Form Two students commenced their National Assessment exams yesterday with the National Examination Council of Tanzania (Necta) announcing a record number of candidates.
There is an increase of 86,780 students this year. Necta executive secretary Charles Msonde disclosed on Sunday that a total of 521,855 students will sit the exams.
This is down to the free education policy and it suggests that the dropout rate has declined significantly.
Champagne corks may be popping at the ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Necta, but truth be told; Tanzania still has a long way to go to warrant quality education.
The figures the Necta chief revealed has nothing to do with quality. It is barely a numerical success.
Shortage of teachers and classes to go in line with the free education policy is a cause for concern, which makes most candidates destined for failure. However, be that as it may, the rise in the number of candidates should serve as a wakeup call for the government to focus on quality and facilities that enhance smooth learning.
We applaud some measures taken to improve the learning environment. Nonetheless, the government should go hard on those approving error-laden textbooks.
In a few years, the number of students seeking tertiary education may triple, so it is up to the government to start preparations.