by Ben Taylor

Viral video prompts debate on corporal punishment in schools
Video footage of a teacher in Kagera Region striking pupils on their feet for allegedly failing to complete an assignment, has prompted much public debate, including among MPs in parliament. The video had been widely circulated on social media.

“This kind of punishment is creating unnecessary public panic,” said Edward Kisau, MP (CCM, Kiteto), and called on the government draft a law to completely end corporal punishment in schools. “Alternatively, it could be reduced to one stick,” he added as other MPs applauded.

“There are countries which have completely banned corporal punishment,” said Mr Abdallah Chikota (CCM, Nanyamba). “Considering the fact that we are currently reviewing the education policy, can we completely stop whipping in schools and find an alternative?” he asked.

In his response, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa explained that the teacher had been suspended pending a proper investigation of the case. “The government will not tolerate such kinds of punishment which violate the laid down procedures,” he added.

Guidelines require that caning should only be carried out by the head teacher or other person authorised by the school head and should be documented in writing. The punishment should not also exceed four strokes for each student.

Opposition MP Conchesta Rwamlaza (Chadema, Special Seats) challenged the Prime Minister who had warned those who recorded the video. “Sharing the video exposed the incident and helped the government to take action against people who would have been otherwise protected by officials,” she said. She added that the Prime Minister’s approach would only lead to people covering up the violence.

In response, Mr Majaliwa said his intention was to avoid unnecessary panic to the public and creating negative image against all teachers. “The teacher who recorded the video should have shared it with education officials for action,” he said.

Mr Saashisha Mafuwe (CCM, Hai) asked the government to regulate the way punishment was administered even in homes. “Such kind of punishment does not only occur in schools,” he said, “but also in homes. What’s the government comment on that?”

However, the Speaker, Tulia Ackson, did not allow the Premier to respond, explaining that it was out of the context.

Corporal punishment is very common in Tanzanian schools. After a similar video was circulated in 2019, Human Rights Watch commented that “corporal punishment is child abuse. It is brutal, widespread, and state-sanctioned in Tanzania. In recent years, Human Rights Watch has spoken to many children who are caned, punched, or slapped by teachers.”

At that time, President Magufuli expressed his support for the individual who was filmed caning the children, arguing that it was an effective form of discipline that had been used for many years.

There is evidence that this view has widespread public support. In a 2016 survey, 79% of Tanzanians said it was either always (8%) or sometimes (71%) acceptable for a teacher to beat a pupil.

“Immoral” Wimpy Kid books banned
The Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Adolf Mkenda, has banned 16 books from use in schools and other education institutions, citing immoral content that violates the country’s cultural norms, morals and good practices in raising children. Speaking to reporters in February, Prof Mkenda warned schools with the stray books in their shelves, saying failure to remove them will attract disciplinary measures including risking the institution’s deregistration.

The list includes thirteen books by the author and cartoonist Jeff Kinney – the popular series titled Diary of a Wimpy Kid – as well as Sex Education: a Guide to Life. It appears that the other two titles listed by the Minister – T is for Transgender, and L is for LGBTQI – are not actually books, but are instead two lines of text from within a single book – An ABC of Equality.

The Minister did not give details as to what content in the various books had caused offence, though the ban followed a public outcry around reported “rampant” homosexuality in Tanzania’s universities. One MP, Frank Haule (CCM) made this claim, and shortly afterwards President Samia Suluhu Hassan publicly called on university students to resist “imported cultures” that go against Tanzanian norms.

It was therefore widely understood that the book ban stemmed from the same concern. This would make sense given the “titles” of the two non-existent books that were banned. However, there are no LGBT storylines or characters in the Wimpy Kid series.

The first book in the Wimpy Kid series was published in 2007 and since then 275 million copies have been sold worldwide in 69 languages, according to the website. There have also been several film adaptations.

Dissertations for sale
University students in Tanzania are increasingly hiring individuals and bureaus to write research reports and dissertations on their behalf in exchange for money, according to an investigation in The Citizen newspaper.

The investigation discovered a rising number of bureaus and individuals who survive by writing dissertations and research reports for postgraduates and undergraduates. People running the bureaus have established offices around university campuses and have employed agents to target potential customers in colleges. Operators of the bureaus are lecturers, former lecturers, academicians, and other academically gifted individuals who have quit employment at universities to join the highly-paying work.

According to the article, the students prepare their research proposal and then contract the “academic writers” to do the rest of the work for an agreed fee. The report found the practice is particularly common among post-graduate students.

“You should first send me the title of your proposal that has been approved by your supervisor, then we can talk about the terms of my service; think of raising up to TSh1.5 million,” said a Morogoro-based dissertation writer (name withheld). Oblivious to the fact he was communicating with a journalist, the writer explained that he had been engaging in the business for the past ten years.

“What I want to assure you is that the dissertation that I’m going to prepare for you will sail. I have never had a case where a dissertation prepared by me was rejected; I know the standards and what exactly your supervisors want,” said the writer.

Another academic based in Dar es Salaam has admitted he has been making a living by writing dissertations for the past four years. He doesn’t feel guilty for the work, saying what he does is to help students achieve their full potential and realise their dreams. “What I do is help students fulfil their dreams. They give me concept notes or proposals, and I do the rest of the work. I collect data for them upon negotiations. At the end of the day, they must read the work and defend it. Now what’s the problem?” asks the writer.

One student – a postgraduate who had recently submitted her master’s thesis at a Dar es Salaam-based university – admitted to using these services. “Mine was prepared by a Kenyan for TSh1.3 million; she’s very, very good! Talk to her about yours and you will see for yourself,” she said.

A lecturer at an Iringa-based university who asked for anonymity admitted the problem was serious but was quick to defend those who engage in the activity. “Lecturers are receiving meagre salaries; they can’t maintain their families, so what they do is just one way of supplementing insufficient salaries,” he said.

