Many education stakeholders are seemingly of the opinion that the just-ended year has gone down on a positive note for this crucial sector. Debatable as this claim might be, they have rightly cited a quite a number of achievements for the past 12 months. Among them is the tough but very necessary decision by the government to crack down on 19 universities by stopping them from admitting new students over quality issues.
The government also moved in to suspend various programmes at even our premier institution of higher learning, the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), because these institutions failed the quality test as far as the teaching of the courses is concerned. A lot of us would agree that this was long overdue.
There is also the name and shame exercise, which saw the authorities kicking out from the system dubious teachers who had cheated their way to the classroom by using fake certificates. This also, many would agree, was long overdue. We wonder how a nation can develop when our children are taught by dubious elements in public schools. It's a long list of positives.
The increase in the number of university students who benefitted from the government loans facility is also worth mentioning, together with the move to expedite the disbursement of these funds aimed at ensuring our students learn without much sorrow. These positives, notwithstanding, there remains a huge gap in our education system, one that various experts have been warning about.
At various forums, stakeholders have been pushing for more sincere reforms as opposed to episodic, and somewhat cosmetic, changes. The disease that our education system suffers from demands a more holistic approach in fixing. This will include the drafting of a new policy as advised. We need a more coherent strategy. One that recognises that our role is to develop the human resource of the country.