ISSUES RELATED TO SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN TANZANIA
Tanzania has been engaging in development of science and technology. Some policies on science and technology have developed, which consequently led the formation of Tanzania Commission of Science and Technology.
This subtopic is designed to cross check if science and technology has been developed in Tanzania, besides, will check the problems hindering the development of science and technology, problems related to transfer of science and technology, reasons for decline of our local technology and proposing some measures for the reviving and development of local technology.
Problems hindering the development of science and technology in Tanzania
There are some factors which hinder the development of science and technology, among of them some are internally caused, but others are triggered by external influences as follows-
1. Lack of clear policy or undefined policy in science and technology.
The government has not defined the nature of technology to be used or transferred in Tanzania. Thus, the country has lacked the technical know how on what kind of technology should be assimilated, adapted and imported in Tanzania.
2. Dependency syndrome
Tanzania has been subjected to the importation of technology from western countries. Dependency of the Lowest Developed Countries particularly Tanzania has been inherited since independence period. Instead of development of its own technological base it has been depending to other countries or imported science and technology.
3. Lack of motivation to scientists
Since independence, Tanzania government has been responsible to educate many scientists, but have not been motivated with good salaries and good working conditions. These scientists include science teachers, doctors, engineers, urban planers, architects and others. Due to lack of motivation they have been running away from Tanzania looking for green pastures. Consequently, it has caused poor development in science and technology.
4. Poverty which leads to lack of enough fund
The importation, research and development as well as training of scientists require a huge amount of money. This difficult for a country like Tanzania to develop it because of poverty inflicting it.
5. Inadequate emphasis on science subjects
Science, subject like mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology are subjects which are the mothers of science. But there subjects are poorly taught due to lack of teaching facilities especially teachers, classes and laboratories. This makes improvement in science and technology to be poorly improved.
6. Lack of encouragement to the local technocrats
These are people who engage mostly in local technologies especially iron smith, curving, designers of some materials such as iron, bronze and others. But also, includes others small machines which are discovered locally. These are not motivated by the government rather they are normally discouraged. Consequently, it causes poor development of our technological bases.
It seems that the factors which hinder the development of science and technology are influenced with both external and internal motives. Tanzania as a country has many challenges in the process of improving its science and technological base.
Problems related to the transfer of technology into our country
As already noted previously, that science and technology should inevitably be transferred because of unevenly distribution between one country and other. Even if the transferred technology assists the recipient country like Tanzania in utilization of resources, improving science and technological base, improving the social services provision , just mention a few, but also are associated with problems.
The following are problems related to the transfer of technology in our country.
1. Transfer of science and technology has created the loop hole for corruption.
Tanzania is one of the countries in sub-Sahara Africa with inadequate science and technology. Thus, it has been transferring science and technology in several decades in the past. But some government officials and people engaging in procurement have been transferring it on corruption bases, for examples, the scandals of buying radar and Richmond Company which was brought to generate electricity were coupled with corruption.
2. The transfer of science and technology has adversely led to distortion of culture
Since science and technology transfer is done through several mechanisms some of these include Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and imitation. This adversely leads to distortion of culture in the sense that the foreign companies investing in our country do not consider some cultural values of our nation. But, also through imitation we copy some science and technology which are possibly fit in other culture but not in Tanzania culture. Henceforth, lead to the distortion of our culture.
3. The transfer of science and technology if it is not relevant and appropriate becomes burden to the tax payers
Science and technology is very expensive, needs the country like Tanzania to dig deeply in the citizen’s pockets. When it becomes very expensive compared to the country’s economy it is therefore not appropriate or relevant. It will cause burden and poverty to the citizen. This is in the fact that , government cuts down its expenditure on provision of social services such as education, health services, water, transport and communication and others in order to acquire such science and technology. Consequently, it leads to an increased tax to our citizen and heavily subjected to hard life.
4. Inevitably, the transfer of science and technology causes environmental degradation
Though science and technology contributes positively in the national development, but also in other side contributes in environmental degradation. For example, the foreign direct investments have invested in mining, industries and agriculture but it has greatly motivated deforestation, environmental pollution and soil degradation. These have reported in North Mara Mines, Kahama Barrick Mines and Geita. But also, some companies such as Konoike and Jaika in their process of constructing infrastructure have caused environmental problems.
5. Transfer of science and technology causes unnecessary expenses
There unnecessary science and technology which are transferred in Tanzania, some of them are not appropriate and relevant to be used in Tanzania, you find that it is difficult to adapt, assimilate and diffuse it. Besides, it sometimes accompanied with foreign experts who are highly paid. It therefore propels poverty to the poor country like Tanzania.
