marian University College, Bagamoyo). Two senior staff from the Commission, Mr Ibrahim Mtweve (Senior Quality Assurance and Accreditation Officer), and Ms Judith Missokia (Senior Legal Officer) assisted the Team.
I express my sincere appreciations to the Team for undertaking this assignment professionally and diligently. I also express sincere appreciations to the universities in Tanzania as well as professional bodies, and bodies and agencies mandated to register graduates for professional practice in the country for their full participation in the preparation of the Standards and Guidelines.
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