“It is true that there are people in town sitting down and writing dissertations for students. I am the associate dean of the School of Education; we once discovered a trend, but I don’t have evidence that my students are engaged in this kind of cheating,” says University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Vice Chancellor, Prof. William Anangisye.

The Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) says it has established standards and guidelines for the purpose of regulating the quality and conduct of postgraduate training, research, and innovation. It says the quality assurance standards and guidelines it has set to check academic fraud and ensure ownership of work by students are being respected.

“Our work as TCU is to set minimum guidelines that must be adhered to by universities to ensure quality of education. The standards were set to ensure ownership,” says Prof. Kihampa.


by Angela Ilomo

Stakeholders propose sweeping changes in the education policy
For a long time now, graduates from universities have been under the microscope due to their lack of capacity to undertake self-employment and demonstration of poor working skills, a cry that prompted President Hassan to issue directives to the ministry to review the Education policy. The President’s goal is to ensure that at whatever level a young person achieves in education, he or she will be able to have skills that will enable him or her to either get employed or go for self-employment. (The Citizen)

New report pokes holes in TZ curricula, expert speak out
The new research reveals that although civic education and civics are part of school curriculum, there has been lack of adequate research and empirical evidence on how the content, quality of teaching and learning materials may empower youth with knowledge and skills to engage in democratic processes as required. A lead researcher, Dr Perpetua Kalimasi said that democratisation process calls for an in-depth review of the civic education curriculum starting from the primary level of education. (The Citizen)

Standard 7 results reopens the language debate
Tanzania’s education system has been under scrutiny due to a number of challenges, with the confusion over the language of instruction from primary to university level taking toll. Kiswahili has been used as a language of instruction at the primary school level with the argument being to make students understand better and more easily. When it comes to secondary school, however, it switches to English, a language of instruction used mainly up to university level. In this regard, it leads to poor performance in the subject by students who head to secondary school where the English language is the medium of instruction. (The Citizen)

Free education policy goes to test as Std VII pupils sit exam
Exam candidates from public schools involve the first batch of beneficiaries of the free education policy that came into effect in 2016 after it was endorsed in 2014.
“Removing the burden of school fees paved the way for me to focus on buying additional books for my children. This relief will definitely be reflected in the children’s examination results,” says Mr. Juma Nzali a parent whose child will sit for the exam to The Citizen over the phone. (The Citizen)

Over 1 million pupils pass Std 7 exam
The National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA) on Thursday released the 2022 Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) results indicating that the number of candidates who passed the exams has increased by 18.24 in comparison to last year. Acting Executive Secretary, Mr. Athumani Amasi explained that 558,825 of those who passed were girls, while the remaining 514,577 were boys. (The Daily News)

How Gender-based violence impacts negatively on girls’ education
The Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups, Dr Dorothy Gwajima, said that based on studies conducted in the country it shows that 60 per cent of acts of violence against children occur at home and the remaining percentage takes place in other areas. Many girls face various challenges based on gender and protection matters including Mwanahawa Mohamed (16), a student at Kikanda Secondary School located in Kilwa District of Lindi region. Despite having a dream of becoming a doctor in the future, her educational journey is not easy, since she encountered many challenges that would have forced other students to give up or fail, but she has not. (The Daily News)

Education Policy under review
The process of reviewing the policy and curricula follows directives issued by President Samia during her maiden speech in Parliament last year. With education stakeholders insisting that ETP of 2014 was outdated, this was among reasons that prompted President Samia to direct a review of the education policy and curricula to strengthen the quality of education in the country. (The Daily News)


by Angela Ilomo

How World Bank Fund will improve education
The Government, through funding from the World Bank, has launched a programme to enhance teaching and learning in pre-primary and primary schools (BOOST) worth more than one trillion shillings. The Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Adolf Mkenda, said the five-year programme aimed to improve the learning and teaching environment, skills and quality of teachers in teaching and enhance access to resources that facilitate service delivery at Municipal Council levels.

The World Bank Country Director, Mara Warwick, said the intention was to see pre-primary and primary education become better, safer and more inclusive for all children required to attend school. (The Citizen)

Tanzania outlines plans to overhaul education
The Government, while disclosing areas that need to be looked at in the planned reforms to improve education sector in the country, had concerns about the lack of necessary skills amongst local graduates. Skills that are necessary for creating their own jobs through entrepreneurship and the mismatch between school knowledge and job market demands in the private sector. The government has now started collecting views from different stakeholders as it seeks to overhaul the education sector to produce competent graduates.

Education minister Prof Adolf Mkenda said stakeholders should continue airing their views on the education policy review, legal framework, change in the curricula, demand and quality of teachers, trainers and lecturers. He also spoke about their plans to sponsor best performers in science. (The Citizen)

Free education now to include Form 5 and Form 6
The government is recommending the introduction of fee education policy which will remove all forms of fees and contribution for Form Five and Six students in government schools. “Currently, form five and six students are 90,825 and 56,880 respectively with financial needs amounting to TSh 10. 3 billion, as directed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, I recommend fee education for form five and six students,” said the Finance and Planning Minister to Parliament while presenting the national budget for financial year 2022/23. (The Citizen)

Samia’s recommendations on transforming education in Zanzibar
President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday issued four key recommendations to stem the tide of disappointments brought by students scoring Division Four and Zero in the Form Four examination results. Suluhu spoke during the launch of a Zanzibar’s based nonprofit organisation-the Mwanamke Initiative Foundation (MIF) which among other things focuses at promoting the standard of education in the Isles.

