Archive for Education

EDUCATION

by Naomi Rouse

World Bank approves controversial $500m education loan to Tanzania
A $500m World Bank loan has been issued to Tanzania as funding for the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Programme (SEQUIP). The loan was previously delayed following campaigns by opposition MP Zitto Kabwe and various civil society organisations for the World Bank to withhold the loan due to the government’s discriminatory policy of expelling pregnant schoolgirls.

Jaime Saavedra, global director for education for the World Bank said “Tanzania, like many countries around the world is suffering from a learning crisis, where children are either not in school, or are in school but not learning. Of 100 children who start school in Tanzania, less than half will finish primary and only three will complete their upper secondary schooling.”

The loan will fund improvements to secondary education, with two thirds of the loan dedicated to creating safe and quality learning environments for girls, benefitting an estimated 6.5 million secondary school students.

Zitto Kabwe, leader of the alliance for change and transparency party (ACT), received death threats after asking the World Bank to suspend the $500m education loan until “checks and balances” including a free press, free and fair elections, and the reinstatement of the Controller and Auditor General, were restored in the country.

In Parliament on 1 February, Abdallah Bulembo, from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), said: “There is one man who took our issues outside the country, he should not be allowed back but should be killed where he is. What Mr Zitto Kabwe has been doing is treason in our country.”

Kabwe said that he was taking the threats seriously, but he would not be intimidated. “I have no regrets,” he is reported as saying. In a letter to World Bank president David Malpass, seen by the Guardian, the ACT requested assurance from the bank that any reprisals against Kabwe would “trigger a suspension of all World Bank operations and funding in the country”.

In 2017 similar threats were made against another opposition MP, Tundu Lissu, before he was shot 16 times by unknown assailants, suffer­ing life-changing injuries from which he is still recovering. No one has been arrested for the crime.

In November 2018, the bank withdrew a $300m loan to Tanzania for secondary education, partly because of the country’s mistreatment of pregnant schoolgirls, as well as threats against members of the LGBT+ community.

Since John Magufuli became president in 2015, the government has forced girls to undergo pregnancy tests and excluded thousands of them from school. Press freedoms and opposition activity have also been restricted.

Tanzania’s education minister, Joyce Ndalichako, has asserted Tanzania’s commitment to the education of all girls, saying: “The target [of the loan] is to reach more than 6.5 million secondary school students across the country, without discrimination and shall include girls who drop out of school for various reasons, including pregnancy.”

Of the 60,000 students who drop out of secondary school every year in Tanzania, 5,500 leave due to pregnancy according to World Bank data.

Tanzania’s ban on pregnant schoolgirls dates back to the 60s. Amid renewed criticism, it was reaffirmed in a 2017 speech by Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, who stated that “as long as I am president … no pregnant student will be allowed to return to school. We cannot allow this immoral behaviour to permeate our primary and secondary schools.”

The latest government statement is that girls can continue to study in “Alternative Education Pathways”, and re-join the mainstream if they pass national exams. According the World Bank, the government has also “agreed to assess the prevalence of pregnancy testing and develop an approach to address this practice” and that the World Bank will “advocate a halt to all involuntary pregnancy testing in schools in Tanzania”.

Despite the latest statement from the government, Elín Martinez, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the Tanzanian government’s position remained unchanged. She referred to a recent tweet in Swahili from Tanzania’s chief government spokesperson that indicated the government has set up parallel systems for pregnant girls.

“Tanzania will continue to arbitrarily deny pregnant girls the right to study in formal public primary and secondary schools – and they will only have an option of studying in a parallel system, which will now be built using the World Bank’s loan,” said Martínez. The World Bank has “undermined its own commitment to non-discrimination and to improving the lives of ‘marginalised groups’”. (UK Guardian)

CCM lauds education system, sneers at calls for overhauling
CCM Secretary General Dr Bashiru Ally has said those calling for over­haul of the education system do not have authoritative knowledge of the matter.

Speaking during his tour of IPP Media outlets in Dar es Salaam, Dr Bashiru argued that people don’t realise that Tanzania’s education system produces some of the most brilliant brains in the world. “Tanzanians who get an opportunity to pursue graduate or postgraduate studies abroad, who are products of the system, do very well abroad.”

He said therefore changing the education system is not a priority for the party which is currently preparing its manifesto for the October elections, with agriculture, clean water and electricity among the top priorities.

However, last month the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services and Community Development said the education being provided does not respond to massive changes in the world, including in the areas of science and technology, and recommended the formation of a commission to overhaul Tanzania’s education system from kindergarten to university. (The Citizen)

Necta releases Form two and Form Four examination results
Pass rates improved by 1.38% on the previous year, with 80% of the 422,722 candidates passing Form Four examinations. For Form Two, the pass rate was 90% for 571,137 candidates.

For Standard Four (primary school) the pass rate improved by 26%, with 1.53 million students passing.

Tunduru District achieved the best results in its region in the 2019 Standard Seven examinations, and claims that the new technique of running learning camps helped achieve their success. The district has a shortage of 1,066 teachers. The pass rate improved by 12.4% in 2019 from 79% in 2018.

At the camps, the children had electricity, water, and food, and were kept safe with guards and also supervision from parents. The camps particularly helped girls by giving them more time to study and not having to do domestic chores.

The District academic officer, Ms Loyal said they faced a challenge of some parents directing their children to perform badly, in order to force them to end their educational journey there.

