25 February 2013

Tanzania: Poor Exam Results Draw More Fire

EDUCATION stakeholders have called for greater measures to address emerging challenges that have caused massive failures in last year's Form Four examinations.

Zanzibar First Vice-President Seif Sharif Hamad has advised the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders to find out reasons behind the massive failures in the examinations.

"We should accept that this is a big problem to the State. Let teachers, parents, schools administrations, and the Education Ministry discuss and find out the source of the failures and how students can be helped," he said.

Tanzania Gender and Networking Programme (TGNP) has called on the National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA) to review its examination marking system used in this year's Form Four examinations and write them off if shortcomings are discovered.

A statement signed by the network's Acting Director General, Ms Lilian Liundi, also suggested that the government should stop building ward secondary schools and instead, undertake thorough evaluation of the present schools' performance.

According to Ms Liundi, poor results in the coming examinations are likely to worsen if teachers, particularly in ward secondary schools, keep getting poor remunerations and face shortages of books, periodicals and decent housing.

"The government should make sure that it provides all ward secondary schools with adequate teaching staff some of whom should be able to teach crucial subjects like science, mathematics and English. Another challenge from the Network is for the government to work on its secondary education policy in order to enable all students especially those coming from poor families to benefit from quality and equitable education with no double standards.

TGNP, added the Acting DG, is saddened that despite the series of poor academic standards and alarming examination results, the top brass in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training are still holding the offices. In another development, parents have been blamed for the poor performance registered in the recent released Form Four examination results.

The Mayor of Ilala Municipality, Mr Jerry Slaa, said over the weekend during Form Six graduation ceremonies at St Anthony Secondary School in Dar es Salaam that nowadays many parents have abandoned their children in schools.

"Many parents of today think that their only responsibility is to pay school fees. They leave all the other efforts of ensuring the academic development of their kids to teachers and as a result we end up getting poor outputs," he said. Mr Slaa joined other Tanzanians who have described the results as shocking, cautioning people against rushing to blame authorities instead of giving them time to study the matter.

"If we rush into blaming the minister responsible calling for him to resign, shall we have solved the problem? I think the best way is to give time to authorities to investigate the matter and come out with a better way forward," he said.

Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non- Government Schools and Colleges (TAMANGCO) said it expected the results and predicted the same is likely to happen in next two years. TAMANGCO's National Chairman Mr Mohmood Mringo told the 'Daily News' that it was awaiting the letter of appointment in the Committee formed to probe on the saga.

"The formation of this committee is a result of our suggestion to the government and we are now waiting for the official letter to see how we will take part in it," he said. But the Tanzania Teachers' Union (TTU) President, Mr Gratian Mukoba, said at the weekend that teachers are not ready to take part in the probe committee on reasons that it had nothing new to investigate and offer.

According to Mr Mukoba, his organization had been raising problems in the country's education system including poor and unfair treatment for teachers but nobody has bothered to listen.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, has said that apart from forming the probe team, his ministry plans to undertake strict investigations in schools over this years Form Four massive failures.

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