6. Transfer of science and technology has created dependency and totally decline of our local technology
Since our capability in development of science and technology is poor the country is to rely on advanced nations in science and technology for its internal modernization. But through this, the country has suffered from dependency syndromes on which the country cannot develop own technology base. Consequently, it has caused poor decision making in internal matters instead the decision have been made by countries which are advanced in science and technology. These conditions have ruined the country’s local technologies.
Even though the transfer of science and technology in our country enhance its development in industries, agriculture and generally the utilization of resources but also ruin the country both economically, socially and politically. This is because; the transfer of science and technology cannot be isolated from problems like neo-colonialism, environmental degradation distortion of culture and just mention a few.
Reasons for the decline of local technology in Tanzania
In pre-colonial Africa majority African countries particularly Tanzania science and technology existed. This kind of technology was independent from western oriented technology. The kind of technology existed in the realm of cottage industries such as weaving, blacksmithing, pottery, wood working and jiggery plants for sugar production. Thus, Tanzania had reached at certain level of technology, before the intervention of colonialism.
During the colonialism period is when our local technology started to be interfered .This was due to the fact that many colonial policies discouraged the African oriented technologies. This was through threatening the local technocrats by chopping their hands and hanging them, though other discouragement came after independence as will be seen later.
The following are reasons for decline of local technology in Tanzania:-
1. The role of colonialism which came with discouragement policies in science and technology
At first the colonial masters discouraged the local industries through hanging and chopping hand of people who had skills in activities such as iron smiths, weaving and pottery.
2. Adaptation a strategy of import substitution industries.
This depended on imported technology and expertise. The adaptation of this strategy was one of the reasons for the slow move towards the establishment of an indigenous technological capability. This caused the decline of local technology.
3. Poor policies on science and technology
Tanzania has been subjected to poor policies. Programs have been planed but it has been poorly managed and not implemented at all. An organization which were formed to check and coordinate the formation of policy like the Tanzania national scientific research council (UTAFITI) of 1968 and 1972 as well as the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology which was established in 1986. These organs were to formulate policies, coordinate and promote scientific research and technology development in the country. But it lacked the human capital, finance and government support.
4. The Arusha declaration of 1967 set out to transform the process of socio-economic and political development of Tanzania
But, one of its most striking failures of it was an inability to initiate appropriate strategies for technological development especially in agriculture. When farmers were put in collective villages in attempts to promote social and economic development, their instrument of labour were not changed. The hand hoes and Panga have remained the main instruments of production in the agriculture sector. No investment was done to promote the development of modern agricultural tools (implements). UFI, CARMATEC and Mbeya tool implements were some of the institutions that were set up to initiate the production of farm implements to farmers. There efforts were not successful and backward technology remains a key feature of agricultural development.
5. Lack of motivation to the scientists
Scientists in Tanzania have had been subjected to low payment/salaries, poor working condition and so forth. These includes some doctors, engineers, vetinary officers, architectures just mention a few. Consequently, it has caused these experts to run away from professions but also to move across the boarder (brain drain) looking for green pastures. It has therefore drawn experts who could assimilate, adapt and diffuse technology for our science and technological base.
Measures for the revival and development of local technology
Science and technology should be developed and revived if we need to develop our technological base.
The following are some measures which can be used in reviving our local technology.
1. Fighting with corruption in importation of science and technology
It is corruption that leads to the importation of fake and outdated or absolute technology. Consequently leads to poor technological base.
2. Channeling fund through the commission of science and technology (COSTECH)
on which good policies will be designed also research on science and technology will be possible, training and upgrading our scientists will consequently improve technological bases.
3. Empowering our local craftsmen, technocratic and scientists
Our local craftsmen such as weavers, wood makers, blacksmiths but also our trained experts should be empowered by providing them education, fund and support by the government. This should go hand with hand by elimination of tax on their exports, market acquisition and research for the good produced by own craftsmen. It is through this scientists, craftsmen and technocratic on which science and technology will be developed.
4. Formation of clear defined policies on science and technology
This will be responsible for guiding and manage the process of technological development. However ,Tanzania formed its science and technology policy in 1986 through Tanzania commission for science and technology (COSTECH) though engaged in the process pertaining development of science and technology through advising the government, but yet the content of policy, the requirement of technology and generally appropriate and relevant technology needed by Tanzania was not defined.
5. Reduce technological dependency from foreign countries
This should be done through promoting and encouraging local technology which is more appropriate to the people’s daily activities, and encourage the use of products made from local technologies (indigenous craftsmen). This will compel in the building our technological capabilities.
To train many scientists as possible based on practical skills instead of orienting our mind on other sources such as importation of experts and copying technology. This will encourage the local scientists to improve in tools making.
Science and technology is very vital in any national development. If a country like Tanzania will invest in science and technology the possibility of poverty eradication will be granted. Besides, it will improve agricultural and industrial sector which are normally affected with poor science and technology.
