Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

21 March 2013

Tanzania: Indiscipline in Secondary Schools Worry Legislators

MEMBERS of Parliament are calling for a national campaign to curb increased indiscipline among secondary school students if the country wants a brighter future.

Former Minister for Energy and Minerals and current Vice-Chairperson of the Standing Parliamentary Committee for Constitution, Legal and Administration, Mr William Ngeleja said on Tuesday in Bagamoyo that indiscipline by students was a national challenge that seriously required attention.

"We in this committee will play our part in addressing this issue but this problem involves everyone and I would especially like to call upon councillors, who are closest to the people to work with parents in doing away with this trend," he said.

The Standing Parliamentary Committee for Constitution, Legal and Administration visited Bagamoyo to oversee some of the projects implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund (Tasaf). Mr Ngeleja said during the wrap up of the tour that the ill conduct of students was a problem being witnessed everywhere in the country though it differed from place to place, but its rise should be something of concern.

He said that these trends coupled with the bad way parents raise their children today could be one of the reasons for the poor Form Four result performances witnessed these days. During their visit to Dunda Secondary School, Ms Enelis Daudi, a teacher at the school, told the committee members that many teachers contemplated fleeing because of the level of unruliness of the students there.

"It is not uncommon here for a student to clutch fists towards a teacher. Some even have the audacity to tell us that we can not do anything to them because they are about our age. Others sing Bongo Flava and Taarab songs when we want to start a lesson," she explained.

Ms Daudi said that the fact that many students who join Form One came from the same school and have been together since their primary school, means that the group carries with them their bad habits, making it difficult to mould them into exemplary students.

The Ngara legislator and member of the committee, Mr Deogratius Ntukamazina, questioned the headmaster, Mr Musa Charles, as to why disciplinary action such as suspension was not applied in the institution. He said that the school should do everything possible without infringing on the student's basic human rights.

The Chairperson of the committee, Dr Pindi Chana, directed the District Executive Director (DED) to put the issue of disobedient students on the agenda of their council meetings and that parents should be included in the board.

Dr Chana said that if education was to be the inheritance of this and coming generations, then it was paramount that students knew what they were required of and that if their tour was to bear fruit, teachers' interests needed to be catered for.

The teachers asked for furniture after Tasaf had built a staff room for them. During the wrap up, Mr Ngeleja also expressed the committee's satisfaction on how Tasaf assisted the government in reducing poverty. The committee was particularly impressed by a project that helped very poor households with people over 60 years old with cash bi-monthly, making an impact on their lives.

The Tasaf Executive Director, Mr Ladislaus Mwamanga, commenting on the pilot project, said that it had produced big results that the President had directed that it be scaled up throughout the country. Mr Mwamanga said that at its inception in 2008, they were able to identify the poorest households from a community meeting, to build human capital and they had every intention of making it sustainable.

"We have heard the concerns of the committee of sustainability, but this has already been catered for in Tasaf Phase Three, where we will make an assessment soon by looking at the assets those households have attained. Adequate assets will be removed to pave way for others to get the opportunity," he explained.

The Director said that in phase three Tasaf had put more emphasis on water, education and health and that in phase two one of the biggest challenges had been dealing with small groups and how to make them sustainable. Phase three, however, had come up with models to address the challenges.

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