NEWS on the poor performance of students in the last year's Certificate for Secondary Education Examinations (CSEE) is both shocking and astonishing.
Announcing the results in Dar es Salaam on Monday, the Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, gave spine chilling statistics which showed that 240,903 out of 397,136 students who sat for the exams scored division zero.
That means more than half of the students failed and only 126,847 made it through by scoring divisions 1- 4. The major highlight of the results is that seminaries and same-sex schools remained the best performers. We congratulate the students and teachers at schools that did well.
The results have shocked and saddened not only the affected students and their parents but every Tanzanian. Many are concerned about the fate of the about 400,000 students who failed to get the credits needed to proceed with Advanced level education. Dr Kawambwa attributed the poor performance to shortage of teachers as well as teaching and learning materials in most schools.
Indeed these are some of the valid reasons and the government has been doing its best to address the shortcomings. Various efforts have been undertaken to address the shortage of teachers and recently the government announced plans to deploy some 20,000 staff to various schools.
The aim is to ensure availability of adequate and quality teachers in schools located in both urban and remote areas. But that could not be the only reason especially because even some of the schools that normally do very well recorded a drop in their performance.
There is thus a need to dig deep and get to the root cause of the problem. This should be the time for all relevant authorities to think over and find out what went wrong and where. Relevant policies, for example, should be revisited to determine any flaws, if any, that need to be addressed. Indeed, this should be the time for all actors to join hands and strategise on the way forward and not for pointing accusing fingers at each other.