21 October 2012

Tanzania: Traditional Dances Blamed On Students' Poor Performance

Photo: Lauren Everitt/AllAfrica
Young women perform in traditional dress in Arusha, Tanzania.

OUTDATED traditions and customs are behind poor academic performance among secondary school students in Mkuranga District , Coast Region, the district council secondary education department official, Ms Azusa Osawa has said.

Addressing a workshop on adolescent and reproductive health in Dar es Salaam, Ms Osawa said students spend most of their time performing traditional dances popularly known as 'ngomani,' leaving little room for studies.

"Students should first recognise themselves and set goals to make their dreams come true," said Ms Osawa, who is a volunteer from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) attached to the district.

She pointed out that such customs have tremendously contributed to the early pregnancies and she advised the secondary schools to introduce sports clubs whereby the students could engage in games.

Mr Yukihide Katsuta, who is the chief representative of JICA in the country, said adolescent sexual and reproductive health education would enable the youth to know more about HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and family planning.

"This workshop is being held at the right time because we are presently experiencing many incidences of teenage pregnancies which could otherwise be reduced or prevented altogether," he said.

He said there was a need of providing more sexual health education to the youth to address the prevailing situation, saying the issue of adolescent sexual and reproductive health is very serious because it leads to unwanted pregnancies among the youth.

"It can also contribute to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and school drop out as well as unemployment," said Mr Katsuka, who was the guest of honour to the workshop.

Mr Twaha Twaha, a representative from JICA Alumni Association of Tanzania (JATA), said his association would introduce essay competition to secondary school students, saying the competition would provide the students with platform to share experiences. The one day workshop, brought together 15 students from Kambangwa, Jangwani and Zanaki secondary schools.

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