by Naomi Rouse

Tanzanian schools face shortage of 80,000 teachers
Deputy Minister of State, Mr Waitara responded to questioning from a Mwanga District CCM representative about how the government plans to fill the acute shortage of teachers in his District. Mr Waitara said that the country is currently short of 66,000 primary teachers and 44,000 secondary school teachers, and that during May 4,549 new teachers had been recruited, of which 26 were assigned to Mwanga District.

According to UNESCO, Tanzania is among the top ten countries with teacher shortages, and needs to recruit 406,600 teachers by 2030. (The Citizen)

National Examination Council of Tanzania releases 2019 Form Six results
91,298 candidates registered for the exam, of which 42% were female and 58% were male.

The pass rate had gone up by 0.74% from 97.6% in 2018 to 98.3% in 2019.
Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Tabora and Coast Regions continued to take the top slots, with regulars Feza Boys, Feza Girls, Kibaha Secondary School and Tabora Boys appearing in the top 10 list of schools.

Seven of the 10 worst performing schools in the country are in Zanzibar and Mara. (The Citizen)

What do Tanzanian parents want from primary schools and what can be done about it?
A new survey from Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) shows that distance to school and exam results are significantly more important to parents than the pupil-teacher ratio and desk avail­ability, when selecting a primary school for their children. The research outlines the importance of better understanding parental preferences, as these preferences influence accountability pressures on government.

Parents were asked to make a choice of school based on information about the school’s pass rates, class sizes and infrastructure in order to see whether parents would theoretically be prepared to walk further to access better quality education.

Major findings of the survey are that average exam score and proximity are significantly more important in household decision-making than the pupil teacher ratio and desk availability. Parents’ willingness to walk for learning outcomes – their trade-off between distance and quality – also varies significantly by region.

Each school was characterised by four features: distance from the respondent’s home, learning outcomes, pupil-teacher ratio, and avail­ability of desks (a measure of infrastructure quality). Hypothetical schools’ characteristics were then randomly chosen from the following options:
• Distance from home in kilometres: 1 km, 4 km, or 7 km;
• Average Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE) score, out of a total of 250 possible points: 80, 140, or 200;
• Pupil to teacher ratio: 30, 60, or 90;
• Number of available desks: all students have desks, desks in every classroom but students must share, or some classrooms do not have

Each respondent with primary-aged children was presented with deci­sion tasks comprising a pair of hypothetical schools with attributes drawn at random from the above distributions. For example, in one choice task a respondent might be asked to choose between a school that is 4 kilometres away, with 30 pupils per teacher and shared desks, and an average PSLE score of 140, as compared with a school that is 1 kilometre away, with 60 pupils per teacher and some classrooms that do not have desks, and an average PSLE score of 80. Respondents made two such choices, and information from across these parental decisions is aggregated to estimate representative preferences.

On average, parents are willing to send their children an extra 1.16 km for a school that scores 10 points more on average on the PSLE.

The findings suggest scope for investments in the performance of existing schools over the expansion of the stock of schools, in order to promote grade completion and learning; these are trade-offs that policy-makers must weigh in the application of a finite budget to these goals.

There was significant regional variation. Households in Mara, for example, reveal a willingness to walk 1.86 km for an improvement of 10 points in average exam score. At the other end of the spectrum, respondents in Pwani reveal they are only willing to walk 0.64 km for the same improvement. Parents’ relative weight on learning outcomes versus school construction varies by nearly a factor of three across regions.

Willingness to walk also varies among other characteristics. For exam­ple, urban households are willing to travel 1.41 km for a 10-point improvement, while rural households are only willing to travel 1.08 km for the same improvement. Households with fewer children are willing to travel farther than households with more children, as are households with more male students than females.

Strong parental preferences for education quality are a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for effective ‘bottom-up’ accountability in situ­ations where choice mechanisms do not operate.
Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE)

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