Education system in Tanzania continues to fail students

By Scolastica Philemon

The status of the education system in Tanzania remains unstable, despite efforts put forth to develop. According to research conducted by Madam Mohan Ladunuri at Dodoma University, the system is in disarray in part due to an education policy that was implemented by the ministry, which states that every ward must have its own community secondary school. This has led to the mushrooming of secondary schools across the country. Now, those schools have now encountered another problem; a lack of qualified teachers.

Ladunuri’s research highlights a trend in the last five years regarding the academic performance of these schools, which has been poor education levels and students continuing to produce low grades in their final form four examinations, resulting in many students unable to continue with any further studies. This impacts families in Tanzania, who have a number of children, who have no where to go as a result of their final examination scores.

Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa, of the ministry of education and vocational training, confirmed that nearly six out of ten students who sat for the national form four examination in 2012 failed, and the number of students who scored division zero rose from 31.9% in 2011. He said that out of the 397,126 students who sat the form four examination, 240,903 failed.

Boniface Lucas, a school owner in Morogoro region, believes that the government of Tanzania should completely rethink the education agenda. Since 2002, the government has been building classrooms and certifying teachers. Lucas argues that the government and education stake holders in Tanzania “need to get a better grip on what drives quality education and learning, considering that evidence from other countries suggest it has to do with more than just implementing classrooms, formally certifying teachers or book supplies.”

The Legal and Human Rights Centre 2012 Human Rights Report reinforces that education is free and that every child has the right to attend. However, in Tanzania it is considered a privilege and not a right. The report also found that another underlying factor affecting students’ ability in school comes down to infrastructural challenges, such as a lack of electricity. Many students experience power outrages or do not have electricity in their homes, which impacts their ability to study and read in the evenings.

Emmanuel John, a teacher from a government school in Dar es Salaam said “government schools in Tanzania have a lot of problems which hinder students from performing well, such as no in service training programs, no financial support from the government, and a difficult overall environment for teachers to work in.”

Unless the government steps up to address its shortcomings in the education sector, the system will continue to fail a generation of Tanzanians and ultimately impact the future of the country.

Scolastica is a student at St. Augustine University of Tanzania, studying a degree in Mass Communication. Scolastica aspires to be an internationally recognized journalist of human rights. She hopes to become the voice of the voiceless.

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