IT has been reported that Dar es Salaam Region has set up three teams to monitor classroom congestion in public secondary schools.
This is an ideal move. But it is also a belated one. Some schools have too many students crammed in classrooms. The teams have been detailed to assess the magnitude of other problems in schools.
The most profound problems include shortage of school desks and shortage or absence of teaching and learning equipment and materials and other needs. It is imperative to mention at the outset that the learning environment needs much more than school desks, equipment and materials.
Others have inadequate water supply and toilets. And there is the nagging shortage of teachers. Problems, such as these, should be shot down if the learning environment is to improve. It is equally necessary to impress upon authorities that schools in rural Tanzania are needier.
Some are a pitiful sight. It would be remiss on our part not to mention here that school feeding should be restored in rural secondary schools especially where students cover huge distances on foot going to school and back home.
A survey made in yesteryears showed that apart from whetting the appetite for learning, school feeding improves school attendance and cuts back on the dropout rate. Students hardly grasp the gist of their lessons with the pangs of hunger and thirst raging.
Perhaps the shortage of teachers is the most critical. Some schools in rural Tanzania have only three teachers where 20 are needed. Indeed, the shortage of teachers is a mind-boggling conundrum. The government is working on the matter, okay, but the pace is too slow.
The nation has a shortage of 26,000 science and mathematics teachers. This is a stiff challenge for a country whose teacher training colleges can manage to produce only 2,200 teachers a year.
Some teachers have sad stories you might never imagine, no wonder some of them decide to walk out in a quest to join completely different professions. Those whose work stations are located in the remotest areas suffer the most.
Under such punishing conditions, it is not only the teachers who desert their workstations, students drop out of schools too. So, while the nation is keen on improving learning conditions, it should investigate why the canker has escalated.