It is challenge to government and its science and technological agencies like the commission of science and technology and other science and technology stakeholders to engage in research, creation of proper policies and invest in the human capital, through training and scholarship acquisition from donor’s countries in the process of improving our technological base. But this should not be isolated with elimination of corruption and proper transferring an appropriate and relevant technology.
Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH)
Is a parastatal organization affiliated with the government of Tanzania. It was created by an act of the Parliament of Tanzania in 1986 to replace Tanzania National Scientific Research Council. The Commission is a subsidiary institution to the Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology.
The main functions of the COSTECH among many included:-
1. Coordinating and promoting research and technology development activities in the country.
2. Administration of research grant, maintenance of research registry and scientific information services, setting research police and creating incentive for invention and innovation.
3. To work with science and technology stakeholders through coordinating their activities toward improving science and technological base.
4. To cooperate with high learning institutions in development of learning and teaching materials
5. To advice the government on all matters pertaining on science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and their application in socio-economic development of the country.
6. COSTECH works with industrial Research and Development organization which include, Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organization( TIRDO), Tanzania Engineering and Design Organization( TEMDO),Tanzania Bureau of Standard (TBS),Building research Unit ( BRU),National constructing Council (NCC) and Tanzania Industrial Studies and constructing organization( TISCO)
7. Also it work with Health M edical Research which includes National institute for medical research (NIMR)
8. Other affiliated organ which works with COSTECH is Food and Agricultural Research .This coordinates Centre for Agriculture Mechanization and Rural technology, Tropical Pesticides and Research institute (TPRI) and Tanzania Fisheries Research institute (TAFIRI).
9. Also it work with Energy research which coordinates Tanzania Radiation Commission (NRC), Social Science Research and National Social Welfare and training Institute
But also COSTECH work with environmental matter especially environmental research. It cooperates with National Environmental Management council (NEMC).
The National Science and Technology policy for Tanzania
The science and technological policy of Tanzania was issued in June 1985.It was issued in order to diagnose science and Technology problems in Tanzania and provide a view of development in science and technology over the next few years.
The main functions of science and technology policy are as follows:-
1. It gives objectives for specific sectors.
2. It stresses the need to train high quality scientists and technologists.
3. It stresses on ability to monitor the importation of foreign technologies and the popularization of science and technology in the society.
4. It put emphasis on the need to develop indigenous technologies and strengthen research and development ( R&D) institution and advocate a stronger linkage system between users and developers of the technologies .In this matter agriculture was given prominence in the policy document and n addition it identified specific areas for research and development.
5. It stresses the importance of allocation adequate funds for scientific research and proposed target to be used for science and technology activities.
Problems of science and technology policy of Tanzania
1. The policy is not defining clearly its areas of consideration, for example the document makes reference to the encouragement of local expertise but, only few areas of expertise have been categorically specified as needing attention. These include design, building, construction and production of raw materials. But other experts in other specialization are not mentioned in this policy, these include Mechanical engineering and production management.
2. Lack of critical understanding and awareness of the dynamics of International environment and influence on the development of science and technology in Tanzania. To add up there are no safeguards made by the policy document to respond to rapidly changing International environment. This changing environment includes the role played by free market which requires non governmental intervention in the development of science and technology and the government is moving out of direct management of industry and business.
3. The policy is too general that no place in it where there acknowledgement of the existing science and technology and what kind of technology is needed in Tanzania environment. Science and technology policy can prove purposeful only if, is dynamic and flexible enough to respond on requirements of changing condition.
4. Science and technology policy is not identifying the type of science and Technology needed in Tanzania.
5. It is obviously that, the national science and Technological policy as well as the Commission of Science and Technology are coupled with problems. These hinder effective development of science and technology in Tanzania. Besides, these organs have been formed on political basis not genuinely for development of science and technology in Tanzania.
1. (a) What is science and technology.
(b) Prove that science and technology have close relationship
2. Identify the relationship between science and technology
3. Discuss the evolution of science and technology
4. Underdevelopment of science and technology is internally motivated rather than external. Discuss.
5. Identify the contemporary development in science and technology.
6. (a) what is development
(b) How science and technology triggers development
7. Identify the contribution of science and technology in food production and agriculture.
8. (a) what is sustainable development?
(b) Show the contribution of sustainable development in building quality life.
9. What is the role of science and technology in sustainable development?
10. Science and technology contributes a lot in socio-economic development. Discuss.
11. Account for poor science and technological base in Tanzania
12. What are advantages of use an appropriate and relevant technology in Tanzania?
13. In the course of development of science and technological base, the government is responsible. Prove with examples.
14. What are problems associated with transfer of science and technology
15. What are the reasons of decline of our local technology?
16. What are the functions of the commission of science and technology in Tanzania?
17. Identify the consequence of using appropriate and relevant technology in Tanzania environment
18. The FDI contributes a lot in the environmental problems. In the light of this statement support it with examples.
19. Suggest strategies for reviving our local Technology.