Private schools took the top ten positions for Form IV examinations. Many of the all-time academic giants retained their positions from 2018. Kemebzo Secondary School (Kagera) came top, followed by Saint Francis Girls’ Secondary School (Mbeya), and Feza Boys. (The Citizen)

President Magufuli dismayed by exam results for Zanzibar schools

President Magufuli at the opening of Mwanakwerekwe School (State House)


While laying the cornerstone for the new Mwanakwerekwe Secondary School in Zanzibar City, President Magufuli called upon teachers to work hard to ensure better marks for students. “I will say this even though some may not be happy…it’s shameful to see Zanzibar schools hold last positions in national examinations,” he affirmed. (IPP Media)

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EDUCATION

by Naomi Rouse

Obstacles to Tanzanian Quality Education Dream

In September 2019, The Citizen interviewed Sister Annette Farrell, a Holy Union Sister from Ireland, and Director of the Holy Union Sisters Debrabant High School in Mbagala about the state of education in Tanzania.

In the 1980s when Sister Farrell first started working in the Tanzanian education sector, a small number of elite, highly academic students qualified for secondary school, and schools were relatively well resourced to cater for these numbers. Now that access has increased, the same academic rigour is still expected of all, as if all students are expected to proceed to university. But students have different abilities and are ‘tortured’ by this system that is only designed for the most academically gifted.

“When I came to Tanzania in the 1980s the secondary section was tiny… but the academic programmes were very good. [They] suited the people who were chosen to be in secondary schools at that time. They had to have high academic ability as well as good character. Today there is only one programme for everyone. So children who have no capability in mathematics and no interest are forced to do the same exam as their counterparts brilliant in the subject. This programme could perhaps suit 10% and neglect the other 90%. This system is a disaster in the country’s quality education dream, as we are sacrificing the majority for the few.”

The system neglects other subjects and talents such as music, drama, sport, and computers. While highlighting the shortage of teachers as a major problem, she would not support an expansion of the system as it currently is, saying “it won’t make sense at all to be paying so many teachers throughout the country to produce the kind of results we are getting at Form Four.”

She highlighted lack of planning and investment, with overcrowded schools and ‘one teacher doing the work of three’. She reminded readers that ‘free education’ is paid for by citizen’s taxes but that citizens are not getting what they are paying for. She opposes the policy that prevents parents from contributing to schools to help improve them. Sister Farrell applauded the government’s initiatives to promote inclusion of students with disabilities. (The Citizen)

World Bank Report reveals reasons behind low learning levels
Reacting to the World Bank report: Ending Learning Poverty, what will it take? education stakeholders said that low budgetary allocations were the main cause of low literacy levels for 10 – 14 year olds. The report showed that 87% of 10 – 14 year olds in Sub Saharan Africa cannot comprehend a short, simple story.

Despite increasing enrolment in Tanzania, budget allocation has declined from 19 to 16% of Tanzania’s total budget. Spending per primary school pupil declined from TSh 335,891 in 2016/17 to TSh 220,566 in the current fiscal year.

Tusiime School Assistant Manager highlighted the importance of early years programmes to help develop children’s intellectual development.
The Human Capital Index shows that the productivity of the average child born in Africa today will be only 40% of what it could be if there were proper investment in health and education. (The Citizen)

Loans body tasked over boom delay
The Higher Education Students Loans Board was directed to meet with the student union to explain the delay in disbursing student loans. The University of Dar es Salaam Students Union (Daruso) had threatened a strike if the loans were not disbursed within 72 hours. However, HESLB Executive Director explained that students needed to pass their exams first, and that this was an issue of procedure. (The Citizen)

Over 50,000 students miss out on Form One selection for 2020
A total of 58,699 students who passed their Primary School Leaving Examination have not secured places at Form One due to shortage of classrooms, amounting to 7.7% of students affected. The affected pupils are from 13 regions. Kigoma was worst affected with 12,092 pupils not selected, being required to wait until classrooms are constructed. The Minister for Local Government instructed the respective regions to make sure classrooms are constructed by February 2020. (The Citizen)

CDRB bank to issue loans to students
CRDB is introducing a new service ‘Boom Advance’ to help students whose study loans have been delayed. ‘Boom’ denotes the amount allocated to students for meals and accommodation. CRDB’s Head of Consumer Banking, Mr Stephen Adili, said “For a long time we have looking at how we could find a lasting solution to this challenge which affects students academically”.

Boom Advance loans will be interest free and issued electronically through the SimBanking app. Loans of TSh 40,000 to TSh 120,000 will be available, and repayable within 45 days. Students must be registered with the Higher Education Students Loans Board to qualify. (The Citizen)

Invest more in education, Dar think-tank tells government
Executive Director of REPOA, Dr Donald Mmari, called for the government to invest more in education in order to accelerate the country’s development, learning from countries like the Netherlands which have succeeded as a result of investment in education.

He made the remarks at the relaunch of the Netherlands Alumni Association of Tanzania (NAAT) which brings together Tanzanians who have studied in the Netherlands to exchange ideas to contribute to Tanzania’s economic development. Dr Mmari said that 5,000 Tanzanians who have studied in the Netherlands are keen to be involved in the association, and he stressed that they have a responsibility to share what they have learned, for the benefit of Tanzania. He said there was much to learn from countries like the Netherlands – although geographically small, it is the 4th country in the global competitive economy after the USA, Singapore and China. He highlighted the Netherlands’ leadership in the renewable energy sector, and the support provided to Tanzania in renewable energy, agriculture, health and technology. (IPP Media)

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EDUCATION

by Naomi Rouse

Tanzanian schools face shortage of 80,000 teachers
Deputy Minister of State, Mr Waitara responded to questioning from a Mwanga District CCM representative about how the government plans to fill the acute shortage of teachers in his District. Mr Waitara said that the country is currently short of 66,000 primary teachers and 44,000 secondary school teachers, and that during May 4,549 new teachers had been recruited, of which 26 were assigned to Mwanga District.

