Serengeti Advisers Media

Insight. Foresight.

Education! Education! Education!

leave a comment »

A lot of ink has been spent in the last few weeks talking about the overall state of education in this country. There was the column in The Citizen by Chambi Chachage addressing the ‘education crisis’ in Tanzania following the revelation that 50% of primary school students had failed their final, leaving exams. Mr. Chachage blamed such failures on what he called the ‘confused language policy’ and a lack of stringent Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS).

Mr. Chachage’s argument provoked this response from Swahili Street:

PETS doesn’t tell you of the total ignorance of what [communities] are actually entitled to on the parts of school management, parents and village officials. None that I met were aware of the USD10 commitment [Primary schools are entitled to a grant of  USD10 per student per year – USD6 to be transferred to the schools and USD4 for local government to buy books. How much actually reaches the schools? According the 2009 PETS…USD3.6], and how it is earmarked. None that I met realised they were being short changed. None that I met could predict in which month funding would arrive and in which month it wouldn’t. And none complained about it.

He goes on to conclude:

So the issue isn’t the shortage of PETS, as Chambi suggested. Rather it would appear to be the refusal to commit to a series of PETS that are methodologically sound, comparable over time and available to be debated openly without fear.

Then yesterday in Mwananchi an article by Abeid Poyo (unfortunately no link is available) examined President Kikwete’s record on education during his first term in office. According to Mr. Poyo, there have been some improvements on areas like budgetary spending which has gone up every year since 2008, adult literacy and education and, what is arguably Mr. Kikwete’s biggest success, the completion of the University of Dodoma, a legacy that will endure long after his presidency ends. But these achievements are undercut by failures on areas such as higher education funding where in some instances students have had to wait for months for their financial aid to go through, paying off teachers’ salaries on time who at the moment are dealing with a three year backlog, exam paper leakages and delays on providing computers for schools across the country. So, I think it is fair to say that his record has been mixed.

And today, on the front page of The Citizen, there is this piece that details proposals from the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) on ways to improve the number of young people attending higher education. From the lede:

The Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) has unveiled proposals that seek to make more Tanzanians eligible for university education. 

The TCU has convened a stakeholders’ meeting in Dar es Salaam to discuss proposed modification of the National Qualifications Framework for education and training systems. 

The National Qualifications Framework is the national instrument for the development and classification of qualifications according to a set of criteria for levels of learning and skills achieved. 

The new framework is expected to introduce a new system under which students undergoing vocational training would be eligible for admission to universities. 

Universities currently enrol students directly from Advanced Level of secondary education.

Oftentimes, the press in Tanzania can be easily seduced by the sensational. But what these pieces demonstrate is a serious engagement with what is perhaps the most important policy issue confronting our country today. With the general election coming up, one hopes this is a sign of things to come.

Written by serengetiadvisersblog

January 6, 2010 at 15:55

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: