Improving equity and quality of education in Tanzania

In this presentation I discuss educational philosophies the Tanzanian education system has pursued since the country’s independence. Tanzania inherited the British System of Education. In its early years, the country pursued the Excellence Model of Education. The Excellence Model of education was entirely based on a bizarre interpretation of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Early educationists believed in the survival of the fittest as being the main tenet of the Darwinian Theory. Thus, survival of the fittest become the heart and soul of their education philosophy. The country pursued this philosophy (educating only the best) of education until late 1990s.

However, this model or philosophy of education had its own drawbacks. For instance, the cherry picking that went along with this model by allowing only the top of the top to climb the ladder of education resulted in a very small percentage of the population receiving further education. Thus, majority of the population could not fully participate in the day to day democratic doings required to build a nation due to lack of further education.

In the early 2000s the MDG goals came along with the emphasis to educate all children. Tanzania signed up on the MGD goals. The country subscribed wholy to the new philosophy of education that put educating all children at the forefront of its education policy. As the country was working to meet the MDG goals, many new schools were built. This was the start of the famous Shule Za Kata.

It is commendable that the country took this noble cause to educating all children at least to a secondary level education.  However, the whole process was poorly designed, managed, and implemented. Thus, resulting in an overall decrease in student academic performance in National Examination. The reasons for the decline are three folds: 1) increase in school buildings and student enrolment did not match the increase in the number of well qualified and trained teachers in those schools; 2) over enrollment led to an overall lack of learning and teaching resources in the schools. This in turn, led to poor teaching and learning resulting in poor performance; and 3) support for the newly and poorly trained teachers was minimal and in most cases, non- existent.

To learn more from my lecture series, please click on the presentation. I have also included an agenda that summarizes the entire presentation below

  •   The history of the Tanzanian Education System.
  •   Educating only the best (The Excellence Education Philosophy: 1961 to 1990s).
  •   Educating All Children (The new education philosophy: 2000s to present).
  •   The wide spread of Shule za Kata.
  •   Rakesh Rajani sums it all up (evidence that learning is not happening in our schools).
  •   What needs to be done differently
  •   Equity vs. Equality Funding Models (what do they mean?).
  •   What needs to be done differently
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