According to UNESCO, Tanzania is among the top ten countries with teacher shortages, and needs to recruit 406,600 teachers by 2030. (The Citizen)

National Examination Council of Tanzania releases 2019 Form Six results
91,298 candidates registered for the exam, of which 42% were female and 58% were male.

The pass rate had gone up by 0.74% from 97.6% in 2018 to 98.3% in 2019.
Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Tabora and Coast Regions continued to take the top slots, with regulars Feza Boys, Feza Girls, Kibaha Secondary School and Tabora Boys appearing in the top 10 list of schools.

Seven of the 10 worst performing schools in the country are in Zanzibar and Mara. (The Citizen)

What do Tanzanian parents want from primary schools and what can be done about it?
A new survey from Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) shows that distance to school and exam results are significantly more important to parents than the pupil-teacher ratio and desk avail­ability, when selecting a primary school for their children. The research outlines the importance of better understanding parental preferences, as these preferences influence accountability pressures on government.

Parents were asked to make a choice of school based on information about the school’s pass rates, class sizes and infrastructure in order to see whether parents would theoretically be prepared to walk further to access better quality education.

Major findings of the survey are that average exam score and proximity are significantly more important in household decision-making than the pupil teacher ratio and desk availability. Parents’ willingness to walk for learning outcomes – their trade-off between distance and quality – also varies significantly by region.

Each school was characterised by four features: distance from the respondent’s home, learning outcomes, pupil-teacher ratio, and avail­ability of desks (a measure of infrastructure quality). Hypothetical schools’ characteristics were then randomly chosen from the following options:
• Distance from home in kilometres: 1 km, 4 km, or 7 km;
• Average Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE) score, out of a total of 250 possible points: 80, 140, or 200;
• Pupil to teacher ratio: 30, 60, or 90;
• Number of available desks: all students have desks, desks in every classroom but students must share, or some classrooms do not have
desks.

Each respondent with primary-aged children was presented with deci­sion tasks comprising a pair of hypothetical schools with attributes drawn at random from the above distributions. For example, in one choice task a respondent might be asked to choose between a school that is 4 kilometres away, with 30 pupils per teacher and shared desks, and an average PSLE score of 140, as compared with a school that is 1 kilometre away, with 60 pupils per teacher and some classrooms that do not have desks, and an average PSLE score of 80. Respondents made two such choices, and information from across these parental decisions is aggregated to estimate representative preferences.

On average, parents are willing to send their children an extra 1.16 km for a school that scores 10 points more on average on the PSLE.

The findings suggest scope for investments in the performance of existing schools over the expansion of the stock of schools, in order to promote grade completion and learning; these are trade-offs that policy-makers must weigh in the application of a finite budget to these goals.

There was significant regional variation. Households in Mara, for example, reveal a willingness to walk 1.86 km for an improvement of 10 points in average exam score. At the other end of the spectrum, respondents in Pwani reveal they are only willing to walk 0.64 km for the same improvement. Parents’ relative weight on learning outcomes versus school construction varies by nearly a factor of three across regions.

Willingness to walk also varies among other characteristics. For exam­ple, urban households are willing to travel 1.41 km for a 10-point improvement, while rural households are only willing to travel 1.08 km for the same improvement. Households with fewer children are willing to travel farther than households with more children, as are households with more male students than females.

Strong parental preferences for education quality are a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for effective ‘bottom-up’ accountability in situ­ations where choice mechanisms do not operate.
Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE)

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EDUCATION

by Naomi Rouse

UDSM’s Committee summons lecturer over sex corruption scandal tweet
A senior lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Dr Vicensia Shule, has attracted attention to the problem of sex corruption at the university, through a tweet directed at President Magufuli.

Dr Shule tweeted “Papa Magufuli, I wanted to welcome you by displaying my poster as you came to UDSM for inaugurating newly constructed library building but I stumbled at your security officers’ ban. Sex corruption is highly pervasive at the UDSM. I am waiting to hear from you for I trust that your appointees are honest enough to tell you the reality.”

UDSM’s Disciplinary Committee has called Dr Shule to a meeting to discuss the allegations, and she is hopeful of progress, tweeting to her followers “For our dear sexual violence survivors, we are nearly there, we will win, big time.” (Daily News)

Zanzibar’s education improves after years in the doldrums
Zanzibar form four pass rates improved by 1.3% to 78.4% in 2018.
In 2017, six of the worst performing schools nationally were in Zanzibar, whereas in 2018, three were in the ‘list of shame’.

The biggest factor contributing to poor performance is thought to be the shortage of teachers and classrooms. There is a shortage of 952 secondary school teachers in Zanzibar, and the current pupil teacher ratio is 1 teacher to 150 pupils.

Measures to improve the situation include a World Bank-funded programme – Zanzibar Improvement Students Prospective – to improve teaching of maths and science subjects. Schools have started academic camps for Form 4 and Form 6 students which they felt helped to improve students’ performance. Zanzibar also benefits from volunteer teachers from around the world, including UK, US, Japan, South Korea, and a specific government recruitment programme in Nigeria through which 50 volunteer teachers have been recruited since 2015.

