21 March 2018

Tanzania: Academics Back Mkapa's Advice On Public Schools

Dar es Salaam — Former President Benjamin Mkapa's call for national dialogue to save the education standards received backing from some academics yesterday, with some saying the country has an urgent need to improve standards.

Mr Mkapa, who doubles as Chancellor of University of Dodoma, said recently that there was a 'crisis' in education, reiterating that there was a need for national dialogue to save the students in public schools.

Mr Mkapa was speaking during a function to swear in the university's new Vice Chancellor in Dodoma on Friday last week.

Reacting to the statement, Mr Thompson Ambwene of Bagamoyo University called upon the government to emulate private schools on motivaing their teachers to work hard for better results.

Dr Peter Ndibalema, who teaches as Dar es Salaam's Amazon College, shared similar sentiments, calling upon a collaborative approach among teachers to improve standards in public schools.

"In theory, most schools want teachers to collaborate with one another to develop lessons, address individual students' learning needs, and share ideas and resources. In reality, most public schools' teachers have little time within the school day to do so... .Collaboration must be enhanced," he said.

With collaboration, teachers work closely with colleagues and this be able to discuss their curriculum and how to meet the needs of each learner.

The other issue that needs to be dealt with, according to Prof Eranus Jacob of Kampala International University, is the number of students in each classroom. "In the developed world, each class has 20 students in average and a maximum of 32," he said.

Educationists say free tuition has led to a massive increase in the number of children enrolled in primary schools.

This increase has not been accompanied by a proportional increase in resources.


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