Preparations for opening University College

The ELCT-NED diocese has great plans - preparations are made to open a University College in memorial of late Bishop Sebastian Kolowa. Director of Social Services, Dr Anneth Munga has written a letter to inform us of the plans.


 THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN TANZANIA
NORTH EASTERN DIOCESE
 
wishes to inform You about the
PREPARATIONS FOR OPENING
SEBASTIAN KOLOWA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
Sisters and Brothers,

In September 2002, the Executive Committee on behalf of the Executive Council of the NED, decided to embark on a new project with the aim of raising the quality of social services as rendered not only by our Diocese but also by the government. It was decided that the NED should open a University College that will promote Training and Research in different fields.
We are planning to open the University College in 2007.  The proposed name of the University College is
     SEBASTIAN KOLOWA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
abbreviated
     SEKUCO
The late Dr. Sebastian Kolowa was elected in 1972 and consecrated in 1974 as the first African Bishop of this diocese. In 1976 he became Presiding Bishop of ELCT. Bishop Dr. Kolowa held both positions until his death in October 1992. It is in honour of this renowned, and yet very humble servant of Jesus Christ, that the University College in our diocese is proposed to be named.
Some of you might be aware of the fact that the NED has a long, broad and deep history of providing social services to people. There are people who have nicknamed the NED as “the Diakonia diocese”. The following activities may justify such a name:
  • In 1904, the first patient was admitted at Lutindi, a hospital for patients with mental health problems. Its bed capacity is 120. By medical treatment and occupational therapy, patients with mental illnesses as well as drug and alcohol abusers are helped.
  • In 1927, a general hospital was opened in Bumbuli. The hospital has a bed capacity of 120 while 100 students are received at the Clinical Officers Training Centre annually.
  • In 1962, Irente Children’s Home, was opened for children who are either motherless/parentless or abandoned or whose mothers suffer from serious illnesses. Irente Children’s Home can host 30 children but currently there are more than 40 children. There is also a 2-year course on Child Care and Domestic Science for girls who have finished Std. VII or Form IV was introduced at the orphanage of the NED, Irente Children’s Home.
  • In 1963, Irente School for the Blind was opened. It started as a school for girls but five years later it began to include boys as well. The school is one of three residential schools for blind pupils in Tanzania and it receives children from all-over the country. At the moment there are 76 pupils at Irente. Some of them have low vision while others are totally blind.
  • In 1987, Lwandai Secondary School was opened in Mlalo village. It is a boarding school that currently hosts around 470 students. Lwandai is an Advanced Level Secondary School
  • In 2001, the NED opened Bangala Lutheran Junior Seminary in the village of Vuga. Bangala provides secondary school education up to Form IV. In the case of Bangala, being a seminary means that students are taught Christian ethics as explicated in the Lutheran Church Tradition. The school offers boarding for its currently 160 students who are either Lutherans or members of CCT denominations. In 2006, Bangala will start to receive Form V students.
  • In 2003, Lutindi Mental Hospital opened an outreach clinic in Korogwe where people with epilepsy and mental health problems receive treatment and counselling.
  • In 2005, Irente Rainbow School was opened with the purpose of providing special education for mentally handicapped and autistic children. 23 pupils between the ages of 6 – 18 have been registered. It has been opened as a day school which means that children who have been registered so far come from surrounding areas. Being the first school of its kind in the entire district of Lushoto, Irente Rainbow School has awakened the attention of parents and relatives of mentally disabled and autistic children from all-over the district but also from many parts pf Tanzania.
It may therefore be said that NED’s engagement in assisting the government in providing social services to Tanzanians has a long, broad and deep history. It is long, because it goes back to more than a century ago. It is broad, because the spectrum of those who benefit from education and health services provided by NED is very wide. It is deep, because it includes vulnerable people who are lowly ranked in the priority lists of most district and regional councils if not totally forgotten. In the light of such a history, it ought not to be surprising that the NED now prepares to open a University College.
