Archive for Education


by Ben Taylor

School fees abolishment – popular but problematic
A new survey by Twaweza, a non-governmental organisation, has found that the abolishment of school fees and related parental contributions is a highly popular move. In their regular Sauti za Wananchi (Voices of the People) panel survey, Twaweza found that 76% of citizens believe that making education free will improve quality. Further, 88% were confident that the new policy would be implemented on time.

Nevertheless, a significant minority (15%) expressed concern that free education will lead to a surge in enrolment that will stretch resources and lead to a decline in the quality of schooling.

This concern would appear to be born out, at least in part, but evidence from primary schools across the country when the new school-year started in January. The Citizen newspaper reported that enrolment in Standard One had tripled in some schools. One school in Dar es Salaam previously enrolled 250-300 pupils per year, and had planned for around 400 this year anticipating the effect of the school fees’ abolishment, but found itself enrolling over 600 pupils. The school has been forced to cram over 150 pupils into each of four Standard One classrooms. The paper reported similar situations in primary schools nationwide.

Mr George Simbachawene, Minister in the President’s Office for Regional Administration and Local Government, said he had directed all district and regional commissioners to fast-track construction of new classrooms to address local shortages.

Earlier, the government disbursed TSh 18bn (approx. £6m) to schools across the country, as part of TSh 137bn set aside by the government to implement the free education promise, covering the first six months. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa stated that the government had calculated the amount needed and was comfortable that it could afford the cost of providing free education.

As part of the new policy, the government has promised to cover examination fees and has abolished parental contributions towards school expenses. Parents are still required to cover some costs, including the purchase of school uniforms, exercise books and pens, and medical expenses.

The same Twaweza survey found that nine out of ten parents reported previously paying contributions to school running costs, including school security, tests and desks. 80% reported that this came to under TSh 50,000 per year, while 8% reported that it added up to over TSh 100,000. Half the parents surveyed (49%) said they didn’t think schools were using these contributions for the correct purposes, with many suggesting it was used instead to supplement teachers’ income.

When asked to advise the government on how to best improve the quality of education, 82% focussed on teacher-related issues. This group was split between those who said the main focus should be on monitoring teacher performance (40%) and those who said improving teachers’ pay and conditions should be the priority (32%).

Form Four (O-level) results show small decline
The National Examinations Council released Form Four (O-level) results for students who took the exams late in 2015. The results showed a slight decline in the pass rate, from 70% of students passing in the previous year to 68% this year. Only 25% achieved divisions one to three.

Mathematics had the lowest pass rate by some distance, with only 17% of candidates who attempted the subject passing, down from 20% in 2014. Kiswahili had the highest pass rate after 78% per cent of candidates passed, up from 70% the previous year.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Joyce Ndalichako, said she was not impressed with the results. She was reported as saying that for many years government-run schools had been performing badly.

The Minister said she would begin by inviting head teachers based in Dar es Salaam to a meeting to discuss how the region could set standards for performance.

HakiElimu programme manager for Research and Analysis, Mr Godfrey Bonaventura, argued that ward schools were the places where most of the division fours and failures were produced, so the Minister needed to give them a special focus. He said the schools started taking in students even before they were complete.

“A decade ago, when ward level secondary schools were established, what mattered then was seeing to it that the schools had classrooms, some teachers, toilets and students. But that is not all it takes to provide quality education. A simple visit to such a school today will reveal a sad reality as buildings are in a poor state, they are ill-equipped and staff are demoralised. It’s sad.”

He challenged the government to increase funding in the Education sector, saying the focus should not only be on urban-centred schools but even those in remote areas.

Official data shows that Standard Seven national examination pass average declined from 54% in 2007 to 31% in 2012. Form Four national examination pass rate declined from 90% in 2007 to 43% in 2012, before rising sharply when new grading systems were introduced.

New exam scoring system abandoned
The grade point average (GPA) system, introduced in 2014, will no longer be used to score candidates in O-level and A-level examinations. Instead, the previous “division” system will be reintroduced. This was announced by the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Prof. Joyce Ndalichako. The Minister said the decision was based on the failure of the National Examinations Council, NECTA, to justify the GPA system. She said many stakeholders did not understand the GPA scores.

