10 May 2013

Tanzania: Plans Afoot to Boost English Teaching

THE government and Britain are embarking on an ambitious project on English Language improvement to help address education quality in primary and secondary schools.

The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, the British Council, the Volunteer Service Organization (VSO) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) have pledged to develop the project.

The four year project, titled Education Quality Improvement Project Tanzania: English Language Teaching (EQUIP -T ELT), will be achieved through developing capacity of tutors in government Teachers Training Colleges and Student teacher to communicate in English and extend their teaching capability to teach.

Launching the project in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, said challenges facing teaching and learning of English language include low teachers' mastery of the language, which poses communication difficulties and limited classroom interaction.

Dr Kawambwa explained that the current global development demands have made English language a crucial tool for communication in the world, making it necessary for government to find ways to help the young generation master the language.

He said teachers have been earmarked as central in ensuring the success of government's initiative of 'Big Results Now' in the education sector. The project will be implemented in 34 public teacher training colleges for four years, starting November 2012.

The minister explained that the target groups that will benefit from the project include more than 35,000 pupils and students from primary and secondary schools, 70,000 teacher trainees, 1,650 tutors, 510 head of professions and 220 school inspectors. The Millennium Development Goal Leader, Ms Liz Tayler, commended the high enrolment in schools but also noted the government's frustration over the falling quality of education.

"For this reason, we are supplementing our support to the education budget with projects in focused areas that are likely to make a real difference and this project will do this," she explained, adding that it will support all public teachers training institutions to improve English language.

Ms Tayler noted that currently, UK contributes 120bn/-to the general budget and 63bn/- to education specifically, estimating that over 400,000 children are supported through schools. The Commissioner for Education in Tanzania, Prof Eustella Bhalalusesa, said the projects targets at improving the capacity of teacher educators and student teachers with specific focus on English as the medium of instruction.

"In this, the emphasis will be on developing English language communication skills so as to build mastery and confidence in the use of the language," Prof Bhalalusesa explained.

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