Ben Bella Secondary School, founded in 1927, had appeared three times in the list of 5 worst-performing schools in the past five years. Ben Bella headmistress Zainab Mgunda said: “For effective teaching, you need to have a reasonable class size of 45 students as recommended by the government, but due to the shortage of classrooms it was in the past not unusual here to find a Form Six class of 150 students. As of now, the teacher-to-student ratio stands at 1:30. This is partly because the majority of students shifted to other schools due to reasons like suspensions and expulsions, which were instituted by the school to control lazy and indisciplined students”

Why students continue to perform poorly in maths
Despite general improvements in form four examinations over the years, mathematics has seen persistently poor performance with a pass rate of 20%, compared to a pass rate of 89% for Kiswahili, the subject with the highest performance. Shortage of teachers was cited as one of the primary reasons. Mathematics teacher Kitula Jalugula from Mlimwa Secondary School in Dodoma said that there was just one maths teacher employed in his school for more than 400 students.

Teachers also report that students have a perception that maths is a difficult subject, which hinders their learning. Students progress to secondary school without understanding basic mathematics, having passed multiple-choice papers more by luck. Teachers said that students needed to work harder to do more practice exercises, but they lack textbooks and home support. Parents could play a vital role in supporting students’ home study in mathematics, but many don’t because they also perceive the subject as very difficult.

Bukoba teacher to hang for murdering pupil
The High Court has sentenced Respicius Mtazangira (51) to hang to death. Mtazangira was found guilty of beating his Standard 5 pupil to death in 2018 after suspecting that the pupil had stolen a handbag. Co-accused Heriet Gerald was found not guilty.

Prosecution presented to the court various witnesses as well as a medical report from Bugando Referral Hospital which confirmed death by beating.
The case was concluded within 30 days, because of a request to accelerate proceedings due to public interest.

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EDUCATION

by Naomi Rouse

Outcry as boy, 13, dies after beating from teacher
Campaigners have urged the Tanzanian government to review corporal punishment in schools after a 13-year-old boy died following a beating by his teacher.

Sperius Eradius, from Kagera, died on 27 August a few days after the punishment, having been accused of stealing from another teacher.

The case is being investigated by Tanzania’s health ministry, while local media reported on Monday that two teachers had been charged with Sperius’ murder.

The case has provoked an outcry from campaigners, who said children are being subjected to degrading and violent punishments. Representatives from the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment and Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) said they hoped the case would bring an end to the use of such violence in schools.

Tanzania is one of a small number of African countries where corporal punishment is not banned in any setting. President John Magufuli has publicly stated his support for caning children. (The Guardian)

World Bank pulls $300m Tanzania loan over pregnant schoolgirl ban
The money, a significant proportion of funding totalling $500m awarded to Tanzania by the bank in 2018, was scheduled for approval last month to help to improve access to secondary education.

In a double blow, the World Bank announcement came on the same day that Denmark, Tanzania’s second biggest donor, said it was withholding $10m of aid funding due to concerns over human rights abuses and “unacceptable homophobic comments” by a government official.

Tanzanian schools routinely expel girls who become pregnant, who are thought to number about 8,000 a year. The practice dates back several decades but has intensified since President John Magufuli took office in 2015. Some schools have imposed compulsory pregnancy tests on girls.

A spokesman said: “Working with our partners, the World Bank will continue to advocate girls’ access to education through our dialogue with the Tanzanian government. The economic and social returns for girls finishing their education are very high in every society for both current and future generations.”

Tanzania has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in the world, with widespread sexual violence and girls exchanging sex for school fees, food and shelter, according to the UN.

The World Bank’s vice president for Africa, Dr Hafez Ghanem held talks with President John Magufuli early in December in an effort to resolve the issue.

Following this meeting, the state house issued a statement confirming that the World Bank finally agreed to release the loan. However, Dr Ghanem explained that the World Bank is working with the Tanzanian government to redesign the project, and that the government has agreed to find a solution so that the girls can go back to school. He said though the project start date was 30th October, the World Bank would delay as long as necessary to accommodate the agreements made with the government.

Dr Ghanem confirmed that the World Bank had also discussed the new Statistics Act with the government, saying “Statistics is our work. All our decisions and analyses are based on statistics, so if we don’t get reliable and credible statistics, we will be unable to do our work. We made this clear to the government and the government made it clear to us that they are open to discussions on modalities of dealing with this.”

An amendment to the statistics law would impose a fine, at least three years in jail, or both on those who questioned the accuracy of government figures.

Discussions with the government had also touched on the discrimination against the LGBTI community, but did not include a commitment from the government to guarantee human rights, freedom of the press and democracy, as Dr Ghanem said the World Bank cannot get involved in political questions, but focuses on development issues. Dr Ghanem also emphasised the importance of Tanzania creating a conducive environment for business investment and noted a worsening in the ease of doing business in the last two years, which meant Tanzania would be overtaken by other countries. (The Guardian, The Citizen)

The case for revisiting school funding
The capitation grant (a ‘per pupil’ allocation of funding for schools) was introduced in 2002 to provide an income for schools after the government abolished fees for primary schools. Disbursements began in 2013 but were not consistently disbursed until 2016.

The grant is supposed to be allocated with 30% for teaching equipment, 30% for facility repair, 20% for examinations, 10% for sports, and 10% for administration.

Actual disbursements remain below the proposed $10 per pupil (at the time this was equivalent to TSh 16,000). However, only TSh 10,000 per pupil was disbursed, of which TSh 4,000 went to regional government for text books.

Teachers from Mapanda, Mufindi interviewed by The Citizen said the funding was insufficient. They were receiving TSh 157,000 per month, out of which they needed to fund travel and an overnight stay in Mafinga to collect the money from the bank, as the government required the money to be collected and reported on monthly. The Mufindi District Primary Education Officer said that otherwise if the government was short of money and saw money in school accounts, the understanding would be that the district does not need those funds.

