World Bank (WB) has suggested four major issues that Tanzania and other Sub Saharan countries should work on in order to improve education.
They include, completing the unfinished agenda of universalising basic education with quality, ensuring effective management and support of teachers, increasing financing and focusing spending and budget processes on improving quality as well as closing the institutional capacity gap.
These issues were raised yesterday in the global education report titled "Facing forward, Schooling for leaning Africa", launched by WB's senior director of education, Dr Jaime Saavedra and minister for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Joyce Ndalichako.
The report suggests that the region has made considerable progress in increasing primary and secondary school enrolment, but some 50 million children are still out of school and most of those who attend school are not acquiring the basic skills necessary for a successful future. Speaking at the event, Dr Saavedra said most of the developing countries do not consider education as their number one priority especially in their budget, adding that there is a need to invest heavily in order to transform the sector. "Providing a high-quality basic education for children across the region is an economic necessity as well as a moral imperative," he said, adding that Young Africans can transform the region and create lasting economic change, but they need to be equipped with the skills and human capital to do so. (Deogratius Kamagi & Gladys Mbwiga)
"These would be priority areas that will help countries to better align their systems with an effective learning agenda and to bridge the gap from science to service delivery at the school and classroom levels," he added.
According to the study, in 2014, African governments spent an estimated $204 per student for primary education, less than half of the amount spent in South Asia, the region with the next lowest level of spending.
Presenting the report, the World Bank, Practice Manager of education in East and Southern Africa and co-author of the report, Dr Sajitha Bashir named rapid growth of the school-age population, low or stagnant growth of gross domestic product (GDP), per capita and high poverty levels as key challenges affecting education system in Africa.
"Many Sub-Saharan African countries have implemented a few successful policy interventions and have made notable progress, but very few have implemented a comprehensive approach to improving learning for all," she said.
For her part, Prof Ndalichako said the government has started to address challenges facing the sector, including improvement of school infrastructure, curriculum and the implementation of free education.
"The government is aware of the challenges and has demonstrated deliberate efforts to address them," she said, adding that the WB has issued $322 million (about Sh700 billion) to support education in Tanzania.
The money among other things is spent on improving Education Programme for Results (EPforR) and boost teaching skills.
Education stakeholders including Executive Director of a leading research organisation, Twaweza, Mr Aidan Eyakuze hailed the study and asked the government to put more efforts on rural areas.