The first suggestion is to change the curriculum to align with the one working in Tanzania Mainland, while the second is for education authority in Zanzibar to evaluate the standard of school appraisers and provide them with proper and quality equipment. The third idea is to assess the qualities of teachers and the fourth is changing social beliefs on matters such as early marriage and gender discrimination. (The Citizen)

Government schools dominate Top 10 slots in Form Six exams
Government schools have continued to dominate the top 10 slots nationally in the Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ACSEE) results which were as announced on Tuesday, July 5, in Zanzibar. Announcing the results of the teachers’ and Form Six examinations, the council’s acting executive secretary, Athuman Amas, said this year’s performance showed a 0.25 percent increase compared to last year (2021). He said that 93,136 candidates, equivalent to 99% passed the tests. (The Citizen)

Over 900 students returned to school by February
A total of 909 dropout students have been re-admitted this year following the decision to allow teenage mothers and other students who dropped out for various reasons. The Deputy Minister also said that the integrated programme for out of school enrolment is meant to give learning opportunity for them and that parents, guardians and the community now need to be engaged to support the registration of dropouts.

The United Kingdom’s Minister for Africa, Latin America and The Caribbean, Vicky Ford has commended the government’s decision to allow dropouts to get back to school.

This happened during the launching event of a multibillion programme called ‘Shule Bora’ funded by UK Aid which will be implemented in 9 regions. The aim of the programme is to deliver quality, inclusion and safety education for all children in public schools. (The Daily News)


by Angela Ilomo

More than 5000 girls dropout of school every year
Several stakeholders have called for more efforts to close the gap between girls’ and boys’ access to education regardless of many government efforts. This was during the one-day symposium that brought together high school students as a continuation of the Women’s Day celebrations. The event was organized by Tai Tanzania, an NGO, in collaboration with the Girl Effect and The Youth of United Nations Association of Tanzania (YUNA Tanzania).

Director and co-founder of Tai Tanzania Mr Ian Tarimo said the World Bank’s figures show 5,500 girls drop out of school each year because of early pregnancies, indicating that there is a need to step up efforts by the community and not only the government to bridge the gap created between girls and boys.

The Director of Girl Effect Ms Rahma Bajun said that part of the reasons also include cultural practices and lack of support infrastructure. She said that they are looking forward to seeing a more equitable society. (The Citizen)

Over 1,000 out of school girls in Tanzania enroll for adult learning
At least 1,200 of the 3,000 girls targeted for enrollment in this year’s academic calendar through the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Programme (Sequip) have already been enrolled with the Institute of Adult Education.

Institute of Adult Education director Michael Ng’umbi said the Sequip-AEP project aimed at reaching girls between the ages of 13 and 21 who dropped out of secondary education for various reasons including poor living conditions, early marriage and getting pregnant.

He noted that the project aims to reach 12,000 students across the country over a five-year period (2021-2026) of project life under the same institute. (The Citizen)

Leadership academy inaugurated, supported by Communist Party of China
All is set for upcoming political leaders from countries in southern Africa to start sharpening their skills from March this year, thanks to the inauguration of a newly-constructed Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Leadership School located at Kibaha. The ceremony was graced by President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

The idea was based on the Harare Resolution that involved six political parties from different countries on June 8, 2012, to serve southern Africa in honour of Tanzania’s founding President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

The TSh 100 billion institution was funded by the Communist Party of China (CPC). The involved liberation parties in attendance were ANC (South Africa), Swapo (Namibia), MPLA (Angola), Zanu-PF (Zimbabwe) and Frelimo (Mozambique).

“Establishment of the school is a strategic one that will address a number of issues, including strengthening our youth and our people who will work in our political parties and governments,” said President Hassan. She also said the presence of the academy would also train young people with a modern view of developing their countries from within their liberation parties.

Xi Jinping, the President of China and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, sent a congratulatory letter for the inauguration ceremony. He said the school will provide an important platform for the six parties to enhance their governance capacity and better lead their respective countries to achieve development and benefit their people.

He added that the school is an opportunity to strengthen the exchange of state governance experience with parties in Africa, support each other in pursuing development paths that suit their own national conditions, deepen pragmatic cooperation across the board, promote the building of a high-level community with a shared future between China and Africa, and contribute more to the building of a better world.(The Citizen; China News Service)

Tanzania, World Bank sign TSh 1.5 trillion credit pacts for education and land
The government and the World Bank have signed two concessional loan agreements worth $650 million (about TSh 1.501 trillion) for the improvement of education and land administration systems. The loans agreements will boost the existing World Bank’s portfolio for national Projects in Tanzania to $6.15 billion.

$500 million will be spent on the ‘Boost Primary Student Learning Project,’ while the remaining amount will go to the Land Tenure Improvement Project (LTIP), according to permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Mr Emmanuel Tutuba.

World Bank country director Mara Warwick said that the Boost Project would help to directly address constraints in the education sector by making Tanzania primary schools safer, more inclusive and child-friendly.

Over 12 million children in mainland Tanzania were expected to benefit from it. On the other hand, she said, the LTIP would increase tenure security for at least two million land holders, users, and their families.(The Citizen)

New Curricula for nursery, primary, secondary in offing
New curricula for nursery, primary, secondary and teacher education will start being used from January 2025, the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) has affirmed.

TIE Director-General, Dr Aneth Komba stated this yesterday in Dodoma when he made a presentation on the envisaged new curricula while receiving views from stakeholders during an annual meeting of the heads of education institutions under the Christian Social Services Commission (CSSC).

“We can’t say that the current curricula is inappropriate, but we should look at issues which could be added so that the documents can become relevant to the current 21st century and be beneficial to young people for the next 50 years by making them employable and be able to create their own jobs,” she stated.

Dr Komba said the process to improve the current curricula is expected to take at least three years, where they are now at a stage of collecting views and needs from stakeholders to incorporate in the new document.

Several teachers contributed their views including, English language subject to be taught right from the first year of Primary School, vocational education for Standard Seven leavers, social studies to be taught in secondary schools and increase of pass marks for teachers in joining teacher education. (Daily News)

National Educational system dialogue kicks off
Preparations for a national dialogue on reviewing the curricula and education system that will meet the current needs has kicked off, said Minster for Education Science and Technology Prof Adolf Mkenda during the visit of President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the Benjamin Mkapa Secondary school.