Teachers highlighted that the amounts were far too small to fund any meaningful repairs on the school (in the case of one teacher interviewed
– just TSh 47,000). Another teacher said that they had incurred debts as a result of borrowing to buy basic supplies like chalk. One teacher said “often we are forced to write exams on the board because we cannot afford printing”.

Education policy analyst Makumbu Mwenezi said that Tanzania would need to engage community contributions as in other developing countries, as the TSh 500 per pupil per month allocation would not be enough to cover basic education costs.

Studies by Twaweza show that the average amount per pupil received by schools fell to TSh 2,055 in 2015, but went up to TSh 5,247 in 2016. Twaweza commented that while the capitation grant had helped to raise enrolment rates and relieve an acute shortage of teaching and learning materials in schools, it still needed to be increased significantly to lead to any meaningful changes in quality of learning. The Permanent Secretary for Education said they were in discussions with the President’s Office, Regional and Local Government and the Ministry of Finance and Planning to increase funding for education. (The Citizen)

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EDUCATION

by Naomi Rouse

New survey highlights shifting public views on education
Twelve years ago, around half of respondents in a public opinion survey thought that it would be better to have free schooling, even if the qual­ity of education was low. Since the introduction of free basic education, there has been a significant shift in public opinion, and a clear majority (87%) now think it would be “better to raise education standards, even if we have to pay fees”.

For the survey respondents, cost is a much lower concern than quality when choosing schools for their children. Only 6% of respondents said they would consider cost, whereas 72% said they were influenced by exam results and teacher motivation.

More than half of parents (53%) had made contributions of money, materials or labour to school constructions in the past year.

Many parents see themselves as primarily responsible for their chil­dren’s learning (52%) and 46% of parents said that teachers bear the primary responsibility. Almost no parents mentioned anyone in gov­ernment as being responsible for learning. (The Guardian)

Fresh plan to screen teachers
In June, the Ministry of Education tabled the Tanzania Teachers’ Professional Board Bill for a first reading in parliament, to improve regulation of teaching. The new education board will have nine mem­bers appointed by the Minister for Education, Science and Technology, which will include a registrar responsible for registering teachers and keeping records on them.

The penalty proposed in the new bill for working as a teacher without registration is a fine of between TSh 500,000 and TSh 1 million, and imprisonment for up to a year, or both. The new board will have con­trol of both private and public schools, in contrast with the Teachers Service Commission which currently only oversees teachers from public schools. Stakeholders welcomed the move, which has been under dis­cussion for a long time. (The Citizen)

Teacher : student ratio still a concern
Government data shows that primary school teachers in parts of Tanzania attend to as many as 180 pupils in a single classroom, with a huge disparity between urban and rural areas.

Government data shows a shortage of 47,151 teachers in primary schools across the country, with 66% of schools surpassing the 1:40 pupil teacher ratio. Considered regionally, just three regions had a pupil teacher ratio below the national average, which were Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Kilimanjaro.

Kasulu District in Kigoma region had the worst overall district pupil teacher ratio, at an average of 102. Plans were in place to employ 10,140 new primary school teachers in June. (The Citizen)

Number of HESLB loan recipients hits 40,000
The Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) has increased the number of loan beneficiaries by 7,000 this year, to reach 40,000 new students. TSh 427 billion has been allocated for higher education loans, with priority given to those pursuing courses with shortage of experts and those in line with the country’s industrialisation policy. (The Citizen)

No study loans for students from wealthy families, reiterates Magufuli
President John Magufuli has reiterated that the government will not give higher education study loans to children from wealthy families.

“The government is facing a lot of challenges in educating our children, and it’s even sad that a report shows that at least 3,500 ghost students accessed loans, while thousands of others had finished studies but have been elusive in paying back their loans.”

Dr Magufuli made the remarks at Mkwawa University in Iringa Region, highlighting the government is spending over TSh 23.8 billion every month on free education.

Government reacts to uproar over new HESLB loan terms
Education stakeholders are up in arms over the government’s decision to use the business licences of parents or guardians as a condition for granting higher education loans. The move is intended to help in estab­lishing the income of students’ parents or guardians.

The Deputy Minister for Education called up on the public to ignore reports that a student whose parents or guardians have no business licence wouldn’t qualify for a loan. Some MPs had also raised this con­cern, saying that the policy would discriminate against small traders without licences. The Deputy Minister stated that “We want to assure the public that we only use business licences to determine the actual income of students’ parents and not otherwise”. (The Citizen)

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EDUCATION

by Naomi Rouse

JPM spits fire on arbitrary ‘contributions’ in schools.
A strong statement was made by President Magufuli in January threat­ening to fire any officials who breach the free education policy, intro­duced in 2014. The President had received reports of students sent away for not paying contributions demanded by schools for desks, meals, and lab construction.

The President felt that this situation was inexcusable given that the gov­ernment releases TSh 23.9 billion (£7.3 million) every month to fund free basic education up to Form Four. “To the ministers: I don’t want to hear about students being sent away for failing to pay these contributions.

Relay this message to regional commissioners, district commissioners, district executive directors and all other government officials. A recur­rence of this will automatically mean being fired.”

Officials were ordered to ensure that any contributions paid be returned to parents and students be allowed to resume classes immediately. The President ordered that if parents did make any voluntary contributions in future, these should be submitted to the District Executive Directors rather than school heads. The Minister for Education also asked for a report on all schools asking for contributions. (IPP Media)

Tanzania introduced fee free education in 2015, but the UNESCO Global Monitoring Report has found that cost still remains a barrier in plenty of countries providing free education.

