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.