A faculty member leads a discussion at Mbegani Fisheries Institute during the teaching methodology course for higher learning institutions.
HIGHER learning institutions in Tanzania are crucial for supporting sustainable socio-economic development by equipping individuals with knowledge and skills.
Challenges experienced by academic staff negatively affect the provision of quality education in the country. According to UNESCO the most notable problem developing countries face to date is inadequate staffing at universities with qualified and competent personnel.
Around the world academic staff in higher learning institutions such as universities, colleges and polytechnics face challenges. These challenges include poor remuneration, under financing, unattractive incentive schemes, shortage of teaching and learning facilities.
It is not a new that a scholar with the highest Grade Point Average (GPA) is asked to remain at the university and serve as a tutorial assistant and later on as a lecturer.
Victoria Costantino, a third year student at Ardhi University, believes that scoring the highest GPA does not mean that person is capable of teaching others.
"Some people are very clever but they cannot deliver what they understand to others, they don't have the gift of teaching," said Ms Costantino.
Leokadia Edward, a secondary school teacher at Kimanzichana on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam said some of the tutorial assistants and lecturers are capable of teaching but do not know what methods to use to ensure all the students understand what is being taught.
Ms Edward adds most lecturers have not undergone any kind of training making it difficult for them to understand the psychology of students. Martin Clemence is a tutorial assistant at the Open University of Tanzania and teaches Information and Communication Technology (ICT). He says trained lecturers handle students differently.
"When it comes to setting exam papers it's a challenge for untrained lecturers as they set the papers according to what they understand and not what the university requirements dictate," said Martin. Speaking about orienting academic staff, he said there is a greater need to equip lecturers with vital skills.
The Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE) has introduced programmes to sharpen the teaching skills for young lecturers institutions of higher learning.
The programme dubbed "Teaching Methodology for Higher Education Institutions" commenced last year and it was started after it was evident that the education sector had expanded rapidly and these institutions hire younger teaching staff who lack experience.
The Dean of the Faculty of Education, Dr Consolata Chuwa, said DUCE saw the need to orient academic staff on the basic philosophy, principles and methodologies for teaching. "There is a rapid expansion of higher education institutions offering courses at degree level and yet lecturers lack skills to help students understand," she elaborated.
She added, "The programme organised in seven modules enables participants comprehend better the changing nature of the higher education nationally, regionally and globally," The programme will empower academic staff develop, appraise and use various teaching techniques and strategies in course development.
Dr Chuwa said that so far DUCE has introduced the course to three institutions including, Ardhi University, Mbegani Fisheries Institute and Zanzibar Institute of Financial Administration (ZIFA).
The Commissioner for Education at the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, Prof Eustella Bhalalusesa said the best way to achieve quality education in the country is to ensure availability of welltrained, qualified, committed and dedicated teachers.
DUCE Acting Public Relations Officer, Reuben Ndimbo said the course covers basic philosophical principles and methodologies for lecturing in higher education institutions.
He added that new programmes at DUCE include English proficiency, editing and translating services as well as Postgraduate (PGDE) Programme in Education which is an evening programme.
"With PGDE, we aim at training interested individuals who intend to work or are already working in the education sector and wish to enhance their career prospects in the teaching profession," he said.
PGDE programme provides a flexible route to earn a teaching profession and allows a candidate to combine work and study and leads to the certification in teaching qualification similar to Bachelor of both Science and Arts with Education.