This decision was made after the recent suggestion from Religious leaders for the need for a national dialogue on education system which was aired during their meeting with President Hassan at the Dar es Salaam State House last week. The clerics noted that that education system should be reviewed for the sake of producing graduates who will be able to venture on self- employment without waiting for employment from the formal sector. (Daily News)


by Angela Ilomo
Angela Ilomo is the Acting Director of RLabs Tanzania, a lawyer by profession, and is dedicated to transforming opportunities for young women and men through leading RLabs’ entrepreneurship programme. She takes over the Education portfolio in Tanzanian Affairs from Naomi Rouse. I offer my sincere thanks to both – The Editor.

Tanzania lifts ban on pregnant school girls
The law which was originally passed in 2002 was reinforced by late President John Magufuli in 2017 barring pregnant girls from attending regular school.

Speaking in Dodoma on Wednesday November 24, Prof. Ndalichako said the government will now allow all students who dropped out of school due to various reasons including pregnancy to return to school in a formal system after giving birth. “Later today, I will issue a statement explaining how the students who dropped out of school due to pregnancy and other reasons will go back to school,” she said.

US Ambassador Dr Donald Wright said his country was pleased by the Tanzanian move. “This proclamation indicates a more inclusive approach to education in Tanzania and a positive step forward for Tanzanians,” he said. (The Citizen, The Daily News)

Issues that are still pending in Tanzania’s education system
One of the major pending issues is the ‘dualism’ in primary education in Tanzania. This dualism plays out negatively and has, unfortunately, been accepted as a fait accompli. This has led to better performance of children studying in private school during final standard seven examination.

A major driving force in this dualism the difference in the medium of instruction: English and Kiswahili. Pupils learning in an English environment, from nursery school to Standard Seven acquire English proficiency that those schooled in the Kiswahili system can only dream of. If Tanzania’s secondary schooling and university education was not conducted entirely in English this would not have been such a problem.

Prof Herme Mosha cautioned 10 years ago, while giving an assessment of 50 years of independence, that the differences in performance in examinations between pupils in public and private schools might produce the ruling class from those studying in private schools and the ruled class from those studying in poorly equipped public schools.

When public schools become much better equipped and well-staffed with teachers with high morale, with healthy pupil-to-teacher ratio, then more parents will send their children to public schools, which might lead to the natural death of many of the many private schools. (The Citizen)

Over 900,000 set to start secondary education in 2022
This year, 2021, has been one for the goodwill of the government and the education sector as a whole. More than 900,000 pupils who passed the 2021 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) will for the first time join Form One within the first selection window, thanks in part to funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October of $576 million that have facilitated construction of over 10,000 classrooms across the country.

For five consecutive years there have been challenges in selecting a pile of primary school leavers who sought slots in public secondary schools due to shortage of classrooms vis-à-vis demand for accommodation.

The Minister of State in the President’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Government, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, said that no selected pupil will have to sit on the floor in the constructed classrooms as the fund will also be used to support the making of 462,795 desks. (The Citizen)

Government commits to work with Camfed
The government has committed to work together with the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) to explore the potential for scaling the Learner Guide Program across the government school system by ensuring children access relevant life and work skills in their education. Camfed, since its inception in 2005, made it possible for 8,000 marginalized boys and girls to attend primary school and 55,000 girls to attend secondary school.

The Learner Guide Program sees that young women who have experienced first-hand barriers to education receive support to return to their local schools as mentors and role models. Now they are working to keep more girls in their communities in school.

In view of this, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Prof Caroline Nombo, said the programme should not only focus on girls and forget boys who also face challenges and need quick interventions that will encourage them to remain in school.

She noted that the initiative supports government key priorities including equitable access to education and providing education with relevant life and works skills that will provide youth with employment. (The Citizen)

Fresh concern over lecturer shortage in Tanzanian universities
Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) figures show that the number of university academic staff increased from 6,238 in 2019 to 7,187 in 2020. At the same time, student enrolment has increased by an average of 4.7% annually from 177,963 students in the 2017/18 academic year to 206,305 in 2020/21. In Education, Law, Medical and Health Sciences, Humanities and Arts as well as Business programmes, there are unsatisfactory ratios of students to lecturers.

Education stakeholders are of the view that if these factors are not looked into and dealt with accordingly, the quality of education in the country runs the risk of experiencing a calamitous drop. The reasons TCU banned 19 institutions of higher learning from admitting new students in the 2017/18 academic year, was due to the lack of relevant human resources. “Producing a PhD holder takes much time, and is very expensive as well. It can even take up to ten or twelve years to get one,” said Dr. Jabir, an education consultant.

It is suggested by experts that the government should create conducive environment for universities to develop relevant human resources. (The Citizen)


by Ben Taylor

World Bank support for Higher Education
In May, the World Bank approved a combined financing of $875 million (about TSh 2 trillion) for three development projects, including $425 million on the Higher Education for Economic Transformation (HEET) project.

The finance from the International Development Association (IDA) also aims to help improve rural road access and employment opportunities and increased access to high quality broadband internet services.

“Approval of the three projects reflects the World Bank’s strong support to Tanzania,” said Mr Hafez Ghanem, the Regional Vice President for the World Bank.
“The experiences of successfully transitioning economies have shown that strong human capital is fundamental for long-term growth and the development of an economically secure middle class,” said Mara Warwick, World Bank country director. “These projects prioritize such investments, which will enable households at all income levels in Tanzania to benefit from growth.”

The HEET project aims to strengthen the learning environment, ensure greater alignment of priority degree programs to labour market needs, and improve the management of the higher education system.

