Thursday, December 19, 2013

Primary education in a mess

The poor state of education in our schools continues to disturb those who have the welfare of Tanzania at heart, what with the revelation in a recent survey that 25 percent of pupils in Standard Seven cannot read books meant for those in Standard Two.

According to Twaweza’s annual report, released on Tuesday, children aged between seven and 16 across the country are barely learning. We boast a high primary school enrolment rate, with over 95 per cent Tanzanian children of school-going age in Standard One. But a cynic will be forgiven for retorting: So what? We must ask ourselves, as the headline of Twaweza’s survey does: Are our children learning?

Sadly, they might be in school, but the education they are receiving is of doubtful quality. A report last year revealed that over half a million Form One students could not even spell their own names!

It is time for a reality check. This means addressing the quality of our education all the way from the grassroots. The shoddy performance of many of our college graduates can be traced back to the mess at lower levels. Someone is shortchanging our children. We must refuse to put up with it.