Prof. Ndalichako added that the shift to GPA appeared to have resulted in a lowering of the cut-off point for passing exams, leading to many students appearing to have performed better than was truly the case. The move was applauded by education sector specialists, many of whom focussed on how the introduction of GPA had been used to cover up a lowering of standards.

HakiElimu acting director Godfrey Bonaventura said that the GPA grading system was unjustifiable. “We’ve many challenges in the sector that need to be addressed, scheming to hide the declining quality of education through adopting a new grading system without justification was wrong,” he said.

Professor Issa Omari of the Open University of Tanzania said that in some ways the debate was academic, as the GPA and division systems were entirely interchangeable, but that he supported the Minister’s move on the grounds that the division system was well understood by stakeholders in Tanzania.

Prof. Omari emphasised that the key point was the cut-off points for passing examinations, and criticised the previous administration for lowering the standards required for a pass. “We are cheating ourselves and the public by playing around with cut-off points, as students will have a hard time out there in the world of work,” he said.

Executive Secretary of NECTA, Dr Charles Msonde, appealed to education stakeholders to continue working with Necta and advising it, saying this would help the council to improve its performance. He said he welcomed feedback from stakeholders as part of efforts to bring about positive and desirable change in the education sector in general.

Delivering better outcomes in education – what works?
A newly published study by Twaweza has investigated alternative approaches to improving learning outcomes in Tanzania.

The organisation compared students’ learning outcomes between four different interventions: one in which they provided schools with extra resources through capitation (per-pupil) grants, one in which they provided teachers with a bonus based on the performance of their students in an externally administered exam, one in which schools received both programs, and the control group which received no support.

The study was conducted as a randomised controlled trial (RCT), in 350 government-run primary schools in ten districts of Tanzania between 2013 and 2014. The study found that improving delivery of inputs (funding) to schools had no significant impact on learning outcomes, and nor did providing bonus payments to teachers. However, in schools where both interventions were implemented concurrently, there was a significant positive impact on learning outcomes.

The research, known as KiuFunza (Thirst for Learning), was carried out in partnership with Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), a US-based research organisation.



by Ben Taylor

Free basic education
Earlier in 2015, a new national education policy was launched, including a commitment that from January 2016, basic education from Standard 1 to Form 4 would become compulsory and would be provided free of charge. This became a major campaign promise in the presidential campaign of the CCM candidate, Dr John Magufuli.

With President Magufuli now in office and showing a new level of commitment to efficiency and good governance, fulfilling the promise of free basic education will be an early test for the new administration.

In particular, the pledge covers both school fees and the contributions (“michango”) demanded of pupils and parents towards building maintenance, desks, examinations, watchmen, and other school running costs. Typically, while school fees may be only TSh 20,000 per year, these other compulsory contributions could be as high as TSh 300,000. “When I say free education, I indeed mean free,” said President Magufuli at the official opening of parliament.

The Ministry of Education has issued a directive to all government schools forbidding them from asking for fees or contributions from pupils and their parents. Circular No.5 specified that “provision of free education means pupils or students will not pay any fee or other contributions that were being provided by parents or guardians before the release of new circular.”

President Magufuli spoke publicly to reassure parents and schools that funds would be available, saying the government had already been making savings elsewhere that would cover the cost.

“The funds for providing free education are being set aside, already we have TSh 131bn. We have planned to transfer these funds directly to all the relevant schools, with copies sent to the Regional and District Commissioners, and to the council Director. This is why we say they will study for free. All the money for capitation grants, money for chalk, money for examinations, money for everything, we are sending it. We will send it each month starting this December. Money for food. I am certain that those being sent the money will use it well, I warn them not to use it badly.”

There are currently just over 10 million children in government primary and secondary schools, according to Zuberi Samataba, the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Education) in the Ministry for Regional Administration and Local Government. Anecdotal reports in the media suggests there is likely to be a significant increase in this number in January, when parents see that fees and contributions have truly been abolished. (The Citizen, The Guardian, BBC)

Pressure on private schools over fees

The government has also been putting pressure on private schools over the fees they charge. A circular (no. 6) was issued requiring all private school operators to submit by December 16th their proposed fees for 2016 for review and approval by government. The schools have also been barred from any fee increases in 2016.

