English language has become the predominant form of communication in the world of science, technology and innovation. Effective participation in the global economy is in large measure dependent on mastery of it.
SUA recently launched a major English Language Resource Centre which is designed to increase fluency in English on its campus as well as elsewhere. Based in its College of Social Sciences and Humanities it is designed to offer instructional and self-access learning services through integrated technology based resources. Immediate beneficiaries of this Center are SUA students who will benefit from improved classes on the use of English as well as improved opportunities to strengthen their English language skills outside of the classroom.
The need for this capacity was highlighted by several dignitaries at the launching exercise. Vedasto Muhikambele, Director of Research and Postgraduate Studies, thanks iAGRI for having sponsored the Center. He noted that it will improve the language proficiency on the SUA campus and that it will contribute innovative strategies designed to make SUA a more supportive learning environment. He also highlighted the fact that the Center is designed to be revenue generating, thus increasing its long term sustainability as well as performance potential.
David Kraybill, iAGRI Director, also spoke at the Center’s inauguration. He emphasized that we need to understand that we are living in the world of globalization and that English is spoken in many countries even those which had never been colonized by Britain. He also noted that ‘’Tanzania is also competing with other countries in the education market and needs to meet global standards in order to effectively do so. Fluency in English is a required skill whether you are applying for a job or you are seeking admission in a presumed college, or university.”
The Head of the Department of Language Studies Dr. Sotco Komba has remarked that establishment of Center was opportunistic because many companies and international organization welcome candidates who are fluent in English language and other relevant qualifications.
Development of the Center was funded as an organizational experiment by iAGRI. Virginia Tech University, a member of the Ohio State University Consortium, directly assisted in its development. Initially several of its staff worked with SUA staff to devise a program designed to improve the English language program on campus. This included testing of student fluency in the language and a review of the curriculum offered for English language courses. iAGRI supported a study tour by representatives of SUA and Virginia Tech to universities in South Africa and Ghana that have similar centers. There they learned how other centers organized their campus training programs as well as how they designed short-term English language courses for businesses, government organizations and other entities. This review was instrumental in helping SUA staff create their own center.
The Center offers intensive language learning opportunities to universities and colleges as well as primary and secondary schools. It also can develop short courses for media, hotel, bank, hospital, and private business employees as well as the general public. And it can provide important English language related professional services such as official translation of documents, one-on-one interpretation, proofreading of academic materials and short courses on English language writing, both technical and non-technical. All of these services are designed to generate revenue used to sustain the Center.