EDUCATION

by Anne Samson
[All extracts from The Citizen except where noted]

Fallout from Form IV examinations
The re-marking of the Form IV examinations, conducted in May, resulted in a small improvement in the pass rate. The proportion of candidates classified in Divisions 1-4 rose from 35% to 44% (from 126,847 students to 159,747). The enquiry organised by Prime Minister Pinda into the poor examination performance is still to report its findings publicly.

The Tanzanian NGO Twaweza conducted a survey of 2,000 people after the Form IV results were released. The research revealed that 32% of respondents had not heard of the Form IV results, and that the absence of textbooks and teachers not attending classes was the cause of the poor results. Even if teachers did attend class, they handed out an assignment and left without teaching. It concluded that ‘the government and teach­ers were to blame’.

The Legal and Human Rights Centre 2012 report found that the quality of education was deteriorating and that there was ‘an acute shortage of teachers’.

The deputy minister for education has called for the re-introduction of corporal punishment. This has been criticised by Save the Children and the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance.

There is concern that some of the four hundred Division IV students who have places in overseas colleges may not be going to bona fide uni­versities. Those who failed the recent exams should have access to edu­cation to improve so as not to be caught out by institutions only inter­ested if they can pay. Ten thousand Form V places have not been filled as a consequence of the poor results. Only students achieving Division I to III can progress, with those getting Division IV being allowed a resit, and some schools have reportedly had to close.

Form VI Results
On 3 June it was announced that of the 51,611 candidates who sat the examination, 87.85% passed. Of these, 35,743 achieved between Division I and III to qualify for university entrance. The success was attributed to the ‘sheer determination, self-motivation and focus’ of the students to overcome the inadequacies of the facilities available to them.

Higher Education
The Higher Education Student Loans Board (HESLB) has blacklisted more than 68,000 graduates for defaulting on their loan repayments and forwarded their names to the Credit Reference Bureau. (24Tanzania.com)

The Vice Chancellor of Teofilo Ksanji University, Mbeya, was locked in his office during July as students demanded the ‘release of money meant for their practical training’ which was due to start after the completion of their examinations. The delay in the release of funds was apparently due to the late payment of the fees by the Higher Education Students’ Loan Board.

Education budget
The government announced in June that it had spent TSh76.4 billion on textbooks for primary and secondary schools as part of efforts to improve education. Capitation grants of more than TSh82 billion had also been disbursed, TSh60 billion for primary schools and TSh22 bil­lion for secondary schools.

In December 2012 there were 171,986 primary and 51,469 secondary school teachers of whom 27,693 (13,633 primary and 14,060 secondary) teachers were newly employed. Teachers were being sent to “far-flung areas” through various initiatives, but a shortage of science teachers remains. TSh20 billion has been set aside for teachers’ houses across 40 district councils.

Despite the issues surrounding education and expectations that there would be an increase in the education budget, a decrease of 4.8% was announced, with TSh690 billion being allocated compared to TSh724 billion last year.

Teacher education
To address the shortage of teachers, agreements will be entered into with other countries in the East African Community. Tanzania needs at least 26,000 science teachers but the universities only produce 2,200 teachers with degrees and diplomas each year.

The government will introduce training for head teachers and introduce a professional board for teachers.

A 3R (reading, writing and arithmetic) assessment will be introduced in grade 2 and teacher training to ensure students master basic skills in early grades. This is part of the Big Results Now initiative. (Daily News)

The Public Service Recruitment Secretariat discovered, after receiving a tip-off, that almost 700 applicants for public service jobs had sent in forged certificates during 2012/13.

Curriculum
MP James Mbatia (NCCR-Mageuzi) accused the government of not hav­ing a national curriculum in place for primary education. This has led to a heated debate amongst interested parties. A small survey in Kigoma Region by The Citizen revealed “a number of setbacks to primary school education foundation in the country”. The consensus appears to be that education has been affected by politics with the result that educators are not consulted about changes. The quality of textbooks was identified as a further issue.

Education materials
The Education Materials Approval Committee (EMAC) was disbanded in early June because of corrupt practices. It will be replaced with “another strong organ”. All textbooks approved by EMAC will be reviewed “to ensure any mistakes were corrected”. Mbatia is calling for “those responsible for the mess” to be prosecuted.

School inspectorate
A parliamentary committee has suggested that government introduce an independent education inspection agency charged with ensur­ing quality education in both primary and secondary schools, as the Education Inspection Department had “failed to effectively perform its duties” due to the lack of adequate financial resources. The committee suggested that TSh10 billion be set aside for inspection purposes in the next financial year. In 2011/12, 3,061 out of 7,200 targeted primary school were inspected (42.5%) and 935 out of 2,100 secondary schools (43.3%). The failure of the inspectorate was part of the cause of the 70% failure rate in education over the last ten years.

The ministry of education has suggested that schools be ranked using the Leaving School Examination results from primary and secondary and that a school incentive schemes be introduced to improve educa­tion.

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