Private schools have warned that they will be forced to close if the government prevents them from setting fees that cover their costs. The Tanzania Association of Non-Government Schools and Colleges said that they would not accept any fee structure if they were not involved in its preparation.

However, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Prof Sifuni Mchome, said the government will not bar private schools from increasing fees if they have justifiable reasons. He noted that it has been a tradition of private schools to increase fees at the end of every year without justification. (The Citizen, The East African)

Primary School leaving exam results up
Publication of Primary School leaving exam results saw an increase in the pass rate, up from 57% in 2014 to 68% in 2015. A total of 518,034 pupils passed the exams, out of 763,602 who sat them. The pass rate among boys (72%) was a little higher than for girls (65%).(The Citizen)

Comments (1)


by Ben Taylor

Are children learning?
Only 1 in 5 children in the third year of Primary School in East Africa have acquired the literacy and numeracy skills expected of children in the second year. This was the main conclusion of the latest annual Uwezo survey of learning outcomes among primary school-age chil­dren in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

The survey also found that only 24% of children completing seven years of primary schooling have mastered Standard 2 reading and numeracy skills.

Mbeya Urban district in Tanzania was the best performer, but Kenyan districts outperformed the region in overall assessment. Most Tanzanian districts ranked in the middle – below Kenya but above Uganda.

The survey found that poverty was a major factor in learning outcomes, with children from wealthier households performing substantially bet­ter than those from poorer households.

Data was collected on learning outcomes, school conditions and house­holds in 2013, including testing of over 325,000 children aged 6 years to 16 years in 150,000 households in 366 districts.

Shortage of space in Form 5 as O-level results improve
Around 16,000 students will miss out on places in Form 5 this year as record numbers achieved qualifying grades. Of just under 200,000 stu­dents who sat for O-levels, over 70,000 qualified for A-level admission. However, there are only 55,000 spaces available.

An editorial in the Daily News described the situation as “a colos­sal waste”. “It is high time the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and other responsible stakeholders seriously addressed this problem of shortage of Form Five slots in public secondary schools. Frankly speaking, something must be done – and fast – to find a solu­tion to this very challenging situation.”

This is the second year for such a shortage to emerge, following a major change to how O-level candidates are graded. The new grading scheme, introduced from 2013, substantially lowered both the standard required to achieve a grade in each subject and the number of subject passes required in order to qualify for A-level entry.

Parents prefer English
A new survey by Twaweza, a non-governmental organisation, found that 89% of parents said their children found it difficult to switch from Swahili as the medium of instruction in Primary School to English in Secondary School. When asked what measures should be put in place to address this challenge, 63% stated that Primary Schools should adopt English as the language of instruction.

In contrast, the new Education Policy, launched earlier this year, signi­fied a shift to make Swahili the language used through Primary and Secondary schooling.

Death caused by caning reignites debate on corporal punishment
The death of a Secondary School pupil in Kiteto district, after he was punished for failing a Swahili test, prompted a fresh debate on corpo­ral punishment in Tanzanian schools. The boy, a Form 2 student, was reportedly given 12 strokes of the cane by his teachers, after failing a Swahili test. He died soon after.
“We have for years urged the government to abolish this form of pun­ishment in schools because it’s against children’s rights, but we have been ignored,” said Dr Hellen Kijo-Bisimba, Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre.
Coordinator of the Tanzania Education Network (TEN/MET), Cathleen Sekwao, said local NGOs, UN agencies and others have been campaign­ing against lashes to no avail. “Though we want the punishment elimi­nated, communities are letting us down because some parents think caning a child is the right thing to do.” (The Citizen)



by Ben Taylor

As part of the recently launched new education policy, the Tanzanian government announced that the language of instruction in secondary schools would switch from English to Swahili. The change has drawn both criticism and support from commentators. The following are excerpts:

Dr Aikande Kwayu
The emphasis on Kiswahili as the language of instruction (in addition to properly teaching English) is a wise move highlighting the true spirit of Tanzania. Research and literature has it that the language of instruction should be what is spoken at home – in our case, Kiswahili. Teaching our kids in Kiswahili will improve learning for the masses.

