1 May 2018

Tanzania: Want the Education Sector to Improve? Here Are the Recommendations

Tanzania's education system has seen numerous revamps over the years, an indication that the government is working hard towards improving the education standards. However, different reports on education matters reveal that there's more that's needed to be done in order to improve the education system in the country.

The government is expected to table down the education sector's budget plan for the Financial Year 2018/19. With the aim of improving education standards, Success brings you seven education recommendations made by HakiElimu to the government as well as comments from other education stakeholders.

According to UWEZO report released last year, for the past few years the education sector has experienced poor results in literacy and numeracy skills among primary school children, the performance showcased is below expectations across all grades.

Required infrastructure for public schools: John Kalaghe, the Executive Director of HakiElimu, says with the seven recommendations the government needs to bare full responsibility of ensuring that public schools have the required infrastructures to make learning and teaching possible.

"Currently primary schools have a shortage of libraries. The rate of shortage has gone up from 88 per cent in 2016 to 91.1 per cent in 2017. In secondary schools, the shortage of laboratories varies from 51.5 per cent for Biology, 54.3 per cent for Physics and 43.3 per cent for Chemistry," says Kalaghe.

Kalaghe further states that according to the 2016 World Bank report only 41 per cent of Tanzania's primary and secondary schools have infrastructure that meets the required standards as primary schools continue to face a shortage of 186,008 staff houses, 10,943 administrative buildings, 15.342 library rooms and 16,290 first aid rooms.

Adrian Paul, a Form III student at Majani ya Chai Secondary School, says he is happy that his school has at least two laboratories, but also points out that there are no enough facilities, and most of the times available cannot be used for practical lessons.

He says, with such an environment none of the students will manage practical lessons and at the end of the day more failures in the final examinations should be expected.

Allocate more money to the education sector: He recommends that the Government allocate realistic budget that can really set a remarkable step in resolving these long-lasting challenges that have been affecting learning and teaching in public schools.

A total of Sh 4.706.4 billion was approved by Parliament in the financial year 2017/18. The amount is less compared to what was approved in financial year 2016/17, which was Sh. 4,770.4 billion. This means the education sector's budget dropped by Sh64 billion. The drop saw a fall in the proportion of the education sector to the national budget from 16 per cent allocated in 2016/17 to 14.9 per cent or approximately 15 per cent in 2017/18.

"This allocation is short of regional and international commitments to education such as the Dakar Framework for Action on Education for All, 2000 and the Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action, 2015. We recommend to the government to allocate 20 per cent of her 2018/19 National budget to the education sector," says Kalaghe.

Improve teachers' standard of living: Kembe Kudinga is a Primary teacher at Kimanga Primary School in Dar es Salaam. He says houses have never been an easy thing for teachers to afford as a result it forces teachers to look for other income generating activities so as to earn more money.

With such environment majority of teachers fail to get enough time to prepare topics due to busy schedules.

"If the government manages to support teachers with good teaching environment it would be easy for them to spend more time working at school and improving the quality of education."

Address disbursement challenges: Godfrey Bonaventura, Unit Manager for Research and Policy Analysis, says HakiElimu calls for addressing education sector's development budget disbursement challenges.

For years now, disbursements for development budget has been poor, you will remember, Dr. Philip Mpango, the Minister for Finance, while addressing the Parliament on April 2017, admitted that the government has implemented deficit development budget at only 34 per cent by April 2017, for the financial year 2016/17.

He says, the CAG's report of April 2018 indicates also that the government had disbursed only 51 per cent of the expected development budget for the financial year 2016/17.

"The disbursement has affected the education sector's development budget too. During the FY 2016/17 Sh897.6 billion was allocated for Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST's) development spending, with Sh427 billion being for Higher Education Students' Loans Board (HESLB) and Sh470 billion for the ministry's development projects. However, only 31 per cent of Sh470 billion (for MoEST's development projects) was disbursed by April, 2017," says Bonaventura.

Adding to that he says, the under-funding has also affected implementation of the Literacy and Numeracy Education Support (LANES) programme, projects aiming at improving pupils' mastery of 3Rs (Writing, Arithmetic and Reading) whose intended budget was disbursed by only 27 percent by April, 2017.

In WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) program's budget was disbursed by only 29 per cent and the quality control and monitoring of schools budget disbursed by only 16 per cent.

Commenting on WASH in schools, Juhudi Nyambuka, Health Environment Officer in Temeke Municipal, says investing in WASH in schools needs to be given a lot of attention as it brings a lot of positive impact in behavior change from a young age.

She says for the past ten years she has been doing a lot on WASH in schools. She has helped out in starting WASH clubs at different schools; however getting enough facilities has always been a challenge.

Sufficient budget in girls-related programs: She agrees with the recommendation by HakiElimu which calls upon the government to consider setting sufficient budget in programs relating to girls education.

She says it is true that female students are the most affected by poor learning and teaching environment due to biological reasons therefore the government should invest in providing sanitary gears as well as all other facilities that make menstruation at school friendly.

In the financial year 2017/2018 the government had set Sh1 billion for SWASH program and up to February 2018 only Sh170 million equivalent to 16 per cent of the allocated amount had been released, reads part of the budget recommendations from HakiElimu.

Budgeting for teachers' recruitment: Other recommendation is budgeting for teachers' recruitment and deployment as the number of teachers in primary schools in the year 2017 dropped from 191,772 in 2016 to 179,291 in 2017, a decrease of 6.5 per cent, making a ratio be 1:50.

In pre-primary schools, the number has decreased by 1,948 teachers. This means the teacher-pupil ratio in pre-primary has shot up to 1:159 in 2017 from 1:135 in 2016 instead of the standard 1:25.

In government secondary schools for instance there is a shortage of 7,291 teachers in Mathematics, 5,181 in Biology, 5,373 in Chemistry and 6,873 in Physics, there was an excess of 1,267 teachers in English, 3,281 in Geography, 4,704 in History and 4,795 in Kiswahili.

Budgets for schools capitation grants: HakiElimu advise the Government and the Parliament to allocate at least Sh20,000 as the capitation grant for each primary school learner and Sh50,000 for each student in secondary schools.

These amounts should be provided on top of Sh20,000 per day per secondary school student and Sh40,000 per day per each boarding secondary school student in public schools.

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