31 July 2012

Tanzania: NGO Calls for Reliable Education Policy

Mwanza — UNPREDICTABLE policies have negatively affected the education sector, calling for a need by the government to come up with a single reliable policy with a special focus on answering challenges facing the country.

The advice has been put forth by the Mwanza Regional Education Officer, Mr Hamis Maulid, over the weekend while welcoming a delegation of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Tanzania (WRATZ) which was in the region to advocate importance of studying science subjects among secondary school students.

The campaign aimed at ensuring that the country increases the number of qualified individuals who are able to join medical courses, especially midwifery, in a bid to reduce the disturbing high rate of maternal and infant mortalities.

"We need to critically look at our country's present and future needs and from there put in place a reliable education policy that will help in solving the current and future challenges for sustainable development," he said.

Mr Maulid mentioned the unpredictable change of education policies depending on who is in power as one of the biggest mistakes the country has had, that affected the sector negatively. The REO was responding to concerns by the WRATZ Country Coordinator, Ms Rose Mlay, who wondered as to why the government had to pull out from the selection list the midwifery courses where Form Four and Form Six students used to opt.

"At this time when we are losing 24 women everyday from pregnancy related complications we cannot afford to lose out potential candidates who would join midwifery courses to help in reducing these deaths," said Ms Mlay.

She noted further that there was no reason whatsoever for the government to remove the course from the list as the nation is in acute shortage of midwives who are now at the ratio of 1:40 instead of the recommended ratio of 1:6.

Ms Mlay who is a midwife by profession noted that had it not been for availability of the course in the selection form she would not have became a midwife. "When I completed my secondary education, I directly chose the midwifery course and that is how I ended up becoming a midwife, this is the opportunity which the current generation is missing notwithstanding its importance," said Ms Mlay.

On his part, Mr Maulid further noted that such changes should involve stakeholders' opinions and not a mere decision by top leaders.

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