20 January 2013

Tanzania: Mara Schools in Acute Shortage of Maths Teachers

Mara — DOZENS of ward secondary schools in various parts of Mara Region have no mathematics teachers, a senior education official disclosed to the 'Sunday News'.

"Shortage of mathematics teachers is alarming in my area and several schools are affected," the Serengeti District Secondary Education Officer, Mr William Makunja, said. Serengeti District has 21 public secondary schools and it is experiencing a shortage of 38 mathematics teachers, according to Mr Makunja.

"We need 102 science teachers but last year, 87 teachers were posted to our district and out of this only five were science teachers and not all reported", the district's head of secondary school department said, calling for immediate interventions that will help to curb shortage of science teachers in pubic secondary schools.

"Most graduate teachers have done arts subjects compared to teachers with diplomas and it will be better if those with diplomas will also be posted to our schools", Mr Makunja quickly suggested. The situation is also reported to be worse in the neighbouring Tarime District where several community ward secondary schools are also going without mathematics teachers.

Member of parliament for Tarime constituency, Mr Nyambari Nyangwine (CCM) made a weeklong working tour in the Northern Tarime District recently and learnt that lack of mathematics teachers is one of the critical issues facing development of secondary education in the area.

"For example, I visited Nyaibara Secondary School and was informed that the school does not have even a single mathematics teacher. How do you expect students to perform well?" the MP queried when briefing journalists. Mr Selvester Murimi, in-charge of Tarime Secondary Education Academic Department has confirmed that there are more other secondary schools going without mathematics teachers in the area.

"We are being forced to use part-time teachers to teach mathematics. The shortage is huge", the official confirmed yesterday. The entire Tarime District is facing a shortage of around 33 mathematics teachers, according to Mr Murimi. "Last year, we got an allocation of 120 new teachers and out of them only 10 had done science and the turn up was not 100 per cent", he said.

Few available mathematics teachers have been mainly posted to newly established high schools in the area, he said. "We are now budgeting for incentives to motivate science teachers as well as maintaining those who are already here," the official said.

Shortage of science teachers is reported to be a national problem, according to stakeholders within the education sector. Early this month, the State announced deployment of 14,060 new secondary school teachers across the country, any time from now, a move that is greatly expected to cut down shortage of teachers in public schools.

The move will go hand in hand with posting 14,600 new teachers to primary schools and 80 teachers to teachers' training colleges.

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