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University in Tanzania imparts geospatial education

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania: After being upgraded as Ardhi University (ARU), University College of Lands and Architectural Studies (UCLAS) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania has expanded its vision to cover a wider perspective and incorporated more beneficiaries, according to ARU Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof. Idrissa Mshoro.

Prof. Mshoro said that the new vision focuses on making ARU the centre of excellence in seeking knowledge and disseminating the same to a wide spectrum of beneficiaries at national, regional and global levels.

The expansion of the vision of ARU is based on Universities Act, 2005, No. 7 which addresses the need for universities to produce graduates who can be absorbed by the job market without necessarily requiring additional training. To respond to this need, ARU has established six new schools namely; School of Architecture and Design, School of Construction Economics and Management, School of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Geospatial Science and Technology, School of Real Estate Studies and School of Environmental Science and Technology.

According to the VC, the university did not want to lose the identity of the institution by doing away with the question of Lands. Land has remained the house name of ARU for years. So, the university changed the name from Chuo Kikuu cha Ardhi literally translated as the University of Lands to Chuo Kikuu Ardhi which means Lands University. The shift in names sought to do away with the perception that the university is only dealing with Lands issues. Now the Lands or Ardhi is just the name that maintains the identity of the institution.

Available statistics indicate that Tanzania has a total of 300 and 200 registered architects and quantity surveyors respectively. By population census, one architect serves 160,000 and one quantity surveyor serves 267,000 people, respectively. Such rate of professionals, Prof. Mshoro said cannot make a significant contribution to the development of the construction sector.

Compared to Kenya which has a total of 1,200 architects and 580 quantity surveyors, the VC expresses dissatisfaction over this discrepancy calling for more support from different stakeholders to redress the current situation. Specifically, he is concerned with higher demand of professionals in land and maps, land management and valuation, urban and rural planning and other areas taught at ARU. For instance, he said, 70 per cent of local government authorities lack professionals in land issues. The envisaged new agriculture initiative, Kilimo Kwanza, he said, is an area that also needs experts to incorporate land for agriculture in urban development plans, to survey and allocate land for investments, as well as keeping records on lands use.

Source: allAfrica.com