by Anne Samson

The government is continuing with plans to improve the quality of education. Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Mr Philipo Mulugo, said at the launch of the Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow (TBT) Programme that ‘The government is committed to improving education and life skills in our community through technology so that people are better equipped to compete in the global labour market. ’The five-year TBT programme, in partnership with Camara International Organisation, is set to start in 2013 with Camara initially providing 30,000 computers at ‘affordable prices’. The aim is to equip teachers with capacity and knowledge in the use of computers. Fifty five schools in Dar es Salaam should see computers next year (Daily News).

The Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority is to sponsor 17 students at university this year as part of the government’s investment in information technology education (Citizen). Science education also dominates. The new Josiah Kibira University, Bukoba, ‘aims at supporting the government in mitigating the shortage of secondary school science teachers’ by training 400 teachers (Daily News). United African University of Tanzania is developing Electrical Engineering programmes and asks parents to encourage their children to ‘venture into science subjects’ (Daily News) Deputy Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Mr January Makamba, noted that Tanzania needs a policy ‘that allows and recognises student’s talents and creativities to promote innovation’ (Guardian).

300 Mtwara and Lindi youths are to benefit from a project sponsored by VSO and the British oil and gas exploration company BG. The two-year project, involving VETA, will see 24 persons trained to build human resource capacity and create jobs in the area (Citizen). Uranium mining company Mantra Tanzania, waiting to receive its operating licence, has pledged to support education by sponsoring initiatives for students. It funded the recent Tanzania Schools Exhibition in Dar es Salaam (Daily News).

The Zanzibar government is to buy more desks for pupils while development partners help to build schools. Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, Ms Mwanaidi Saleh, said ‘each district will have at least one modern school with a computer room, a library, and a laboratory’ (Daily News).

French – the Tanzania Institute of Adult Education will co-ordinate a project establishing French language resource centres throughout Tanzania as part of a project with the French Embassy. The aim is to improve the level of French and address the shortage of French teachers in the country. Fifteen French language inspectors received training in Reunion (Citizen).

At an award ceremony of honorary doctorates to Mr Godfrey Sabas Ngaleya and Bishop Mathias Rueben Ng’andu, Morogoro Regional Director, Mr Joel Bendera, acknowledged how far education has developed in Tanzania since Uhuru. He stated: ‘People may have their different views, including the demand for quality education, but the fact remains that this country has made tremendous strides. If we didn’t have the ward secondary schools, where would all those children who passed their primary examination be today?’ Mr Ngaleya’s 2005 book on entrepreneurship is to become a standard textbook in schools. (Daily News)

However, on 11 October Salma Maoulidi contributed a piece to the Daily News on how education today compared with the aim of the 1977 constitution to remove the class divide amongst Tanzanians. She concluded: ‘that there is no Minister, Principal Secretary, MP, RC or DC who sends their child to a ward school. If national leaders, who make and implement policy, don’t want to subscribe in deed to policies they pass, or swear to uphold, why should the common person be expected to stomach the same?’

In launching the new Annual Teachers Awards Ceremony,the chairman of the Education and Expedition Agency Association, Emmanuel Mjema, challenged the government ‘to provide direct financial incentives to teachers in public and private schools countrywide so as to help improve the country’s education standard.’ The first ceremony was on 25 November (Guardian).

A study by Haki Elimu and the University of Dar es Salaam entitled ‘Are students failing national examinations or are national examinations failing students?’ reported that ‘There is evidence that the curriculum is poorly implemented because the majority of teachers do not fully understand the requirements of the curriculum. The teaching and learning environments are also generally poor…..While the content of the curriculum seems to be competent based, the assessment procedures are not wholly based on this philosophy.’ Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Training, Mr Celestine Gesimba, rejected the findings, stating that the Institute of Education was better qualified to conduct the research as ‘they are the experts in this area [of curriculum]’ (Citizen).

At a conference to publicise the findings of the four year Pedagogy and Leadership Project, Education Commissioner in the Ministry of Education and Training, Ms Eustella Bhalalusse, encouraged those attending to use the findings to improve the quality of teaching English. The study,which involved the University of Dar es Salaam and which ran from 2009 to 2012, took place in four urban Primary schools in Manzese ward, Kinondoni District (Daily News).

Korogwe Council is to implement a programme of inspections to ensure that education is being delivered as it should be and to achieve a pass rate above 95%. The focus of the inspections will be discipline, ensuring teachers are at school teaching on time and that they are adhering to the curriculum (Citizen).

The government rejected a proposal by budget partners that they directly fund social-related projects. ‘Donors could not set priorities for Tanzania’ and monitoring such funding would prove difficult. However ‘government and donor parties agreed to enhance the dialogue on results.’ Budget support for 2012/3 is just under $500 million (Citizen).

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