Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU) is a university owned by the North Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. It was inaugurated on Sunday 28th October 2007 as Sebastian Kolowa University College (SEKUCo) of Tumaini University. Being located in Magamba, one of the 176 villages in Lushoto district, SEKUCo became the first university to be opened in Tanga region.
From its onset, SEKUCo’s main objective was to produce graduates who are able to work for and with people trapped in the lowest stratum of the social pyramid. That objective emanates from the founder of the university. For 128 years, the NED has served people who have been degraded by and discriminated from their communities, particularly those with leprosy, mental health illnesses and disabilities. The ground-breaking approach of the founder has underpinned the philosophy of this university during its 11 years of existence. As a result, programmes aimed at giving downtrodden people their rightful place in society have become our foremost priority.
We started the work in the renovated buildings of former Magamba Trade School and Magamba Secondary School. The first programme to be offered was Bachelor of Education Special Needs. SEKUCo was the first institution to offer Special Education at degree level with focus on Speech and Language Disorders, Cognitive Disabilities & Autism, Hearing Impairments and Visual Impairments.
In 2013/2014 academic year, TCU gave approval to SEKOMU to offer the Master of Education in Special Education (M.Ed.SPED) programme. To-date, SEKOMU is the only university in the country offering Special Education at postgraduate level. In the same academic year, SEKOMU launched the Bachelor of Science in Mental Health and Rehabilitation (BSc MHR) programme. This programme is offered to clinical officers and nurses with the aim of ensuring that mental health services are made available at Primary Health Care level. It is the first programme of its kind to be opened in the whole of East Africa.
Other degree programmes offered at SEKOMU are BSc in Eco-tourism & Nature Conservation (BSc ENC), Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and Bachelor of Science with Education (BSc.Ed). The university also conducts diploma and certificate programmes in the fields of Law, Business Administration, Computing, Information and Communication Technology.
In its first 4 years of operating, the number of students increased steadily. This prompted us to construct a block of 6 classrooms, 2 conference halls and an auditorium. The construction was carried out by Beijing Construction Group Ltd. It started on 27th July 2011 and was concluded on 4th December 2012. Alpha Architects Co. Ltd. were consultants.
In July 2012, TCU allowed SEKUCo to evolve from a university college to a full-fledged university. Thereby, Sebastian Kolowa University College was transformed into Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU).
SEKOMU remains committed to its cause of transforming the livelihoods of disadvantaged members of society. One criterion by which a nation’s civilisation ought to be measured is how it treats people who have physical, sensory, intellectual and behavioural disabilities. We envision a Tanzania where the dignity of vulnerable society members is acknowledged in all realms of life. In the endeavour of making that dream come true, there can never be too many actors. SEKOMU therefore stands ready to play its part by cooperating with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in making this vision a reality!