PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has advocated for the establishment of a regulatory authority that would help assess and certify the range of tuition fees at all levels of education hierarchy. In a country that struggles to provide equal education opportunities to all, said the president, a few individuals should not be allowed to turn education into a lucrative business at the expense of others. We need EWURA-like (Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority) body to monitor education overheads at various levels. The government cannot afford to remain silent to see education turned into an expensive commodity, such that one wakes up the next morning to put up a kindergarten school charging 6m/- annually, President Kikwete elaborated. Speaking at a brief ceremony to hand over Certificate of University Charter to 13 universities both public and private at the State House grounds in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, President Kikwete said he told former US President George Bush in 2008 in Dar es Salaam during discussion, that education was a priority and asked him to help build a strong education base particularly with sufficient number of qualified science teachers. Again during audience with President Obama in Washington DC last year, he reminded him of the pledge by his predecessor and he agreed that the US government would provide for 2.4 million science books (physics, chemistry and mathematics) in the next few months. The Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, commended the president for raising a sensitive issue of exorbitant tuition fees fixed at individuals interests. He spoke of plans to amend the Higher Education Act of 2005 to give it powers to hold responsible those demanding more money, sometimes not matching the quality of education provided. There will be no leniency on this, he said. The Executive Secretary to the Tanzania Commission for Universities, TCU, Prof Mayunga Nkunya added voice to the subject expressing readiness for his office to work closely with the ministry of education to set the procedures. He underscored the need for the country to exercise control on education costs, to make sure that learning opportunities were equally accessible to all. President Kikwete also spoke about challenges facing the higher education sector, which included the limited number of university instructors/professors such that institutions continue to scramble for those available as they keep shifting from one university to the other. The best solution is to train more people to make sure that the country has a good number of learned and qualified instructors. We need more post graduate and doctorate students as it happens in other countries like Kenya. Our PhD holders here can help supervise doctorate students, he suggested. Commenting on the significance of the days event that witnessed representatives from 13 universities receiving official recognition to train students at higher levels, undertake useful research work(s) and set academic standards, Dr Kikwete advised concerned authorities to make things easier for the availability of loans to qualified students without discrimination. He said time has come for all qualified university entrants to get loans without prejudice, adding that the government would continue to give prominence to education such that in 2005 the total sum of 56bil/- was given to the High Learning Students Loan Board, compared to 243bil/- set aside for the purpose this year. However, the president was explicit on the need for regulated tuition fee, unless more money would be set aside to only train a few students under hiked arrangement. Through the office the chief secretary, he said, disbursement of loans would be enhanced to the convenience of applicants to ensure academic success. For example in 2005, there were 16,345 university students and the dramatic increase was experienced last year with 69,250 students securing admission and all seeking loans. The universities that qualified and received the accreditations are the Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE), Mkwawa University College of Education (MUCE), Hubert Kariuki Memorial University, the International Medical and Technology University (IMTU) and Morogoro Muslim University (MUM). Others are Theophilo Kisanji University in Mbeya, Bishop Stephano Moshi Memorial University College (SMMUCo) in Moshi, Bishop Sebastian Kolowa University College, (SEKUCO) in Lushoto, Tanga and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College at KCMC in Moshi. Others are Mwenge University College of Education (MWUCE) and Weill Bugando University College of Health Sciences (WBUCHS), both affiliated to St Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) of Mwanza, St John University of Tanzania in Dodoma, Moshi University College of Co-operatives and Business Studies (MUCCoBS) and Zanzibar University of Tunguu in Zanzibar.