Ali A. Mufuruki, Chair of CEO Roundtable, Dar es Salaam
The changes were not made in good faith, nor was enough preparation done to make sure all systems are in place. We are going to put current and future generations of Tanzanians at a disadvantage from which they will not be able to recover easily. The arguments made by the proponents of the new policy are devoid of logic and paint a picture of a people who have very little or no understanding that we live today in a globalised world, where Tanzanians do not have the luxury of being able to create their own reality that can be kept safe from the effects of competitive forces that are a dominant feature of today’s life.

The change may be nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction of policy makers to the steadily falling pass rates at both primary and secondary schools over the past twenty years and is therefore a wrong solution to the problem. Just as you cannot cure a gangrene wound by applying aspirin to it, you cannot turn around Tanzania’s failing education system by replacing English with Swahili as a medium of instruction. I am very curious to see if those responsible for this policy change are going to move their children from the private English Medium schools to the Kiswahili-only public schools where the rest of the country’s children go.

Prof. Kitila Mkumbo, University of Dar es Salaam
The decision to recognise and promote both Kiswahili and English languages in teaching and learning seems to have been reached as a compromise to please the two sides of the debate. As a consequence, I can bet that English will continue to be used as a medium of instruction because it still is largely associated with ‘being learned’ and because it is much more available in the literary world than Kiswahili. Furthermore, the case for Kiswahili as a medium of instruction has always been made on the basis of cultural activism and romanticism, rather than on solid evidence-based scholarly discourse.

Prof. Karim Hirji
The manner in which the issue language of instruction is being posed and discussed is a diversion from much more fundamental issues. The primary requirement for Tanzania is to have a genuinely sustainable, implementable and integrated economic policy (agriculture, industry, commerce, transportation, services and communication). The nature of the education system (at all levels) has to reflect and be embedded within the context of that policy.

In the present foundational condition, it is possible to utilize either a national, local or foreign language to achieve the goals of imparting effective, high quality education and raising the standard of living, health status and general level of well-being of the broad masses of the people. And in the absence of such a foundational condition, you will end up with a mass of unemployed, unemployable youth (including graduates), generalized poverty and social unrest.

Whether you know your physics well in Swahili or English is immaterial so long as you are out in the street having nothing to do. Even a bilingual system of instruction is feasible in that context. Just consider the history of education systems and nations throughout the world and you will see the validity of my assertions. Let us not discuss the issue of language of instruction in isolation from that of economic policy and the nature of the education system as a whole.

Personally I am in favour of utilization of Swahili as the medium of instruction throughout the East African Community. But given the chaotic, fragmented and externally dominated economic policies that prevail at present, I do not think that goal is easy to achieve. Whatever language we use in schools, our streets will be flooded with semi­literate, literate and well-qualified youth selling socks and what not.”

Chambi Chachage, PhD Student, Harvard University
We all want Tanzanians to be fluent in English and Kiswahili – and, if possible, other languages too, both local and foreign. How can we achieve that when we are “backward” as far as such bilingualism – let alone multilingualism – is concerned. I took Mathematics in both O-Level and A-level in English but some of our teachers used Kiswahili when they realized we did not understand them. We could communicate – and understand each other – easily in Kiswahili by saying, for example, ‘diferentieti’ and ‘intagreti’, which were our own ‘Swahilized’ versions of the English words. For us what mattered was communicat­ing and understanding.

I support the usage of Kiswahili as the language of instruction simply because it facilitates communication relatively more easily and con­nects with our environment. At the same time I support the effective teaching of English as a second language to make us really capable of using it. What we now have in the classroom is what language experts call ‘subtractive bilingualism’ in contrast to ‘additive bilingualism’. Put simply, the former makes one end up knowing little Kiswahili and very little English, but the latter makes one gain both ways – Knowing more Kiswahili as well as English. More significantly, the former subtracts knowledge and the latter adds knowledge through effective communication. So, why should we get ‘lost in translation’? Let us teach English and teach in Kiswahili. Both can be done.

Biyi Bandele
Until every single mathematical theorem and every single theory in astrophysics and cosmology, [and] in medicine and chemistry, and in every single sphere of knowledge, is written or available in translation in Kiswahili and Igbo and every other African language, I personally will always reject and abhor that easy [and easily comforting, xenophobic language] that dresses itself in the ultimately empty and cheaply sentimental rhetoric of noble nationalism.