Magufuli said: “It makes no sense for the government to remove the school fees and yet for teachers to decide to introduce contributions that poor parents can’t afford to pay for their children”.

GEM welcomes this key step in making sure the free education policy is implemented in practice and ensuring that the poorest children in Tanzania can access education.

Global monitoring data shows that in general, the poorest countries contribute the most to education expenditure. While in high income countries, families contribute just 18% of total education expenditure, this rises to a third in low income countries in general, and 63% in neighbouring Uganda.

Within Tanzania, as in many countries, the poorest children are the most likely to be out of school. Only 3% of the richest children have never been to school compared to 33% of the poorest. Responsibility for implementing fee free education lies at the school level, and the President is holding the sector to account for this. (World Education Blog – Global Education Monitoring Report)

“Punishment won’t stop teenage pregnancies,” because bad behav­iour isn’t the cause
Tanzania’s harsh approach to teen pregnancies isn’t working. According to government data, the number of pregnancies in girls aged between 15 – 19 increased from 23% in 2010 to 27% in 2015, and is higher than 20 years ago.
Pregnant girls are routinely expelled from school and most recently this punitive approach was taken to extremes when school girls were arrested and told they may be forced to testify in court as to who got them pregnant. The idea that girls who get pregnant have broken unwritten social rules about respectability, and therefore must be wilful and badly behaved, provides authorities with a rationale for punishing girls and their families for pregnancies. This narrative must be chal­lenged.

But veering in the other direction by describing girls as “victims” ignores that there may be reasons why they engage in risky relation­ships. Teenage pregnancy in Tanzania cannot be reduced to either ‘bad behaviour’ or ‘exploitation’. Research by Kate Pinock of the University of Oxford with Tanzanian schoolgirls highlights the complex dynamics of power, respectability and authority.

Kate says: “Often with the best of intentions about protecting girls’ sta­tus in their communities, authority figures (such as parents and teach­ers) reinforce social norms about respect, deference and “goodness” which can make it difficult for girls to assert themselves in relationships. Their stories were in sharp contrast to the dominant representation of girls’ sexuality as problematic and victimised. Girls spoke about sex and relationships not in terms of fear or passivity, but in relation to other hurdles and opportunities they faced. Poverty, male teachers, issues of respectability and community all shaped their experiences of sexuality.”

The pressure to achieve at school pushed girls into relationships with male teachers (for grades) or boyfriends who would pay for school sup­plies and food in return for their affections. The important thing was that this happened in secret and therefore did not affect girls’ reputa­tions. But the clandestine nature of the arrangements means that there are no real opportunities for girls to seek information about preventing pregnancy. Using contraceptives or even talking about sex was seen as “bad behaviour”.

Girls already find ways to navigate repressive norms about their sexual­ity. With the right support and knowledge, they may be able to push back against them. It requires de-stigmatising conversations about sexuality and affirming girls so that they can pursue respectful and safe relationships. (TheConversation.com)

Minister lauds China for vast UDSM library facility

The new UDSM library currently under construction (BUAM architects)


The Chinese government has invested 90bn TSh (£27.6 million) in a state of the art library for the University of Dar es Salaam which will benefit nearly 800,000 students. The structure combines the library and the Confucius Institute, which teaches Chinese language and culture at the university.

UDSM Vice Chancellor, Professor William Anangisye said the library will help realise UDSM’s dream of becoming a world class university. Minister for Education, Professor Joyce Nadlichako, said the library is bigger than any other in Africa. It is hoped that the library will improve student performance and university research, as well as giving students the opportunity to interact socially and academically with China, as one of the major global economic powerhouses.
The project has been delivered by Chinese construction firm, Jiangsu Jiangdu. The Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania Wang Ke said that the Chinese government is happy to see Tanzania developing in all spheres and the government is eager to continue to support Tanzania’s social development.
It is expected that the library will be completed in July, 2018.

Mkapa voices dismay over national education ‘crisis’
Speaking at the ceremony for the investiture of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Dodoma, former President Mkapa said that the concerns of the public and higher learning institutions about the poor quality of education in the country needed to be taken seriously. He said these include concerns about language, and lack of cooperation among education providers.

Mkapa recommended that an all-inclusive dialogue was needed to work out what is wrong and how to correct it.

On his record as outgoing chancellor of University of Dodoma, Mkapa said that enrolment had increased from 1,272 at its inception in 2007 to 10,000 at present. UDOM is currently ranked the second-best university in the country after the University of Dar es Salaam.

Newly appointed vice chancellor Professor Egid Mubofu said he wanted to improve facilities for research and pledged to construct two colleges of natural sciences and mathematics and earth sciences. (IPP Media)

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PREGNANT SCHOOLGIRLS – MORE CHALLENGES

When President Magufuli announced early in 2017 that schoolgirls who get pregnant would no longer be allowed to return to school after giving birth, there was an outcry among gender activists and others (see TA 118).

These protests did not succeed in changing the President’s mind, however, and the new policy remains unchanged. Moreover, two other recent developments threaten to create more challenges for schoolgirls.

First, in his Independence Day speech the President announced he was going to pardon two convicted child rapists, the singers Nguza Viking, known as Babu Seya, and his son Johnson Nguza, known as Papii Kocha. Their conviction dated back to 2003, when they were found guilty of raping ten girls aged 6-8 years. After the pardon, the pair were released almost immediately, having served 13 years and have since paid a visit to the President at State House.

