by Anne Samson
The past few months have seen concerns raised about education in Tanzania and announcements by government and others on what is being done to improve the situation.
Anthony Tambwe (Daily News 8 July) was concerned about the state of education and the impact this will have on Tanzania’s involvement in the East African Federation. His concern reiterated those raised by Haki-Elimu during May, in particular about the number of young people not achieving. The underlying issue is felt to be the curriculum, which is ‘not effective enough to producing competent graduates in various capacities’.
Two days later, the UK Guardian reported the finding of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact that DfID’s aid programme in Tanzania was too focused on enrolment numbers and not enough on quality of learning. Other comments by Haki-Elimu on Youtube http://goo.gl/X4S9t. Taweza too, has put out a short video on the importance of teachers http://goo.gl/D3mvE.
The World Bank has banned deals with two wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Oxford University Press (OUP) – OUP East Africa Limited and OUP Tanzania. The three years’ ban follows OUP’s acknowledgement of ‘misconduct’ by its two subsidiaries in relation to two World Bank-financed education projects in East Africa. Various groups, including the Tanzania Teachers Union, have called for an investigation to identify who was involved.
The European Union and education
The EU signed agreements with Tanzania in July covering six areas of development work. Significantly, education does not feature. The one statement concerning education was that ‘Notable results in 2011 included the delivery of annual capitation grants of Tshs 25,000 per student to all government secondary schools’. (http://world.einnews.com/article/106205564, 20/7)
The importance of education continues to be recognised through various initiatives. National Microfinance Bank has announced a Financial Fitness Programme to encourage savings for education as part of their corporate social responsibility agenda (Daily News 21/5)
Briefly mentioned in the previous TA was somatanzania.org, an online portal to support education in Tanzania. This site has continued as a central contact for information on schools for Tanzanians and for people wanting to volunteer, including links to English support.
A South Korean NGO, Good Neighbours Tanzania, has spent $60,000 on constructing a state-of-the-art community centre at Kijitonyama Kisiwani Primary School, in Dar es Salaam. It will be open to the general public as well as pupils of the school with the aim of re-invigorating a reading culture to improve learning – The Citizen.
The Koreans are also involved in opening a new university, the United African University of Tanzania. Its first 120 students start in January 2013 and will study Computer Engineering and Business Administration. The university has been founded by a church in Korea and expects the curriculum to broaden in 2015 – Daily News.
Germany is also involved in developing two existing universities with a focus on health care – The Citizen.
Taweza has proposed three ‘experiments’to improve learning outcomes, deliver capitation grants better and ‘testing local cash on delivery.’ The basic idea is to pay a set amount for every child achieving proficiency in early grade literacy and numeracy, in contrast with an input- based incentive such as the capitation grant. The idea has been developed in consultation with the Center for Global Development, the Jameel Poverty Action Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Tanzania government, local MPs and the Teachers’ Trade Union – Daily News.
Vice President Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal launched the ‘Tanzania 21st Century Basic Education Structure in Mtwara’. The purpose of the USAID project is to develop primary education in Mtwara Region, using information and technology. Dr Bilal noted that statistics collated by the Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) indicate that ‘Tanzania’s education structure was the best compared to other countries’ structures’ and is among the top 15 countries performing well in mathematics. Tanzania was also the best in terms of education research. Dr Bilal asked education stakeholders to consider improving primary education tests ‘as most of the tests still posed setbacks towards better development of primary education.’ Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa said the project would help in the implementation of phase III (2012-2016) MMEM based on the development of primary education.’
In July, Mtwara was again the focus of a new initiative, this one launched by Mrs Diane Corner, British High Commissioner to Tanzania. The project aims at providing employment opportunities for young people. Assisted by seven VSO professional volunteers, it will focus on raising standards in eight areas: English, food preparation, plumbing, welding, carpentry, motor vehicle maintenance and electrical installation and maintenance. – The Citizen
People with money
The Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Education, Khassim Majaliwa, announced that President Kikwete, in allowing ‘people with money’ to invest in education, will ensure that ‘education graduates are assured of employment’. About 13,000 teachers have been deployed in various secondary schools across the country and it is anticipated that about 85 per cent of the over 37,000 shortfall of teachers would be solved. The Government plans to ensure 1:1 ratio text book availability by 2013, science teaching is to be emphasised and accommodation for girls will be given priority – Daily News.