Richard Mabala
People who advocate the use of Kiswahili are not saying that Tanzanians have failed to master English. We are saying that if people do not have enough English to start with in secondary school, to use it as a medium of instruction is self-defeating as they do not have enough language to address other subjects. In fact we are saying that if they are taught English well, they will have better English than if it is used as a medium of instruction.

Why are those who argue for English prepared to continue putting the majority of our students today … not tomorrow, not in 25 years time … through four years of not understanding what they are taught. Everyone knows that language alone is not the issue – there are many, many more – but it is the point of entry to comprehension of whatever little teaching they may or may not get.”



by Ben Taylor

New education policy
The government has officially launched a new Education Policy. National examinations for primary school leavers will be abolished, and “compulsory basic education” will be extended to include four years at secondary level. This means that students will sit their final examination after 11 years in primary and secondary school, School fees for public secondary schools will be abolished. The use of different text books will also be abolished, with a single textbook for each subject.

President Kikwete said the new policy was in line with Vision 2025 and takes into account global economic, social and technological changes. “In the next seven years, we will have built capacity whereby every child who starts Standard One will reach Form Four.”

It has been widely reported that the policy makes Kiswahili the medium of instruction from primary school to university level, thereby ditching English —which has dominated Tanzania’s education system from secondary to tertiary level. However, the policy also states that the use of English as medium of instruction will continue. [For more on the apparent change in the language of instruction in secondary schooling, see separate article in this issue.]

O-level results announced
The National Examinations Council of Tanzania (Necta) released the 2014 Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (O-level) results showing that performance has improved by 10% since 2013. Private schools dominate the list of best performers and no public school appears in the top ten.

297,365 students registered for the examinations and 196,805 (68%) passed. In 2013, 235,227 students (58% of those who sat the exams) passed. Performance varied greatly between subjects. 69.7% of those who took Swahili passed, more than in any other subject. Only 19.6% of those who took Mathematics passed.

The grading system has changed from the previous division system, where pupils were assigned to Division I, II, III, IV or fail, based on their performance across seven subjects. The new grade point average (GPA) system follows other changes introduced in 2013, which reduced the exam scores required to achieve a grade A from 81% to 75%. A meaningful comparison of exam results from 2013 and 2014 with results from earlier years is impossible. (The Citizen)

Early years learning
The Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, launched a national programme to raise the level of reading, writing and numeracy skills among Standard One and Two pupils. Commissioner for Education Eustella Bhalalusesa said the programme will attract TSh 150bn – to be injected directly to education funding. All preparations for the programme, including the syllabus for Standard One and Two and the teacher’s guide, are com­plete.

The programme is being financed by the Global Partnership for Education, the UK Department for International Development, UNICEF and USAID. (Daily News)



by Ben Taylor

Secondary School fees to be scrapped
President Kikwete announced in August that his government plans to waive school fees for public Ordinary Level secondary education. This will mean Tanzanians receive free education both in primary and secondary school, save for the last two years of Advanced secondary education. The president made the announcement at a meeting with students and staff of Mzumbe University in Morogoro Region. “At the moment we are working on scrapping school fees in all public second­ary schools as a way of ensuring that every child who joins standard one reaches form four.”

Government changes policy on school books publishing
The government has resumed producing and publishing school text books after claims that private firms have failed to produce quality materials. The duties will now be handled by the government itself through the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) from September 2014.

Announcing the Minister of Education’s decision, Commissioner for Education Eustella Bhalalusesa said “Following the policy changes, the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) will produce and publish text­books (one book for every class and every lesson) for Early Education level, Primary, Secondary and Teachers’ Training”.

Primary School exam results
The National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA) on Wednesday announced improved performance by 6.3 % for Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) held in September.
NECTA Executive Secretary Charles Msonde said that of the 792,122 pupils who sat for the examination, 451,392 passed. The pass rate in 2013 was 50%, which rose to 57% this year.