This will be achieved by strengthening and building the capacity of 14 public higher education institutions in both Mainland and Zanzibar to become high quality centres of learning, focusing on areas with the greatest potential for growth over the coming decade; and enhancing the management of the higher education system through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and subsidiary agencies. Among the key results, participating universities will add or modernize over 260 academic programs within priority areas, with over 100,000 students benefiting from direct interventions to enhance learning.

Higher education loan charges cut
Students celebrated in May when the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Joyce Ndalichako confirmed in parliament that the government was implementing President Samia’s Suluhu Hassan’s directive to remove so-called nuisance charges on higher education loans.

Starting July 1, 2021, she said, the 6% charge in value retention to higher education loans beneficiaries will be scrapped, and the government is instructing the Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESLB) board of directors to scrap the 10% penalty charged on loan beneficiaries for delayed loan servicing.

The government, Prof Ndalichako said, was allocating TSh 500 billion during the coming financial year to finance university education of a total of 148,581 students. Of the beneficiaries, 50,250 will be first-years and 98,331 will be continuing students.

Students who spoke to The Citizen expressed support for the move. “I’m happy that the government seems to be creating an environment that will encourage one to repay the HESLB loan,” said Mr Samwel Ngulinzira, who is a beneficiary of the loans.

Luka Mkonongwa, a lecturer in the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) College of Education, commented that the government was now valuing children from poor families. “In the past, students ran away from loans and found it better to fund studies on their own because it charged interests like those charged by commercial banks,” he said.

Education reforms
In the same speech to parliament, Prof Ndalichako announced that the government will review the 2014 Education and Training Policy as well as the country’s Education Act of 1978 in order to ensure they meet the current demands.

“The government will also put emphasis in teaching technical education by strengthening practical skills in secondary and technical schools,” she said, adding that the government will also strengthen teaching of skills developing subjects in primary and secondary schools including agriculture, technical subjects, sports, art works and business.

She also stated that the government will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of curricula in order to ensure teaching and learning is delivered according to the qualities and conditions required, including the presence of teachers, textbooks and improved learning environment.

“The government will start reviewing curricula at all levels of education in order to ensure education and training are given the focus of building skills in relation to the present circumstances,” she said.

A-level results – no change in sky-high pass rate
The A-level pass rate has remained stable in 2020 and 2021, with government schools dominating in the top 10 list of best performing schools. The results of the exams, conducted in May this year and released by the National Examinations Council (Necta) in July in Zanzibar, show that the overall pass rate for school candidates was 99.62%, a slight increase from 99.51% in 2020.

The number of candidates who scored Divisions I, II, and III has increased by 0.19 percent from 97.74% in 2020 to 97.93% in 2021.

Only two of the top ten schools in 2021 were private schools (Kemebos and Feza Boys’). The other schools in the top 10 were Kisimiri (Arusha), Dareda (Manyara), Tabora Girls’ (Tabora), Tabora Boys’ (Tabora), Mwandeti (Arusha), Zakia Meghji (Geita), Kilosa (Morogoro) and Mzumbe (Morogoro).

Of the 89,802 candidates registered to take the exam, 88,273 candidates (98.30%) took the exam and 1,529 candidates (1.70%) did not, for various reasons including illness and absenteeism, said Necta’s executive Secretary, Charles Msonde.


by Naomi Rouse

Introduction of country’s history as a subject in schools significant
The Ministry of Education is to introduce history as a compulsory subject from pre-school up to secondary school. The Tanzanian Institute for Education has been preparing text books for distribution for the new curriculum.

A 21-year old science student interviewed for the article, said that most of what he knows from history at secondary school is about how colonial warriors came to Africa.

Dr Charles Kitima, a researcher and former vice chancellor of St Augustine University said that teaching history should also build patriotism and an appreciation of Tanzania’s cultural and social heritage. (The Citizen)

Police report shows fires broke out in 31 schools in 2020
Fires broke out in 20 privately-owned and religious schools and 11 government schools in 2020. In general fires were on the rise compared with accidents and killings, according to police reports. Fires were caused by “electrical faults, negligence and conflicts”.

Remembering Magufuli’s effect on the education sector
Education stakeholders have commemorated President Magufuli’s significant influence on the education sector, including the introduction of free education for which many families were grateful.

52-year old Mwinjuma Ali said that his two children dropped out of school in 2015, due to lack of school fees and other contributions, but were able to return in 2016 and study without difficult thanks to the new policy. “I believe God brought John Magufuli for my family because I could not afford to pay for the education of my four children,” explained Ali. “When I heard him promise of free education in his campaigns in 2015, I knew he was a liberator.”

The Minister of State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) Suleiman Jafo, said that implementing incomplete education plans would be a way to remember Magufuli’s outstanding leadership. “He has left us with a big task to build 1,000 schools in all the country’s 716 wards. I approved the budget for this in the recent parliamentary committee and so we are going to start construction soon,” said Jafo.

In his first term as President, Dr Magufuli implemented his pledge of waiving school fees and other contributions for both primary and secondary education. His government released TSh18 billion every month for all schools. Implementation of this policy led to increased primary and secondary school enrolment. In February 2020, Magufuli said the government had already spent a cumulative total of TSh 1.01 trillion in implementing the fee-free education policy. He said with the implementation of the policy, the enrolment of standard one pupils increased from an average of one million in 2015 to 1.6 million in 2020.

The number of secondary schools increased to 5,330 by 2020 from 4,708 recorded in 2015 making an increase of 622 schools, a move that experts believe has precipitated access to education for Tanzania’s children.

This also led to an increase in the number of form one – form four students to 2,185,037 in 2020 from 1,648,359 as recorded in 2015.

The late Magufuli said that the government took efforts to build 905 new primary schools, with the number of learning facilities increasing from 16,899 in 2015 to 17,804 in 2020, and an additional 5 million desks, from 2015 to 2020.