The University College within the NED will serve our diocese because we will be able to train our own personnel at high level. Frequently, Churches and Faith Based Organisations in Tanzania run short of specialists and skilled personnel in many fields. This is one of the reasons which led the ELCT to open Tumaini University. The government which itself experiences shortage of competent manpower in most sectors tries to support churches by seconding staff to our hospitals, schools, etc. Yet the problem remains crucial. By opening a University College, we in the NED aim at finding a way out of this problem simultaneously as we improve the standard of our services to the society. Secondly, the University College will raise the status of people who are marginalised and silenced. Among the fields that we plan to start with is that of Special Needs Education. To a significant extent, this field is connected to a group of people who are low in the social scale. The NED has a vision of a nation with high quality service to society members who are either ranked very low or forgotten altogether in the priority lists of most District and Regional Councils. Thirdly, the University College will promote the development of Tanga region and our country by opening up more opportunities of high level education for Tanzanians. There is no University in Tanga region and therefore students from this area have to join Universities in other places. Still worse, while we experience shortage of professionals in many sectors, the Universities in our country cannot accommodate all students who qualify to join University studies in Tanzania. Just to mention an example, 9,800 students applied to join university studies at Mzumbe this year. All of them had the necessary qualifications but only 1,217 were admitted! There are many highly capable Form VI leavers in Tanzania who have been compelled to take whatever job they could find. Many remain totally jobless. For a nation which struggles to develop, this is a sad paradox. The NED is part and parcel of the Tanzanian society and we feel the pain of being unable to give gifted men and women the chance to advance academically so that they may serve our nation at their fullest capacity. By opening a University College, we will contribute in reversing the trend for the benefit of our country.
The main campus of SEKUCO will be in Magamba, north of Lushoto town. If expansion would be necessary, which could require another venue in the future, the following campus will be opened in Tanga
The choice of Magamba as venue for the main campus of SEKUCO is motivated by two reasons. First, the NED has approximately 390 acres of land in the village of Magamba which is located 8 km north of Lushoto town. Possession of such a big area is in itself an invaluable opportunity, bearing in mind the fact that many institutions of higher learning in our country have to accommodate their activities in much smaller portions of land. Secondly, the NED has requested to get back Magamba Secondary School from the state. Like many other church institutions in our country, Magamba was nationalised in the wake of the Arusha Declaration. The school is situated within the 390 acres that are owned by our diocese. Regular contacts between the Minister of Education and Culture and our Bishop have led the process to a stage where final formalities are being undertaken by the government. We hope and pray for a successful completion of this process so that Magamba Secondary School may be returned to the NED as soon as possible.
The choice of Tanga town as a possible venue for a second campus of SEKUCO if the need for expansion would be there is motivated by the fact that there are many secondary schools as well as high schools in Tanga. Moreover, having been declared recently to be a City, Tanga will attract investments of various types, which will lead to an expansion of the town. That being the case, the demand of studying opportunities at higher learning institutions will inevitably increase in the whole region in general and in Tanga City in particular. The NED wants to grasp the opportunity of being physically present in that city by participating with confidence in offering possibilities of high quality education.
Our aim is to start with the fields of:
  • Special Needs Education
  • Neurology and Psychiatry
  • Nature Conservation
  • Tourism – including eco-tourism
  • Swahili
  • Business
  • Laws 
Sisters and Brothers,
You are welcome to contact us for more information regarding these plans. Above all, we ask for your prayers. We are taking upon ourselves this task not for the purpose of getting fame or recognition. Our aim is to respond in a constructive way to challenges we meet today in our society and which cannot be left unaddressed. We are doing it now because we take the lesson embedded in a Swahili saying that “if we don’t repair the crack today we will have to build a wall tomorrow”. Above all, we are convinced that Jesus Christ wants this Diakonia diocese to continue in braving new ways of proclaiming the Good News. We pray that God shall grant us Joy, Wisdom, Peace and Harmony as we join our heads, hands and hearts in accomplishing this task for the sake of the Church of Christ and for Tanzania.
Rev. Dr. Anneth Munga
Project Director.