Drop in Form Four entry
The number of students sitting the National Form Four Examinations has dramatically reduced from 427,679 last year to 297,488 this year as a result of many students having repeated in Form Two. Deputy Minister for Education Jenista Muhagama said that the decline was a result of restoring the Form Two National Examinations which at one point had been cancelled. It is expected that more candidates will sit for the 2015 exams to fill this year’s gap.



by Ben Taylor

Form 6 exam results surprise
Form 6 (A-level) exam results for 2014 were released in July, showing record high pass rates. The pass rate for all candidates was 96%, up from 87% in 2013. Those who achieved the best passes – Division 1 – numbered 3,773, up ten-fold from 325 the previous year. 27% of candidates achieved Division 2 passes, up from 12%.

Representatives of the Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) greeted the results with some scepticism. Ezekiah Oluoch, TTU Deputy Secretary General, called for the results to be investigated, arguing that the input was very different from the output. ‘I’m finding it very difficult to believe the results, majority of schools have no science laboratories, plus we are currently experiencing a shortage of over 5,000 science teachers for Form Five and Six level. We need to inquire a number of things, like the kind of standardisation used this year and the nature of the questions asked. Also was the marking system and grading “massaged”.’

The much-improved results are possibly linked to the introduction of a new grading system. The scores required for Grades A, B, etc. have been lowered. But students now need a better combination of grades in individual subjects in order to achieve Division 1, etc.

Previously, a score of 81% or higher on a particular exam was required to achieve Grade A in that subject, now a score of 75% is sufficient. In past years, a score of between 60% and 80% achieved a Grade B, while now a score between 50% and 75% achieves that grade. For an overall Division 1 pass, 9 points (Grade A=1, B=2, C=3, etc.) from three subjects used to be required.. This has now been reduced to a maximum of 7 points for Division 1. (The Citizen)

Low employability of university graduates
A survey of employers across East Africa has found widespread dis­satisfaction at the employability of university graduates. The study, by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), polled employers in five countries.

In Tanzania, the study found that 61% of graduates lacked basic job market skills, compared to 63% in Uganda, 55% in Burundi, 52% in Rwanda and 51% in Kenya.

The report claims that the quality of university education has fallen as student numbers have risen, blaming the lack of adequate teaching staff. (The East African)



by Ben Taylor

Criticisms of form 4 exam results
The National Examinations Council of Tanzania (NECTA) released exam results for last year’s form 4 exams (O-levels), showing a 15% increase in the pass rate (58% of students who took their exams in November 2013 achieved a pass, up from 43% of those who took their exams in 2012).

However, education sector analysts described the new results as misleading. Elizabeth Missokia pointed out that the exams were graded under a new system that lowered the marks required in order to achieve a pass. “The government is fooling the public by claiming that results have improved,” she said.

The new grading system includes an A which previously ranged from 81-100 but can now be obtained if a student scores 75-100, the government also introduced a B+ which ranges from 64-74, B:50-59, and C:40­49. “If we could put these results into the previous year’s grading, I can say that no improvement has been attained,” noted Dr Mkumbo of the University of Dar es Salaam.

The government-owned Daily News called for “heads to roll” at the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. “A critical self examination is needed at the Ministry, especially the department responsible for secondary schools,” they said in an Editorial. “It borders on the criminal to keep poor children at school for four years just to have them get poor results.”

Rakesh Rajani, an activist who heads the Twaweza organisation, faulted the Continuous Assessment (CA) process, which contributes 30% of the candidate’s final marks. He argued that evidence shows that CA is most of the time not objective and usually highly inflated. “In two out of seven subjects you could be given 80% in your CA and get only 10% in your exams; and get absolutely zero in your other 5 subjects, and still pass,” he said.

The secretary general of Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-government Schools and Colleges (TAMONGSCO) Mr Benjamin Nkonya said that there is no way the country can take pride from the results.
“Truth is, the learning environment in most of the public schools is bad. There are no libraries, no books, no laboratories, teachers are demotivated, many of them incompetent. There is no way we can have good results in such a situation,” he said. (Daily News, The Citizen)

Teacher retention challenges
The government has admitted that despite considerable costs incurred in educating primary and secondary school teachers in the country, a good number of them are not practising their profession.
“Teachers have been a favoured group in various education aspects such as admission in universities and in securing loans from the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB),” said Prof Eustella Bhalalusesa, Commissioner of Education in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training.

Prof Bhalalusesa said a good number of the employed teachers do not stay at their stations for long. “They just report and go for other jobs,” she said, adding that the ministry has taken it as a challenge and was working on it.