However, despite the policy, some costs remained as many schools continued to collect fees from children and their families. This angered the late President, who in 2018 ordered the practice to stop immediately.

“It makes no sense for the government to waive school fees and yet teachers introduce contributions that poor parents can’t afford to pay for their children. I don’t want to hear that a pupil or student is dismissed over failure to contribute…,” he added.

Students were grateful that school closures due to COVID-19 were relatively brief so that they were not forced to re-take a year.

Tanzania government to employ 6000 teachers immediately
In April, President Samia Suluhu Hassan instructed the relevant ministries to fill the vacancies left by more than 6,000 teachers. She said she realised that there were around 6,000 or more teachers who had resigned or retired and others had died along with various other causes but their vacancies are yet to be filled, which is affecting learning in schools.

Speaking at the swearing in of the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries and heads of public institutions at the State House in Dar es Salaam, President Hassan also directed that the management of girls’ secondary schools be further strengthened.

The president also said the government was hoping to build 26 girls’ schools by 2025 and urged stakeholders to take action so that the plans are implemented.


by Naomi Rouse

Education PS Dismissal draws mixed reactions
Education stakeholders were shocked by the announcement that Dr Ave Maria Semakafu had been sacked by the President after she announced that the Ministry of Education planned to abolish the certificate level qualification for pre-school and primary teachers, in a move to upgrade teacher expertise and therefore education quality.

Prominent education stakeholders spoke out in support of the Dr Semakafu and felt that she should not have been dismissed for the announcement, because it was not news and would have been part of the ongoing Ministry work plan.

Teachers’ union representatives expressed concern about how teachers nearing retirement would be able to respond to the new requirement.
(The Citizen)

How Covid-19 impacted education
The Tanzanian government closed schools in mid-March when the first case of Covid-19 was discovered. UNICEF estimates that a quarter of a billion students in 120 countries around the world had their education disrupted.

The Ministry of Education responded with educational programmes on TV, radio and in the newspapers, and educational experts congratulated the government on quickly innovating to deliver education through this medium. However, rural students were left behind, some not knowing about the initiative, or unable to access it.

Schools and universities had put in hygiene measures and were urged to hold awareness raising sessions for students on the opening day. (The Citizen)

Shock as urban public school lacks resources
Despite being located in the wealthy Oysterbay area of Dar es Salaam, renowned as an area for highly paid expatriates and senior government officials, The Citizen was shocked to learn that Oysterbay Secondary School suffers from a shortage of learning resources. The situation has contributed to poor academic performance. At a ceremony to hand over 311 textbooks donated by Oysterbay Rotary Club, the Board Chairman also thanked Kinondoni Municipal Council for its donation of 32 million which enabled the school to renovate classrooms. (The Citizen)

Fires: sorry state of schools’ readiness
On 14th September 2020, 10 pupils boarding at Byamungu Islamic Primary School in Kyerwa District, Kagera Region lost their lives during a fire in their dormitory, and seven were seriously injured. This was the fourth school fire in less than three months, following fires at Dar es Salaam’s Ilala Islamic School, Kinondoni Muslim Secondary School and Mivumoni Islamic Secondary School, also in Kinondoni District, Dar es Salaam and Istiqaama, in Tabora.

A random survey conducted by Success found that few schools had fire extinguishers and staff trained to deal with fire, and teachers were concerned that there was little they would be able to do with overcrowded dormitories, if a fire broke out. Tanzania fire regulations require that boarding schools have fire detectors and extinguishers, but in practice very few schools comply.

Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-Government Schools and Colleges (Tamongsco) Chairman, Leonard Mao raised concerns that there were sinister forces behind the fires, as in the spate of fires before the 1995 election. “This is an election year. Investigations should look behind the cartel as these kinds of tragedies happened in the run-up to the 1995 General Elections where at least 29 schools, including Shauritanga were razed down by fire. That year it was discovered that there was more than just technical fault or infrastructure challenges.” (The Citizen)

91% of passed students selected to join secondary school in 2021
A total of 759,706 students who passed primary school this year have been selected to join secondary schools in 2021, announced the Minister of State in the President’s Office for Regional Administration and Local Governments. 368,174 of the selected students were boys and 391,532 were girls.

Qualified students who did not secure in a place in the first round, will be offered a place by February. The Minister of State said nine regions of Kagera, Katavi, Lindi, Mtwara, Mwanza, Njombe, Ruvuma, Songwe and Tabora have successfully accommodated all qualified students to join Form One in the first phase.

“I call on regional leaders and councils to work with education stakeholders to complete the buildings and prepare the environment to receive selected students to start their studies in January 2021, without any restrictions of any kind including contributions, to implement the free education policy requirements,” he directed. (The Citizen)

Magufuli promises 26 new science schools
At a campaign rally in Mbeya in October, President Magufuli unveiled ambitious plans to create 26 specialist science schools – one in each region, and offer training in maths, science and language to 20,000 specialised teachers.

The government will also connect 1,500 secondary schools to the internet to promote IT. He said that he was delighted that investment in the education sector is paying off, as evidenced by the recent Form IV results where six public schools are in the top ten nationally. (Daily News)

Prioritisation of education of very poorest improves attainment of all
International development projects that target the education of the world’s very poorest children and marginalised girls also significantly improve other young people’s attainment, according to new research that suggests that such initiatives should become a priority for international aid.

New research conducted by academics from the University of Cambridge demonstrated the “spill-over effects” for all children. Using the work of Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) in Tanzania, the study found that every $100 spent per disadvantaged girl resulted in learning gains equivalent to an additional two years of education for all girls and boys at those schools.

Professor Pauline Rose, Director of the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (Real) Centre at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge said: “while it may cost more to reach the most marginalised pupils, the impact of those efforts is far more impressive than we tend to imagine. This research explains why system reforms should focus on those who need the most support. Education systems that function for the most marginalised children function for everyone.”

