by Anne Samson

Primary school exam results
On 4 November, the National Examinations Council (NECTA) announced the Standard VII results. These showed that half of the pupils who sat this year’s primary school examinations had passed; this was an increase of 20% compared to last year. The pass marks for the core subjects were low: Mathematics 27%, English 33% and Sciences 46%. 427,606 out of 844,938 candidates scored above 100 out of 250. 13 pupils had their results nullified due to cheating, compared to 293 last year.

This was the second year of electronic marking. NECTA had sample papers to check for accuracy, which showed that the computer marking was more accurate than manual marking. Other benefits included 16 days of marking compared to 30 days and 300 staff were used in comparison to 4,000 in previous years. (Citizen)

O-level results
The 2012 Form IV exam results remain in the news as the report of the Prime Minister’s special commission is not yet in the public domain. The Citizen reported on 22 October that outdated questions, poor marking, inadequate time, lack of testing skills among those tasked to set exam questions and the removal of national Form Two exams in 2009 were among the key factors that caused the massive failure during the 2012 Form Four national exams. The next day MPs were calling for the release of the report, which had been handed to Prime Minister Pinda in June. Professor Sifuni Mchoma, who led the enquiry and has since been appointed Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, stated that the challenges facing education are due to “poor performance by workers at the Ministry of Education …. teachers’ problems and school curriculums”. (Daily News, Citizen)

In November, the Government announced that a new system of grading would be introduced for secondary school students. The final exam will count for 60% of the final result with 40% determined from continuous assessment or coursework. The changes were implemented with immediate effect on the day Form IV students started their exams. 15 marks out of the total 40 will be earned from the National Form Two Examinations and 10 marks in Form Three, with two terms each generating five marks. During the Form Four mock examinations, students can earn up to 10 marks, with the other five marks from the project, thus completing the 40 marks for course work.” (Citizen)

“Big Results Now”
The World Bank has promised to support the Tanzanian government in improving the quality of primary and secondary education through its “Big Results Now” initiative. The US $100 million “Programme for Results” will start in 2014 and run through to 2018. The funding will be used for training teachers, ranking schools according to performance and providing incentives to schools. (Daily News)

Other News
An initiative to improve education, sponsored by Samsung as part of its “Tanzania beyond Tomorrow” programme, will support children between the ages of 3 and 9 in learning Kiswahili. It is called Tichaa and engages children to learn the words of common objects.

In September, it was estimated that 10,000 teachers faced deportation from Tanzania as they were working illegally. (Citizen)

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