It has long been believed by many in Tanzania, particularly young people, that Babu Seya and his son were framed in retribution for actions that caused the then Minister of Foreign Affairs (and later President) Jakaya Kikwete to take great personal offence. During the election campaign in 2015, the leading opposition presidential candidate, Edward Lowassa of Chadema, called for their release. The president’s move is seen as a nod to this strand of public opinion. It also has the effect of suggesting, without ever saying so explicitly, that the current President believes the rumours, and differentiates his “firm hand” style of leadership from the perceived “bend-the-rules” approach of his predecessors.

However, there is little or no evidence to support this conspiracy claim, and the court that convicted the two singers in 2003 heard from a large number of witnesses including children and medical experts. The conviction was later upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The pardon drew praise from some quarters and criticism from others. The President received cheers from the crowd as he announced the decision in Dodoma, and much of the reaction on social media has been in support of his decision.

However, opposition MP, Zitto Kabwe, posted a series of tweets on twitter: “So we must believe street rumours instead of competent authorities? Then we will be a banana republic. … Same President ordered pregnant girls not to go back to school after delivery. … This is the message the president sends to girl child of Tanzania. … I am appalled by his decision to pardon convicted rapists.”

Petrider Paul, of Youth for Change, in Tanzania, said the pardons sent a “terrible” message to perpetrators of sexual violence and devalued their victims. “It is unfair to the victims of these crimes and it sends a bad message to perpetrators that they can get away with it,” she said.

Around the same time, the Regional Commissioner of Mwanza, John Mongella, called for pregnant schoolgirls to be arrested, “so that they will be forced to reveal the names of those who impregnated them”. At the opposite end of the country, in Tandahimba District, Mtwara Region, several pregnant girls were later arrested together with their parents and pressed to reveal names. The fathers are said to have gone into hiding.

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EDUCATION

by Naomi Rouse

PM invites proposals on education policy
The government has invited ideas to reshape education to better contribute to national development goals. “Tanzania Towards Industrialisation” under the theme: ‘Rethinking Education for Self-Reliance Policy.’ At a national symposium, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said “The government is ready to receive suggestions from experts, stakeholders and members of the general public on restructuring of our education system to match our current development goals to transform Tanzania into an industrial economy.” The symposium comes amid increasing demand for serious reflection on the state of education, and public discontent with performance of formal education at all levels. (Daily News)

Free education sees sharp rise in exam candidates
There was a significant rise in the number of Form 2 and Form 4 exam candidates this year, attributed to the increased retention of students after the Free Education Policy. The number of Form 2 candidates increased by 86,780 to 521,855, of which nearly 52% were girls. The number of Form 4 candidates increased by 141,779 to 1,195,970. (The Citizen)

Girls shine in Standard 7 exam as overall pass rate increases
Overall passes increased by 2 percentage points this year, to 72.76%. A total of 662,035 registered candidates out of 909,950 pupils, who sat for the Primary School Leaving Examination this year passed. 70% of girls taking the exam passed and 75% of boys. 10 candidates were disqualified for cheating. (The Citizen)

Sanitary pads fund will help girls realise their dreams
Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) is leading the call for the government to establish a fund for providing sanitary products to girls. Research by TGNP shows that girls are missing between three and seven days of school every month due to inadequate sanitary provision. “It is a huge concern,” said Ms Grace Kisetu, Activism and Movement Building Manager at TGNP. “There are no sanitary towels, even locally made ones, to help these children, most of whom come from poor households, and some of whom experience their menstrual period for the first time,” she noted. Besides lacking adequate funds, she says public schools across the country also lacked pain killers for delivery to needy pupils. A resident of Kipunguni, Mr Suleiman Bishangazi, suggested that the government should allocate 5 cents from the sale of a litre of fuel to a special fund for schoolgirls’ sanitary pads across the country. Mr Bishangazi expressed optimism that the arrangement would have positive outcomes similar to the ones related to rural electrification, water supply and road constructions. The net result, he said, would be assuring thousands of children of learning opportunities. (Daily News)

UDSM gets new Vice Chancellor as Prof Mukandala retires
President John Magufuli has appointed Professor William Anangisye to succeed Professor Mukandala as Vice Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam. Prof Anangisye was previously Principal of Dar es Salaam University College of Education. (The Citizen)

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EDUCATION

by Naomi Rouse

Schoolgirls at Zanaki Primary School, Dar es Salaam (Sara Farhart/World Bank)

Civil Society ready to challenge the President on controversial education policy
The unequivocal statement by President Magufuli banning pregnant girls and young mothers from attending school is a setback for the ‘re-entry’ policy that had gained growing momentum in recent years. However, Tanzanian civil society and others are mobilising to oppose the ban.

The familiar arguments have been brought out: a breakdown in morality, an epidemic of pregnancies and classrooms full of pregnant girls, if you start to allow any young mothers to return to school. One CCM MP, Mr Keisy, envisaged a slippery slope towards liberalism: “We are supposed to be firm on these issues otherwise we will find ourselves approving same-sex marriage”. On the other hand, civil society organisations are highlighting girls’ vulnerability and prevalence of forced sex, girls’ constitutional rights to education, and the benefits to the whole community if pregnant girls are allowed to continue their education.

There is not an overt religious element to the debate, though one MP argued that “all religions are against this… after all, we have stringent legislation on this issue, why are we diverting from it? Why should we jail amorous men, but allow errant girls back to school?”

Opinions have not been split on gender lines, with some male politicians speaking out in support of the re-entry policy, and high-profile women opposing it, including former First Lady Salma Kikwete. However sexist arguments abound in the debate. One CCM MP challenged women MPs to tell the house if they started to engage in sexual activity while still in school. President Magufuli himself said the country would “reach a time when all the pupils in a class will be mothers and when it is time for learning they will need to go to breast-feed their children at their home”.