Impact was calculated by comparing the English test scores of children from 81 randomly-selected Camfed-supported schools with children from 60 control schools that received no support. Scores were collected at the start and end of the two years, and the team used data about the children’s socioeconomic background to make direct comparisons between pupils from similar settings. For every $100 spent on each of the marginalised girls targeted with Camfed’s programme, English learning outcomes improved by the equivalent of an extra 1.45 years of schooling for all pupils. (Daily News)

Good News: More girls enrolled in schools
Tanzania should rightly celebrate the achievement that more girls than ever before are enrolling in and completing school, especially compared with independence in 1961. However, we should remember how much needs to be done in order to tackle gender-based violence and early pregnancies, to ensure a safe learning environment for girls. (Daily News)


by Naomi Rouse

World Bank approves controversial $500m education loan to Tanzania
A $500m World Bank loan has been issued to Tanzania as funding for the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Programme (SEQUIP). The loan was previously delayed following campaigns by opposition MP Zitto Kabwe and various civil society organisations for the World Bank to withhold the loan due to the government’s discriminatory policy of expelling pregnant schoolgirls.

Jaime Saavedra, global director for education for the World Bank said “Tanzania, like many countries around the world is suffering from a learning crisis, where children are either not in school, or are in school but not learning. Of 100 children who start school in Tanzania, less than half will finish primary and only three will complete their upper secondary schooling.”

The loan will fund improvements to secondary education, with two thirds of the loan dedicated to creating safe and quality learning environments for girls, benefitting an estimated 6.5 million secondary school students.

Zitto Kabwe, leader of the alliance for change and transparency party (ACT), received death threats after asking the World Bank to suspend the $500m education loan until “checks and balances” including a free press, free and fair elections, and the reinstatement of the Controller and Auditor General, were restored in the country.

In Parliament on 1 February, Abdallah Bulembo, from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), said: “There is one man who took our issues outside the country, he should not be allowed back but should be killed where he is. What Mr Zitto Kabwe has been doing is treason in our country.”

Kabwe said that he was taking the threats seriously, but he would not be intimidated. “I have no regrets,” he is reported as saying. In a letter to World Bank president David Malpass, seen by the Guardian, the ACT requested assurance from the bank that any reprisals against Kabwe would “trigger a suspension of all World Bank operations and funding in the country”.

In 2017 similar threats were made against another opposition MP, Tundu Lissu, before he was shot 16 times by unknown assailants, suffer­ing life-changing injuries from which he is still recovering. No one has been arrested for the crime.

In November 2018, the bank withdrew a $300m loan to Tanzania for secondary education, partly because of the country’s mistreatment of pregnant schoolgirls, as well as threats against members of the LGBT+ community.

Since John Magufuli became president in 2015, the government has forced girls to undergo pregnancy tests and excluded thousands of them from school. Press freedoms and opposition activity have also been restricted.

Tanzania’s education minister, Joyce Ndalichako, has asserted Tanzania’s commitment to the education of all girls, saying: “The target [of the loan] is to reach more than 6.5 million secondary school students across the country, without discrimination and shall include girls who drop out of school for various reasons, including pregnancy.”

Of the 60,000 students who drop out of secondary school every year in Tanzania, 5,500 leave due to pregnancy according to World Bank data.

Tanzania’s ban on pregnant schoolgirls dates back to the 60s. Amid renewed criticism, it was reaffirmed in a 2017 speech by Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, who stated that “as long as I am president … no pregnant student will be allowed to return to school. We cannot allow this immoral behaviour to permeate our primary and secondary schools.”

The latest government statement is that girls can continue to study in “Alternative Education Pathways”, and re-join the mainstream if they pass national exams. According the World Bank, the government has also “agreed to assess the prevalence of pregnancy testing and develop an approach to address this practice” and that the World Bank will “advocate a halt to all involuntary pregnancy testing in schools in Tanzania”.

Despite the latest statement from the government, Elín Martinez, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the Tanzanian government’s position remained unchanged. She referred to a recent tweet in Swahili from Tanzania’s chief government spokesperson that indicated the government has set up parallel systems for pregnant girls.

“Tanzania will continue to arbitrarily deny pregnant girls the right to study in formal public primary and secondary schools – and they will only have an option of studying in a parallel system, which will now be built using the World Bank’s loan,” said Martínez. The World Bank has “undermined its own commitment to non-discrimination and to improving the lives of ‘marginalised groups’”. (UK Guardian)

CCM lauds education system, sneers at calls for overhauling
CCM Secretary General Dr Bashiru Ally has said those calling for over­haul of the education system do not have authoritative knowledge of the matter.

Speaking during his tour of IPP Media outlets in Dar es Salaam, Dr Bashiru argued that people don’t realise that Tanzania’s education system produces some of the most brilliant brains in the world. “Tanzanians who get an opportunity to pursue graduate or postgraduate studies abroad, who are products of the system, do very well abroad.”

He said therefore changing the education system is not a priority for the party which is currently preparing its manifesto for the October elections, with agriculture, clean water and electricity among the top priorities.

However, last month the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services and Community Development said the education being provided does not respond to massive changes in the world, including in the areas of science and technology, and recommended the formation of a commission to overhaul Tanzania’s education system from kindergarten to university. (The Citizen)

Necta releases Form two and Form Four examination results
Pass rates improved by 1.38% on the previous year, with 80% of the 422,722 candidates passing Form Four examinations. For Form Two, the pass rate was 90% for 571,137 candidates.

For Standard Four (primary school) the pass rate improved by 26%, with 1.53 million students passing.

Tunduru District achieved the best results in its region in the 2019 Standard Seven examinations, and claims that the new technique of running learning camps helped achieve their success. The district has a shortage of 1,066 teachers. The pass rate improved by 12.4% in 2019 from 79% in 2018.