The President of the Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU), Gratian Mkoba, argued that poor housing, low salaries, lack of social services and infrastructure are among the factors forcing many teachers to leave their job for greener pastures. He said trainee teachers get TSh 10,000 as a daily allowance, but when they graduate they receive less than TSh 10,000 per day or less than TSh 300,000 per month. “This frustrates them, making them quit their jobs in search of other activities or jobs”, he said. (The Guardian)

BAE radar “change” begins to reach schools
The majority of the text books purchased using the refund from the bungled radar purchase have been distributed to primary schools across the country.

British defence company, BAE Systems, paid Tanzania £29.5 million (TSh72.3 billion) after it sold an obsolete and overpriced military radar to the country, as part of a settlement reached with the UK Courts and Serious Fraud Office.

It was agreed that TSh59.7 billion would be used to purchase books, TSh12.2 billion to buy desks while TSh367.2 million was set to be used for monitoring and auditing. Over 85% of the text books have now been distributed, according to officials from the Prime Minister’s Office for Regional Administration and Local Government.

Cambridge charity supporting vulnerable children in Gairo district
Villagers from Gairo district in Morogoro region have a reason to smile after the Cambridge-based Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) introduced a new programme to support vulnerable children from poor families to access best education from primary to tertiary level.

The Director of Operations and Finance for Camfed Tanzania, Msaada Balula, said educating girls is the best way to help a community to alleviate poverty, noting that educating them is the most effective strategy to ensure the well-being of children and in the long run economic development.

Camfed’s ‘Comprehensive Bursary Support’ will cover all costs related to their secondary education from school fees to textbooks and other costs. According to Balula, the value of the support will depend on the need and poverty level of the supported children.

He said that since Camfed began operations in the country in 2005, a total of 21,592 students have been supported to access education and remain in school from primary to university level.



by Steve Lewis

“You can’t study if you’re hungry” is a new report by RESULTS UK, looking at how the Government of Tanzania is addressing challenges related to early childhood development. The report focuses on the impact of undernutrition on the education and learning of children.

Two UK MPs, Mark Williams and Cathy Jamieson, accompanied by RESULTS UK staff, took part in a fact finding delegation to assess how undernutrition and limited access to education were impacting the abilities to achieve their potential. The visit also looked closely at how UK aid is supporting Tanzania to make progress on these issues.

The report states that in Tanzania, 42% of children under five are chronically malnourished (stunted) whilst 5% are severely malnourished (wasted). Undernutrition can lead to permanent physical and cognitive damage that can impact a child’s performance in school. While Tanzania has experienced steady economic growth over the last few years, economic growth on its own is not sufficient to reduce undernutrition. The report recommends that the Tanzanian government, supported by donors like the UK, should invest directly in nutrition programmes to effectively achieve nutritional outcomes.

From meetings with Tanzanian MPs and Government officials there appears to be strong political leadership for addressing Tanzania’s nutrition challenges, although coordination among multiple ministries is a concern. The report urges that this high level political commitment is matched by better collaboration among agencies and an increase in resources to allow nutrition to become a priority throughout all ministries and districts. This is essential for ensuring that nutrition outcomes improve. In the long term, the governments of both the UK and Tanzania should advocate nutrition becoming a distinct priority in the post-2015 development framework.

In Tanzania, a lack of essential nutrients in the average child’s diet is one of the key determinants of undernutrition – it is not necessarily a lack of food, but a lack of nutritious and varied food. Lack of nutrients and vitamins can be mitigated through the fortification of staple foods such as flour and salt. The Tanzanian government has recognized the cost effectiveness of this method and has, with the help of the UK government, invested in fortifying flour. The report recommends Tanzania expands on this by fortifying other key staple foods, such as maize.

Tanzania has made very strong progress in getting children into primary school, and the net enrolment of children is now at 95%. However, many children are marginalised by ‘under the counter’ school fees and classes are often overcrowded because of the lack of trained teachers. The delegation visited a teacher-training college, which is supported by UK aid, and saw how important this was.

It is important that the UK government continues its support to teacher-training in Tanzania, supports teacher recruitment and works closely with the Government of Tanzania ensure that the teaching profession is valued, with salary and conditions to reflect this.



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)