Latest survey by this paper shows that some university students live in unsupportive environments where the cost of living is high.
The cost includes house rent and transport costs to and from the university.
Secretary General, Tanzania Higher Learning Institutions Students Organisation (TAHLISO) Zuhura Rashid said the hazardous environment affects the students’ academic performance unlike those staying at the campuses.
“…we call on stakeholders including social security funds to support students by constructing hostels to rescue students from low performance and other risks,” said Rashid.
Reached for comments, Michael Zakaria a student at Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College (TuDarco) said: “There are so many challenges related to security and performance especially to us who stay off-campuses”.
Zacharia mentioned some of the challenges as lack of security at night, robbery and theft.
“We want to enjoy a safe and secure environment. We want to have a successful and enjoyable time at the universities and colleges.”
According to him, Tumaini University does not have hostels thus forcing students to rent houses or seek alternative accommodation from their relatives.
“Things are even difficult to us who do not have relatives in the city,” he said adding that currently three to four students live in a single rented room.
Edward Makaku who is the spokesperson of Tanzania Commission for University (TCU) said that accommodation issues are not among the major criteria for an institution/university’s approval to operate in the country.
“It is upon universities to decide to construct or rent hostels for students,” said Makaku adding students have the rights to choose to enrol with universities with proper accommodation.
Secretary General for Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-Governmental Schools and Colleges (TAMONGOSCO) Benjamin Nkonya commended the government for having tried its best to construct hostels at the University of Dar es Salaam.
He however called for concerted efforts to ensure enough hostels for students in other universities as those living off campuses encounter many challenges.
“There is a need for both public and private institutions to invest in the construction of student hostels for higher learning students”.
Speaking during the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the construction of an ultra-modern, multi-purpose library at the University of Dar es Salaam, President John Magufuli said he was aware of all the challenges and problems faced by students.
He announced a 10bn/- support to help improve students' hostels, but urged social security schemes also to consider investing at the university where there is a huge demand for residential accommodation.