At the camps, the children had electricity, water, and food, and were kept safe with guards and also supervision from parents. The camps particularly helped girls by giving them more time to study and not having to do domestic chores.

The District academic officer, Ms Loyal said they faced a challenge of some parents directing their children to perform badly, in order to force them to end their educational journey there.

Private schools took the top ten positions for Form IV examinations. Many of the all-time academic giants retained their positions from 2018. Kemebzo Secondary School (Kagera) came top, followed by Saint Francis Girls’ Secondary School (Mbeya), and Feza Boys. (The Citizen)

President Magufuli dismayed by exam results for Zanzibar schools

President Magufuli at the opening of Mwanakwerekwe School (State House)

While laying the cornerstone for the new Mwanakwerekwe Secondary School in Zanzibar City, President Magufuli called upon teachers to work hard to ensure better marks for students. “I will say this even though some may not be happy…it’s shameful to see Zanzibar schools hold last positions in national examinations,” he affirmed. (IPP Media)


by Naomi Rouse

Obstacles to Tanzanian Quality Education Dream

In September 2019, The Citizen interviewed Sister Annette Farrell, a Holy Union Sister from Ireland, and Director of the Holy Union Sisters Debrabant High School in Mbagala about the state of education in Tanzania.

In the 1980s when Sister Farrell first started working in the Tanzanian education sector, a small number of elite, highly academic students qualified for secondary school, and schools were relatively well resourced to cater for these numbers. Now that access has increased, the same academic rigour is still expected of all, as if all students are expected to proceed to university. But students have different abilities and are ‘tortured’ by this system that is only designed for the most academically gifted.

“When I came to Tanzania in the 1980s the secondary section was tiny… but the academic programmes were very good. [They] suited the people who were chosen to be in secondary schools at that time. They had to have high academic ability as well as good character. Today there is only one programme for everyone. So children who have no capability in mathematics and no interest are forced to do the same exam as their counterparts brilliant in the subject. This programme could perhaps suit 10% and neglect the other 90%. This system is a disaster in the country’s quality education dream, as we are sacrificing the majority for the few.”

The system neglects other subjects and talents such as music, drama, sport, and computers. While highlighting the shortage of teachers as a major problem, she would not support an expansion of the system as it currently is, saying “it won’t make sense at all to be paying so many teachers throughout the country to produce the kind of results we are getting at Form Four.”

She highlighted lack of planning and investment, with overcrowded schools and ‘one teacher doing the work of three’. She reminded readers that ‘free education’ is paid for by citizen’s taxes but that citizens are not getting what they are paying for. She opposes the policy that prevents parents from contributing to schools to help improve them. Sister Farrell applauded the government’s initiatives to promote inclusion of students with disabilities. (The Citizen)

World Bank Report reveals reasons behind low learning levels
Reacting to the World Bank report: Ending Learning Poverty, what will it take? education stakeholders said that low budgetary allocations were the main cause of low literacy levels for 10 – 14 year olds. The report showed that 87% of 10 – 14 year olds in Sub Saharan Africa cannot comprehend a short, simple story.

Despite increasing enrolment in Tanzania, budget allocation has declined from 19 to 16% of Tanzania’s total budget. Spending per primary school pupil declined from TSh 335,891 in 2016/17 to TSh 220,566 in the current fiscal year.

Tusiime School Assistant Manager highlighted the importance of early years programmes to help develop children’s intellectual development.
The Human Capital Index shows that the productivity of the average child born in Africa today will be only 40% of what it could be if there were proper investment in health and education. (The Citizen)

Loans body tasked over boom delay
The Higher Education Students Loans Board was directed to meet with the student union to explain the delay in disbursing student loans. The University of Dar es Salaam Students Union (Daruso) had threatened a strike if the loans were not disbursed within 72 hours. However, HESLB Executive Director explained that students needed to pass their exams first, and that this was an issue of procedure. (The Citizen)

Over 50,000 students miss out on Form One selection for 2020
A total of 58,699 students who passed their Primary School Leaving Examination have not secured places at Form One due to shortage of classrooms, amounting to 7.7% of students affected. The affected pupils are from 13 regions. Kigoma was worst affected with 12,092 pupils not selected, being required to wait until classrooms are constructed. The Minister for Local Government instructed the respective regions to make sure classrooms are constructed by February 2020. (The Citizen)

CDRB bank to issue loans to students
CRDB is introducing a new service ‘Boom Advance’ to help students whose study loans have been delayed. ‘Boom’ denotes the amount allocated to students for meals and accommodation. CRDB’s Head of Consumer Banking, Mr Stephen Adili, said “For a long time we have looking at how we could find a lasting solution to this challenge which affects students academically”.

Boom Advance loans will be interest free and issued electronically through the SimBanking app. Loans of TSh 40,000 to TSh 120,000 will be available, and repayable within 45 days. Students must be registered with the Higher Education Students Loans Board to qualify. (The Citizen)

Invest more in education, Dar think-tank tells government
Executive Director of REPOA, Dr Donald Mmari, called for the government to invest more in education in order to accelerate the country’s development, learning from countries like the Netherlands which have succeeded as a result of investment in education.

He made the remarks at the relaunch of the Netherlands Alumni Association of Tanzania (NAAT) which brings together Tanzanians who have studied in the Netherlands to exchange ideas to contribute to Tanzania’s economic development. Dr Mmari said that 5,000 Tanzanians who have studied in the Netherlands are keen to be involved in the association, and he stressed that they have a responsibility to share what they have learned, for the benefit of Tanzania. He said there was much to learn from countries like the Netherlands – although geographically small, it is the 4th country in the global competitive economy after the USA, Singapore and China. He highlighted the Netherlands’ leadership in the renewable energy sector, and the support provided to Tanzania in renewable energy, agriculture, health and technology. (IPP Media)