CAG report exposes causes of poor quality of education

Friday April 09 2021
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Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Charles Kichere

By Jacob Mosenda

Dar es Salaam. Long-standing questions by stakeholders about the deteriorating quality of education in the country found answers yesterday, thanks to revelations in the audit reports of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG).

The audit report for the 2019/20 financial year made public in Parliament yesterday highlighted the causes of the low quality of the education that’s currently provided.

This comes at a time when education pundits have shown concerns over the quality of education - which, they say, has led to churning out half-baked graduates.

Among other issues, the report points out that low level of quality assurance activities has been adversely affecting the quality of primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary education in Tanzania.

It exposes the existence of poor implementation of programmes aimed at establishing effective management of control systems and quality assurance in primary and secondary schools.

“For example, there was a shortage of quality inspectors for education of those with special needs, whereby reports showed there were only 98 out of the 1,306 inspectors required,” the report says.

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However, the CAG said that implementation of the recommendations resulting from quality assurance activities as conducted by the ministry of Education, Science and Technology was limited.

The report indicated that only 39 percent of all recommendations were implemented.

“This was due to the weakness of the education departments in overseeing the implementation of the recommendations within the local government authorities,” the report, signed by CAG Charles Kichere, reveals.

It also disclosed that the activities of quality inspectors did not take into account other equally important aspects of quality in the education sector as only five percent of all recommendations made, touched on the issue of infrastructure.

The audits also identified poor implementation of activities aimed at strengthening the capacity of higher education institutions to manage quality control and quality assurance systems.

Also the audit found that quality assurance tools were developed but not updated in institutions to facilitate proper quality management in the provision of higher education and especially in research activities.

“For example, infrastructural challenges such as shortage of classrooms and desks have persisted despite years of discussion in quality audit reviewers’ reports and thus affecting the teaching and learning environment of primary and secondary school students,” it reads in part.

As a result, it says, “the challenges leading to the existence of weak quality assurance systems in universities have continued to produce graduates who lack the necessary skills required in the current job market.”

In this regard, stakeholders called on the ministry of Education to take steps to address challenges and liberate the quality of education that has continued to deteriorate year after year.

Prof Ngonyani Juma, a lecturer at Kampala University, told The Citizen that he believed the report would be used as a catalyst for revolution in the country’s education sector.

“These answers did not exist for a long time. When we asked, we were politically answered by some education administrators. Now that the door and recommendations have been made, implementation should be given priority,” he said.

For his part, Dr Thomas Jabir, an education consultant based in Dar es Salaam, advised that the Education ministry should strengthen accountability in implementing the recommendations made by quality controllers of schools and colleges to facilitate the provision of quality education in the country.

“Many of the CAG’s recommendations have often been ignored. If we need to liberate the sector, then it is time to implement them all,” he said.