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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