25 February 2013

Tanzania: Stakeholders Tout Strategies to Improve English Skills

Tanga — FOLLOWING massive failures by Form Four students in last year's national examinations, stakeholders in Tanga Region have urged the government to lay down strategies to improve English language right from primary school level for both, teachers and students.

Speaking in an interview with the 'Daily News', a lecturer from Eckernforde University Ms Ancifrida Prosper said one of the major obstacles for Form Four students was poor English skills which is the medium of instruction in secondary schools.

Ms Prosper, who is also a researcher in education matters, said that research done in recent years revealed that many secondary school students were unable to communicate in English, thus, they could not manage even to answer questions through such language.

She said the students used seven years of primary education communicating and answering examination questions in Swahili, but as soon as they begin secondary school level, they start using English as medium of instruction without even regarding their poor English back ground.

She said in such a situation the students are being demoralized from the beginning as they start Form One, therefore, such poor start ends up with poor results in final national exams. According to her, in-service English programmes should be carried on to empower teachers with language skills, because even those (teachers) seemed to be poor in the language use.

Commenting on the results, Tanga Regional Commissioner, Ms Chiku Gallawa said wananchi should not blame the government , but everyone should ask his or herself what has they done to help students perform better.

She said there is no individual responsible for the massive students' failure, but the issue is cross-cutting; parents have their role to play, teachers have their own, the government and the whole public have responsibility too.

"The question here is to discuss why this has happened and what to do in order to avoid such massive failure in future...but, blame game is not good and Tanzanians must not continue to complain over everything, instead, we have to learn to find the solution," said RC.

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