9 July 2012

Tanzania: New Portal On Education Launched

A NEW portal to give education information has been introduced for all schools across the country. Speaking at the 36th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), on Sunday, the Managing Director for the portal - Soma Tanzania - Mr Rutalemwa Peter, said it was a more advanced portal that use technology to boost Tanzania's education.

He said it is an educational website devoted to gathering as much educational information as possible from Tanzania and delivering it to users within Tanzania, the East African region and beyond.

"We provide educational information from Tanzania and distribute it completely free of charge. Since launching early this month, we have welcomed over 18,000 visitors," he said.

He noted that with so many different sources of information available on Tanzania's education, just knowing where to start looking can be an intimidating and costly prospect.

"This was my major reason of coming up with Somatanzania.org. To make this whole process as simple and painless as possible. For example, a few weeks ago we had a teacher from Switzerland contacting us through the site about a volunteering opportunity in a Tanzanian school," he said.

On how Tanzanians can benefit from this venture, he said the number of institutions that have been registered right from pre-school to university and professional level is huge.

"However, finding accurate information about schools and institutions in this country can be really hard. Parents do struggle -- spending a lot of time and money - to find schools.

"With our website parents can now take a virtual tour from school to school by using a mouse," he said.He said the education forum will contribute to education policy through debate on the current issues, structures and expectations at all levels of Tanzania's education.

He noted that their database has also got 'an education atlas' to Tanzania's useful educational sites where one can find exactly what they are looking for quickly and easily.

On why they came up with an online spelling bee which they have also exhibited at Saba Saba, he said English is used as a medium of instruction in all secondary schools and higher learning institutions in the country, but it still remains a communication barrier between teachers and students in the classroom.

"To eliminate the problem, teachers and students have devised various activities that are meant to improve their ability to speak the language. Schools have even made rules to enforce English speaking and put in place punishments for violators of the rules", he said.

Speaking to students from various schools who visited their pavilions, he said the online spelling bee challenge is the best way for students to improve their language.

"Our aim is to help our students improve their spelling, increase their vocabulary, learn new words and correct use of the English language." he said.

He said they would soon add another feature called Generation Tanzania which plans to profile the lives and accomplishments of Tanzanians born since 1961 -- the year of Independence to inspire Tanzanian Students.

"We have heard many inspiring stories of men and women who started off in humble ways and have gone on to make something for themselves through honest labour. I know this is a hard route to take in a country where the corrupt become overnight millionaires", he said.

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