Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Tanzania: Time for a Critical Look At Tanzania's Education System

FOR the past two decades, there has been a steady flow of warnings from parents, the government, the private sector and the civil society about the 'falling' quality of education in Tanzania.

Two major benchmarks are used to assess the level of quality in education. Firstly, educators look at the performance of learners in basic skills such as writing, reading and basic arithmetic (adding and subtracting). Secondly, educators look at the level at which learners are able to acquire basic life skills related to the preparedness of learners to fit into the world of work.

Sometimes these two benchmarks are categorised as the academic and vocational dimensions of education outcomes. The academic components focuses on intellectual pursuit as reflected in the high standards of thinking, arguing, enquiring, experimenting and speculating.

In this case, many educators argue that a quality education programme should enable learners to balance the two dimensions by facilitating the acquisition of academic competencies such as critical thinking, problem solving and argumentation, and preparing the learners to be able to fit into the world of work through the provision of vocational competencies such as communication skills and job-specific skills.

According to a research report by HakiElimu on the relationship between curriculum quality and education, it is more common to assess the quality of education using the benchmark related to the performance of learners. In this case, educators and other education stakeholders look at the performance of learners in various exams to judge the quality of education they receive.

"Using this benchmark, for example, in recent years the performance of candidates in national examinations has been declining, with an implication that the quality of education has been declining as well," says Dr Kitila Mkumbo of the University of Dar es Salaam Department of Education Psychology and Curriculum Studies


Post a Comment