31 January 2013

Tanzania: Student Assessment Should Be Knowledge-Based - Official

ASSESSMENT of students' academic performance should focus on knowledge in order to develop attitudes and skills intended in the curriculum, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, Mr Celestine Gesimba, has said.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Assistant Director in Teacher Education Department, Ms Helen Lihawa during the Fifth Conference on Community Practices for Learner Centred Education in Dar es Salaam, Gesimba said assessment should be based on what has been learnt.

"Teachers have to be sure of when to teach and assess the competences developed to a student," said the PS while opening a two-day meeting under the theme "Improving Assessment to Enhance Learning."

He noted that the government has taken steps to improve teachers' professional competencies through school-based in service teacher training programme, which has been piloted in seven districts and that the evaluation was positive.

Mr Gesimba said that assessment should be thought deeply in terms of how it can promote learning, saying the philosophy guiding education also determines the nature of assessment and the tool to be used. "In the case of Tanzania, it is generally declared that education for self reliance is the guiding philosophy. But how does assessment relate to that philosophy?" he asked.

The PS pointed out that the assessment should be motivating enough to encourage a learner to take another stride to move forward to want to know more and that teachers and examiners need to improve skills in setting tasks that motivate the learners.

Presenting a paper on Modes and Nature of Assessment, Dr Frank Tilya said the assessment should facilitate a student to understand better, adding that it should encourage them to think critically. The conference which has been organized by the Tanzania Education Network (TEN-MET) brought together about 30 education stakeholders to discuss challenges facing the sector.

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