Tanzania: Community secondary schools are still being formed

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue Nov 4 16:16:36 UTC 2008

Community secondary schools are still being formed

Daily News; Monday,November 03, 2008 @22:45

Last month there was a national education debate organized by the
Tanzania Education Network (TENMET) where a paper was presented giving
an appraisal on the status of the schools in the context of the
Secondary Education Development Programme (SEDP) policy. Staff Writer
MASEMBE TAMBWE explores the findings of the appraisal. The rapid
appraisal of the status of community secondary schools was
commissioned by the Tanzania Education Network (TENMET) and undertaken
under the supervision of the Bureau of Education Research and
Evaluation (BERE) in March/April last year. The paper that was
presented was by Dr Azaveli Lwaitama from the University of Dar es

He revealed that the issues and challenges that emerged from the said
synthesis focused on adequacy and quality of the school teachers,
location of the schools and quality of infrastructure, accessibility,
enrolment rates and capacity for instructional leadership. Dr Lwaitama
said that much as the start of these schools begun with good
intentions of establishing one secondary school in every ward with the
aim of achieving a 50 per cent transition rate from primary to
secondary education, the education system is long and that good
citizens ought to be encouraged to assisting the Government to guard
against making costly mistakes.

He suggested that TENMET could encourage such conscientious citizens
to assist their governments to avoid making costly mistakes and
continuing to make such policy mistakes, by providing them with rapid
appraisal assessments of the status of the implementation of such
stances as early as possible in the policy execution process.

"Getting secondary education provision wrong would be a tragedy among
poor people because quality provision is the only entitlement that
takes one out of poverty," he explained. Dr Lwaitama said that the
outcome trajectory of not delivering textbooks to the new schools,
having a hastily prepared teacher training curriculum and delivering
it poorly and not having a clear assessment of the administrative
back-up situation, as possible implementations mistakes often gets
realized 50 years after the commencement of the relevant educational

He said that it would appear that expansion of secondary school
enrolment may often prove difficult to be undertaken while still
managing to maintain adequate numbers of teachers with the relevant
stock of knowledge and skills in the expanding schools. "Education,
like other industries; be they manufacturing, construction or
agriculture is attainment of high quality, which is dependent on the
availability of a highly skilled and highly productive workforce," he

He explained that the study involved 36 secondary schools drawn from
10 districts from five regions namely, Coast Region (Bagamoyo, Kibaha
and Kisarawe), Dar es Salaam (Ilala, Temeke and Kinondoni), Tanga
(Korogwe), Arusha (Arumeru) and Morogoro (Mvomero and Morogoro Urban),
with a total enrolment of 9,841 students and 740 teachers.

He said that the study suggested that the emerging SEDP-schools were
handling large numbers of students and teachers and that the quantity
and qualities variances between schools and within representative
districts were also high. He said that the challenge for the emerging
ward-based SEPD-secondary expansion initiative is to be able in the
context of the new information technologies and human, knowledge to
produce more flexible easily trainable, malleable and versatile
secondary school labour that is better able to access, manage and
interpret the available information for purposes of adding value to
the available natural resources.

Dr Lwaitama noted that the survey observed that schools were under
pressure from government officials and pupils families striving to
provide pupils advantage in an increasingly competitive environment
that screens individuals for good jobs and placement into higher
levels of learning. "As such, competition has intensified, and there
is an increasing tendency toward inequality and inequity of access to
quality competitive secondary education, rather than relevant
schooling," he said.

He further noted that the schools do not have the public resources to
enable them to meet the demands and that the pressure to perform at
unrealistic costs compare unfavourably with what goes on in the
private school subsector operating in the same locality. The survey
revealed that SEDP schools didn't seem to put in place 'joining up
policy' strategy for meeting the new demands in secondary education
and expansion at ward level was handled as part of extending low
quality primary education.

It showed that every ward/district faced a different act of initial
economic and social cultural condition and noted that Mpiji Secondary
School in Kinondoni Municipality and Kikwe Secondary School in Arusha
had a situation that demanded its own particular strategy for
secondary educational expansion and improvement.

Dr Lwaitama also deduced that proper teacher management at ward level
and their effective utilization was a basic issue that had to be
addressed so as to improve secondary education. He said also that the
shortage of basic inputs like tables, chairs, laboratory equipment was
demonstrated in each school visited and in both quantity and quality.
He proposed that classrooms would need sustainable annual wear and
tear maintenance of a value estimated at 8 per cent of school budget.

At Kilole Secondary School in Korogwe with a total of 169 students
there were only two pit-hole latrines as compared to a ratio of 30:1
boys and 20:1 girls given by the Ministry of Education and Vocational
Training policy. At a nearby Old Korogwe Secondary School that was
housed in old makeshift cotton ginnery complex there was no water
system functioning and pupils were accommodated in un-supervised
rented house where both girls and boys sneaked out at night.

At Mpiji-Magoya Secondary School in Kinondoni district in Dar es
Salaam, the management of the school complained to the rapid appraisal
research assistant that the Ministry of Education and Vocational
Training was supposed to give the schools money to purchase textbooks
but the school received only 2m/- last year (2006) in September, so
the school was still waiting for the ministry to give the rest. The
issue of the language of instruction was another problem that the
survey highlighted about the community schools.

Summarizing observations made after visiting Magindu in Kibaha
district, Masaki in Kisarawe and King'ongo in Kinondoni secondary
schools, the research assistant revealed that in all the three schools
teachers were complaining about students' poor mastery of the English
language. It was observed that few students ask questions in the
classroom which the teachers were teaching and this was mainly
associated with the poor competence in English. Dr Lwaitama added that
similar observations were in Miburani, Temeke and Buza in Temeke.

"In the context of Tanzanian's peculiar socio-economic history and the
current drive to attain a 50 per cent transition rate in enrolment
from primary to secondary education, there would seem to be no other
option but to allow Kiswahili to replace English as the language of
instruction at least in the majority, if not all the newly established
community secondary schools," he suggested.

In a nutshell, Dr Lwaitama said that from the discussion of the
findings of the rapid appraisal presented at the community secondary
schools that had recently been established, they had a very long
journey to travel before they could begin to legitimately claim to be
truly community schools that offered secondary education to those who
attended them.


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