Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete granted a charter to the University of Arusha, giving the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the country an institution of higher learning with the highest academic accreditation.
The ceremony took place at the State House in Dar es Salaam on August 20. Kikwete handed the certificate of approval to Chancellor Godwin Lekundayo, who also serves as president of the Adventist Church in Tanzania.
“We thank God for this development and pray that the university will continue to uplift the name of God and the Adventist Church,” said Andrew M. Mutero, Education director for the denomination’s East-Central Africa Division, based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Representatives from seven other universities receiving a charter also participated in the ceremony. Twenty of the country’s 50 universities are now formally licensed by the federal government.
Kikwete challenged the representatives of the institutions to increase the number of students who graduate with master’s and doctoral degrees, which could increase the number of students who might later return as university lecturers.
Kikwete advised the newly-established universities to also consider recruiting international teaching staff as a temporary strategy. He said this would reduce the practice of having one lecturer teaching in more than one university.
"University professors should have permanent areas so that they can concentrate and produce quality professionals who will compete in the global market," he said.
University of Arusha began in 1974 as Arusha Adventist Seminary, which offered ministerial courses and health courses. In 2003, then known as Tanzania Adventist College, the school was permitted to adopt the use a name “University of Arusha” and start the process of becoming a university. In 2007 it was offered a provisional license by the Tanzania Commission for Universities.
The University of Arusha, which today serves more than 2,700 students, is also accredited by the Adventist Accreditation Association.
Currently, the University of Arusha offers certificates, undergraduate degrees and master’s degrees. Besides its main campus at Usa River, it operates the Arusha Extensional Centre in Arusha City and Buhare Extensional Centre in Musoma, in the northern part of the country.
There are more than 450,000 Adventist Church members in Tanzania.