Salma Kikwete is perhaps a surprising opponent of girls returning to school, having established a high-profile women’s rights foundation, WAMA (Wanawake Maendeleo), with the mantra “treat every child as your own.”

Ms Nyimbo (Special Seats – CCM) pointed out in the parliamentary debate, political opposition to the re-entry policy is hypocritical because of vast disparities of wealth and power. “The fact is that if the daughter of an MP or any other well-to-do person gets pregnant while in school, chances are that that will not be the end of their educational journey. They are sure to be sent back to school after giving birth. Why should we lock out girls from poor families? How can we end the vicious cycle of poverty? Let’s be fair.”

There is a lot at stake. 55,000 girls are officially recognised to have left school due to pregnancy in the past decade, though this is likely to be significantly under-estimated. The most recent Tanzania Demographic Health Survey shows that 27 out of 100 girls in Tanzania have become pregnant by the age of 18. It is in no one’s interest to exclude girls from education, given the powerful benefits of education for girls’ income, family size and their ability to care for their families. In addition to the very pressing issue of sexual violence against girls, the question of reproductive health services for young people is still the elephant in the room.

Magufuli’s insistence that young mothers will never be allowed back to school while he is in power is a real test for Tanzanian civil society. A group of 26 organisations issued a joint statement against the ban, including one representing a further 50 member organisations. This is a sign that civil society action is better coordinated and has a stronger and more unified voice than in the past, but it could be a tough fight.

STOP PRESS: Policy draws criticism from African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
On 03 August 2017, the ACHPR Commissioner Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the United Republic of Tanzania and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, together with the Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, transmitted a Joint Letter of Appeal to the President of the United Republic of Tanzania regarding the statement made on 22 June 2017 to the effect that pregnant girls and teen mothers will not be allowed to attend school. The Joint Letter of Appeal expressed the view of the Commission and Committee that this statement runs the risk of undermining the right to education and the right to equality of girls, and urged the State to fulfil its obligations concerning these rights in terms of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

Summary of media coverage of the issue

MPs split on proposal to allow teenage mothers back to school
Parliament was divided on the proposal to allow young mothers back to school. The Social Services and Community Development Committee and the Opposition party are pushing for a change in the policy. Former First Lady Salma Kikwete was one of the high profile opponents of the policy. Support for the policy emphasised girls’ welfare whereas those opposing the policy urged the importance of maintaining an ‘ethical society’ and protecting Tanzania’s culture and customs, which prohibit sex before marriage. (The Citizen)

JPM: No going back to school once you become a mother
Speaking at a ceremony to open the new Bagamoyo-Msata road, President Magufuli spoke out against allowing girls back to school, on the grounds that this would encourage other girls to be sexually active without worrying about the consequences. Magufuli dismissed the advocacy work of NGOs and said that they should open their own schools for pregnant girls, and that the government would never accept the girls back in government schools. (The Guardian)

Women react to Magufuli’s pregnant schoolgirl ban

An online petition has been set up and a pan African Women’s organisation is mobilising to get Magufuli to apologise and reverse his comments regarding education of young mothers.
Jackie Lomboma, spoke out about her personal experiences, saying “It is a big disappointment to hear such a statement from our President”. Jackie became pregnant when she trusted a boy who promised to ask his parents to help fund her secondary education. She was kicked out of school and home, later getting the chance to go back to school. She has since set up a centre for teenage mothers in Morogoro. (The Guardian)

Opposition Coalition faults JPM stance on pregnant schoolgirls
Shadow Minister for Education, Science and Vocational Training, Suza Lyimo said she has been saddened by the president’s statement because all students had a constitutional right to education. She said they have been advocating the matter for several years, and there is already a government document explaining how pregnant girls should be allowed back to school. Zambia and Kenya have approved similar policies, and the Deputy Minister for Education had previously informed the National Assembly that the government was working on guidelines on the matter.
But President Magufuli said that the debate was closed, and the government would never allow young mothers back into school while he is in office. (The Guardian)

Teen mothers: what JPM ban portend for girls
In response to the parliamentary debate about the education of young mothers, the Citizen profiled the story of a young girl who at the age of 8 had gone to Dar es Salaam under the promise of being given an education, but ended up working as a house girl. Her neighbour offered to take care of her, but after several months said he could not take care of her for free, as she was not a relative. He made her pregnant when she was 12, and she enrolled in the MEMKWA programme in 2014, but the article highlights that some officials are even applying Magufuli’s ban to MEMKWA classes. (The Citizen)

“After getting pregnant you are done” – no more school for Tanzania’s mums-to-be
Civil society organisations are mobilising in response to Magufuli’s ban on educating young mothers. A 2013 report from the Centre for Reproductive Rights says that 55,000 pregnant girls have been expelled from school in the last decade. Equality now is supporting a coalition of over 20 organisations who have issued a joint statement against the ban. They cited success from Zanzibar where girls have returned to school without any evidence of an increase in pregnancies as a result of allowing girls back, and called for measures to address violence against girls which is a major cause of teen pregnancy. (The Guardian, UK)

Joint statement by coalition of civil society organisations on re-entry to school for girls after they have given birth
Twaweza published a joint statement from 26 organisations in support of the education of young mothers. The statement cites public opinion from Sauti za Wananchi surveys, showing 71% in favour of pregnant girls returning to school as well as referencing existing government policies which support the education of pregnant girls. The statement also highlights the prevalence of forced sex, quoting research which shows that 3 out of 10 girls are forced in their first sexual experience.
(Twaweza)

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