LEGAL action awaits students who will be found to have forged death certificates of their parents to claim that they are orphans so as to be given priority in issuance of loans to pursue higher education, the government warned yesterday.
The Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Professor Joyce Ndalichako, said the government will conduct verification of all birth certificates presented by the students, stating that all those found to have forged the documents will be arraigned.
The development follows the recent uncovering by the Higher Education Students’ Loan Board (HESLB) of students who presented forged death certificates of their parents to be granted bursary.
Speaking at the meeting, which brought together education stakeholders in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Prof Ndalichako dared such students to turn themselves up before the long arm of the government reaches out to them.
Apart from those who forged the documents, the minister said there were as well students who have through illegal means acquired medical reports to show that they are suffering from various illnesses.
“There is a task force, which is currently conducting verification of the certificates. Upon completion, all those who have faked the documents will be arraigned since forgery is a criminal offence,” the minister cautioned.
She stressed that the government was set to clear cheating since it has become so widespread, denying deserving people of deserved opportunities. “If one is indeed an orphan, he/she will be given priority.
But we have seen cases where some students forge death certificates of their parents while others forge medical reports,” Prof Ndalichako stated.
The minister hinted on the other hand that the government will get rid of all higher institutions of learning found to be offering courses that they are not qualified to teach. A team is currently conducting assessment of all varsities in the country, she said.
“Students in the varsities to be closed will be transferred to qualified institutions. This will be possible because all applications are done through the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU),” Prof Ndalichako explained.
She cited the closure of Saint Joseph University in February, this year, where the students were relocated to other varsities. The students were, however, made to repeat one year after it was found out that they were half-baked. According to the minister, some of the students from Saint Joseph University who were relocated to University of Dodoma (UDOM) have refused to repeat.
“It should be clear that if they continue to refuse then they should quit; we cannot allow them to continue even as they have proved to be half-baked,” she warned. The minister reiterated that the government will conduct assessment of all students relocated from closed universities to other qualified institutions of higher learning.
Speaking at the meeting, the Acting Executive Secretary of TCU, Professor Eleuther Mwageni, said findings of the assessment will determine universities and courses to be closed.
Prof Mwageni explained as well that even at present, students were free to apply for transfers from one institution to another.
©Alleastafrica and Tanzania Daily News