20 February 2013

Tanzania: Big Names, Low Performance

Photo: Mohamed Mambo
The country has recorded poor performance of Certificate for Secondary Education Examinations results in 2012 (file photo).

A NUMBER of Dar es Salaam residents have questioned the criteria used in naming schools after present and past national leaders wondering if the top figures were contacted for their consent.

This came after the official announcement of the 2012 National Form Four Examinations' results in which all such schools are among the worst performers. Mr Isaac Julius, a Dar es Salaam businessman, said there should be a system to control usage of leaders' names.

"These are public figures therefore it is expected that anything named after them should be exemplary in all aspects," he said. A random check on the examinations results showed that the schools including those named after former and current African and at least one US presidents account for 1,163 students who scored division zero.

The schools bearing names of Presidents Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohammed Shein, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, the US first President, George Washington and former South African President Nelson Mandela have produced very few students who passed with flying colours.

Results released by the National Examinations Council of Tanzania (NECTA) show that schools bearing names of former Presidents Julius Nyerere, Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa have also done poorly alongside those named after former Zanzibar President, Dr Salmin Armour and former Mozambican President Samora Machel.

According to the results, several secondary schools are named after President Kikwete. They include the one in Manyara region whose 59 students scored division zero while none managed division one, two or three. Several secondary schools have also been named after Dr Shein including the one in Zanzibar that has 26 students scoring division zero and none scoring divisions one and two.

Schools named after former Presidents Nyerere, Mwinyi and Mkapa had a combined 423 division zeros. Mwanza based school named after DRC's President Kabila produced 88 division zeros while none scored division one while the one named after the first US President, George Washington, in Arusha has 22 students failed.

Some 105 students of the Morogoro- based school named after South Africa's former President Mandela emerged with division zero while none got division one, two or three. The Mbeya-based school bearing the name of former Mozambican President Samora Machel has 47 students with division zero alongside the one in Zanzibar bearing the name of the Isles former President Dr Amour which has 190 zeros.

Meanwhile, Shadow Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (Education), David Silinde, called on the government to allow over 50 per cent of the failed students to re-sit their exams while attending Form Five, an idea which shadow Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Susan Lyimo supported.

Mr Silinde also called for a national dialogue to address the problem. "Otherwise we will have empty Form Five classes next season and an army of dropouts who will only be vulnerable to crime," he warned.

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