- Many longed to see a new education system created that would help students to do what they were capable of instead of having to follow the rigid curricula or system established since independence.
Dar es Salaam. Hope has been renewed for Tanzania’s education system, thanks to President Samia Suluhu Hassan directive yesterday showing that she joined hands with various education stakeholders to demand the review of the curricula.
President Hassan’s directive to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology left education stakeholders optimistic about what has been their long-term plea to the government to enable the country to obtain the required skilled labour force for its industries.
Many longed to see a new education system created that would help students to do what they were capable of instead of having to follow the rigid curricula or system established since independence.
Speaking at the swearing in of the appointed permanent secretaries and heads of public institutions at the State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday, President Hassan said it was time to review and evaluate the education curricula.
President Hassan cited one of the arguments of Kahama Urban MP Jumanne Kishimba when he asked a question in Parliament (2019) as to why a student should study first grade to higher levels and then return to be a parent’s burden.
“When he said most of you laughed and maybe others said what kind of MP he was, but he said the truth, let’s take a look at ourselves and our education system…,” she noted.
President Hassan, the first female president in the history of Tanzania, questioned how a child who completed Form Four was going to help himself.
“Let’s all make self evaluation as Tanzanians to find the curricula that will help our youth and develop our nation academically,” said President Hassan.
“We have a lot of factories, but we don’t have skilled labour. So the education docket must look at this,” she added.
Currently, the country’s education system is a four tier structure modelled along a 7-4-2-3 year progression pattern: seven years of primary education, followed by four years of secondary level, two years of upper secondary or high school level and three to five years of tertiary education.
This model therefore shows that a Tanzanian student spends an average of 16 years in the education system until they graduate.
However, the number of years a student spends in school could be much longer with the advent of early childhood education programmes.
Despite spending a lot of time in school, employers have not been impressed with the quality of graduates churned out every year, who lack key practical and emotional skills to survive in the job market.
The Tanzania Education Network (Tenmet)’s programme manager Nicodemus Shauri told The Citizen that President Hassan’s directive showed that everything has its time and environment.
“As stakeholders, we may have something we have been talking about for a long time and sometimes feeling like giving up, but eventually a leader comes who is passionate about what we have been talking about. This is the right time,” said Mr Shauri.
He said although the country has a new education policy of 2004, the acquisition of the policy did not involve many stakeholders and that in 2018 the government promised to review the policy but did not do so.
“We must have a curriculum that recognizes that not every child has the academic ability, others are good at sports, culture, and music. I am very happy with the President’s statement because not every student has to go to university,” he said.
For his part, Dr Ngonyani Juma, education expert and lecturer, said that what was needed is for the ministry to convene a meeting with stakeholders to collect proposals because they already exist.
“The ministry does not need to worry too much, this has been the cry of stakeholders and every time they cried they made suggestions. Therefore, stakeholders should be called and this issue be addressed immediately because we are late,” said Dr Juma.