Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

4 December 2013

Tanzania: Moment of Pride for Tanzania

It showed a proud Form Three student from Morogoro, Tanzania, Peter Robert Kilave, receiving his prize for emerging overall winner of an essay contest that had involved schools in all five partner states of the East African Community (EAC).

It also showed a proud Head of State of Tanzania, President Jakaya Kikwete, congratulating his teenage countryman for the feat well accomplished. Peter's winning entry concerned the construction of infrastructure in the five EAC countries.

While we all bask in the glory of the award this Tanzanian teenage got for topping the list of other brilliant contestants from schools across East Africa, there are one or two important lessons learned from this success story.

Peter has come from a little known secondary school in Morogoro, a ward secondary school at that, which is quite something to write home about, bearing the general public misconception of such schools in mind.

Tushikamane Secondary School might not be in the list of the country's top-rated educational institutions, either public or private, not mentioning its ranking among top schools in East Africa if a ranking exercise were conducted today!

There has unfortunately been a notion of many years that schools outside Tanzania, including those in Kenya and Uganda, are the best in the region, compelling many well-to-do parents to send their children there over even beyond at an incredible cost.

There had been a price to pay for such preference to out-of-the-border schools, which include the manufacturing of the so-called elitist force of young men and women out of touch with the realities of their own country.

Given state encouragement and if well equipped and adequately-staffed, our own schools, including the socalled ward ones (shule za kata), could perform wonders.

The ball should start rolling in the court of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. For just too long, it has been the same old story of inadequately staffed and equipped schools.

It is a trend that should be reversed for better results. It's also time parents and guardians were reminded to take a keener interest in the school progress of their children. Indifference won't help but wreck them, which is the last thing this nation would like to see.

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