AfricaLive: How would you define the identity of St Augustine University? What makes up your DNA?
Prof Costa Ricky Mahalu: We are a catholic university with catholic values and identity but we also offer secular programs. We have been around for almost twenty-five years now and we know the needs of the Tanzanian society. Our emphasis is on the fields of mass communication to ensure we produce great journalists and public relations officers. We also offer procurement, law, and tourism courses.
Our programs incorporate entrepreneurial principles and training in them so that our graduates do not have to depend on employment to survive. This training gives students an upper hand in economies that are not developed enough for everyone to enjoy steady employment. So our DNA is training young people and positioning them properly through real-world experience and entrepreneurial exposure over just giving them theoretical training.
AfricaLive: If you were to send a message regarding the future of your institution and the impact you look to have, to an international audience, what would that message be?
Judith Mwema: The future for us is going digital because we want to reach out and have more people in our communities accessing higher education. We have graduated over 30,000 students with another well-trained 20,000 set to graduate soon. Through the faculty of engineering, we are working on an e-learning platform with our partners from Ghana. The overall mission is to appeal to students both in the country and outside, we can’t do that by bringing everyone to Tanzania. This is why the e-learning platform is so important.
Prof Hosea Mbakize: We are also working hard to ensure that we have close relations with people in our immediate communities. We want to bring material change both socially and physically while also changing mindsets in our communities. Our university can do this through imparting skills, sharing technologies, and joint projects.
As a private catholic university, we aim to offer high-quality education, research, and public service. We want to produce students that are unique compared to others. Apart from financial independence, we also want to produce students who value morality and ethics and can form healthy relationships.
Prof Costa Ricky Mahalu: Some universities are seen as ivory towers, we do not want to be seen as such. We want to be accessible to communities and be seen as a solutions provider in our environs. We don’t want to just disseminate knowledge, we also want to learn things from the people in our communities. It would be great to learn how they solve problems so that we can study that.
When it comes to agriculture and livestock, we can learn a lot from farmers. Some of these farmers have knowledge that has been passed down for generations. We believe indigenous communities have a lot to offer and we also have a lot to offer. There is so much to be gained from us working together.