24 February 2013

Tanzania: Probe Team On Massive Failure Is Welcome

THE dust is yet to settle following revelations of last year's form four massive failure in which more than 60 per cent of the students were reported to have failed.

The government, politicians, teachers, parents/guardians and the students alike were all shocked with some students reportedly committing suicide. The anger could be felt across the media outlets and other social gatherings in the way citizens have been disappointed with the examination results.

While expressing their concern they openly said the education in this country is in serious problems that, knowingly or unknowingly, for the just-released results, is a culmination of several factors that have not been adequately addressed for several years.

They range from education policy, teaching curricular, and teachers working conditions to the status of schools. Education pundits, on their part, are of the review that the education system requires serious review coupled with resolution to address all factors affecting its development.

We agree with their observations that there is serious confusion in the teaching curriculum, teachers teaching hardships, and on the need for availability of teaching facilities at all levels. Our records indicate that for form four examination results have note been impressive for three consecutive years.

And the government has been giving promises including constructing vocational training centres in all districts to assisting those who had failed to repeating the examinations. Any serious nation invests in education because it is the lifeline of its future and we as Tanzanians can not ignore this fact. It goes hand-in-tandem with allocating enough resources in the education sector.

It is internationally acceptable that any country that puts enough resources in the sector should allocate at least 25 per cent of its national budget. We have said in this column several times that the government must prioritise its development activities with greater focus on education development. We do not intend to be alarmists but our records indicate only nine per cent of the national budget is allocated to the sector.

This does not even meet half of the required budget. It will be a miracle to revive the sector if we do not give the budget issue the seriousness it deserves. On the other hand, everyone is responsible for the state of education in this country. Teachers, parents/guardians and students themselves have a big role to play to turn around the education status.

Experts argue that personal initiative of the student account for 60 per cent of his/her success, parents (30 per cent) and teachers (20 per cent). How much effort do our children put into studying, or do parents take trouble to monitor their children's performance? How much do teachers put up to assist their students? Experience indicate that there is very little effort children put in their education.

And because of dismal parenting or guidance many spend most of their time on TV sets, engaged in social media communication all of which consume most of their time. Teachers, despite the challenges they are facing, have their share of blame.

It is a known fact that the generation of committed teachers is out of the education system, those employed either do not have the necessary qualifications or are engaged in extra curricula activities and take teaching as a part time job.

It is our hope the intervention by the Prime Minister in forming a special commission to probe massive failures in the just-announced national form four examination results will shade light on a number of issues that have befell the education sector. We are confident that the team is competent enough and will provide feedback in an acceptable timeframe. We wish the team all the best of luck.

Copyright © 2013 Tanzania Daily News. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.