11 December 2012

Tanzania: Extension of TIE Was Dream Come True

THOSE of you who know Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) will recall that it was once part of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM).

It is a Government institution charged with the responsibility of designing and developing the national curriculum for schools and teacher's colleges. It is supposed to review, revise and initiate changes in curriculum and develop educational programmes for pre-primary, primary, secondary schools and teachers colleges. It is also supposed to collaborate with various partners in the provision of quality education.

Recently, TIE in collaboration with the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) and UNES CO (IBE, BREDA, and PDE/TED) successfully conducted a Postgraduate Diploma in Curriculum Design and Development (PDCDD) course. This was a dream come true since it has taken a very long time to implement. It is said that the idea of conducting such a course has been there since the institute was created.

The Institute of Education (IE) as it was called by then occupied the Sisal House building of UDSM when it was created in 1964. IE was made a parastatal organization in 1975. The Act of Parliament that established it, gave it a mandate to organize and conduct teachers, training programmes within its competence, which would lead to the award of diplomas and certificates.

During the transition, lecturers at IE were named curriculum developers. IE used an equivalent system of scheme of work and promotion to that of UDSM in order to maintain the status quo. However, things did not work in its favour. The courses became a nonstarter. It kept haunting the Institute for not implementing what it was legally supposed to do. Lack of support from donors coupled with lack of funding for training made it impossible to attempt the activity.

Things got worse when the Presidential Commission on Education of 1982 (Makwetta's report) recommended that IE should be renamed as Institute of Curriculum Development (ICD) since it was not doing more than that. Some extra effort had to be exerted to attain the present name of Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) to make a new attempt.

This involved tabling a special motion in the National Assembly to rename ICD as TIE. With the new name, TIE started rethinking of the training aspect and eventually renamed the department of Research and Evaluation as Research, Information and Training (RIT). Recent restructuring of TIE has established among other directorates, the Directorate of Training and the Directorate of Curriculum Design and Development.

It was all smiles at TIE when the first batch of the PDCDD graduated at the OUT graduation ceremony conducted at Kibaha Kwa Matias OUT campus on 27th October, 2012. A number of TIE curriculum developers were in the first batch which included several participants from other countries.

After the ceremony, Mrs Grace Tendega, one of the graduates, said in a happy mood, "I am very happy to complete the course. I now feel confident about my work. It has been a big boost to what I had learnt from my colleagues." The course started in October 2011. It was run for one academic year on a part- time basis including a 2-week intensive session (10 days of 8 hours each) where participants' attendance was required, as well as distance learning activities within a time frame of 30 weeks.

It was more of hands on activities where the students took the lead in the learning process which enabled them to acquire the intended competencies. Course materials were made available online in terms of modules as well as during face to-face sessions. All activities were supported and supervised by competent tutors. Course units included:

Curriculum Development Process (2 units); Curriculum Development trends in national and international contexts (2 units); (2 units); Curriculum Design approach models (2 units); Curriculum Management and Governance (2 units); Curriculum Development and Use of teaching and Learning Materials (2 units); Curriculum Implementation Process (2 units); Curriculum Research (2 units); Policy dialogue and formulation for Curriculum Development;

Curriculum Quality Control and Assurance (2 units); and Assessment of Teaching and Learning (2 units). The last three courses were elective while the rest were core courses. During a live interview conducted by one television aired in the morning, the Director General of TIE, Dr P.S.D Mushi and the Vice Chancellor of OUT, Professor Tolly Mbwete, jointly explained how the programme was conducted and was able to achieve the projected objectives.

They insisted that since OUT has regional centres throughout the country; many more rural based teachers will be able to do the course. "Use OUT to develop yourselves because its system allows you to work and study at the same time," said the Prime Minister of Tanzania, Honourable Mizengo Kayanza Pinda (MP), while addressing graduates during the 24th OUT graduation ceremony conducted at Kibaha kwa Mathias on 27th October, 2012.

We congratulate everyone who contributed to the success of this endeavour. You did a commendable job. The second intake has already started and we hope it will also be successful.

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