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Topic : School Competition AND Student Learning Rights  

It is acknowledged world over that education is of paramount importance to personal and community development. Hence primary and secondary education levels are strategic for initiating and sustaining personal and community development process. From education’s strategic importance c ...Click here to read more

Comments From TAKNET Members
Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Friday, June 18, 2010    

Well The Ministry of Education should not give up.It can conduct a research on how education was conducted in Tanzania during 1960s-to-1980.It can take Secondary Schools in Moshi and Tanga regions and perform such a reasearch.In this way it can come up with a solution as to how QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL  can be applied in Tanzania.





Festo E. Maro  : Friday, June 18, 2010    
  I accept you with Dr. Khamis that there might be something wrong? Of course there are many initiatives which were existed during 1970s but no longer existing. This is a reason why many think life was much better in the past than it is now. The ministry of education has to find a way to find solution in this front to ensure the quality of education in the country stays at top.


Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Monday, June 7, 2010    

Yes Mr.Maro I have challenged the Ministry Of Education (the government) to ask for unemployed teachers from the donor countries.The UK is engaged in the primary education in Tanzania therefore the government could get UK teachers for teaching class IV.

Soon after independence Tanganyika had teachers for UK,Egypt,Norway,USA and Sweden.I was myself taught at Karimjee School,Tanga by teachers from Egypt,UK and USA. In 1970’s when I returned to Tanzania my(Swedish) wife was employed was employed by SIDA(Swedish International Development Assistance) to teach at Weru Weru Girls’ School in Moshi.She was among several Swedish teachers that were sent to Tanzania.They were scattered all over the country-Moshi-Arusha-Dar es Salaam,Tanga-Singida-Morogoro etc.If it was possible by that time why is it impossible today?





Festo E. Maro  : Tuesday, June 1, 2010    

Yes the will of teaching and be educated is there as Dr. Khamis explained. In the current context of liberalization where competition for services is inclined on cost and quality, for sure if the son and daughter of poor family has a thirsty for education will stil end up in rugs because of costs. And in the same token for teachers, will still find for greener pasture in private school and leave public schools. All these facets brought up by liberalization will hurt the poor most. How should the poor student learning right for quality education defended?

Marja-Liisa and Dr. Khamis came up with suggestions which in my opinion they aim to revolutionize education system and development assistance. Marja-Liisa complained over long hours/time students and teachers spent in classes. In other way to operationalize this idea it means to review primary and secondary teaching curriculum in order to allow teachers shifts and at the same time few students in a class. This strategy will aim at solving teachers shortage. Since more teachers will be employed and will work in shifts. And students will have less time in schools. It will be possible when some classes levels will be combined together e.g STD 1 & 2, 3&4, 6&7 as Dr. Khamis exemplified Marja-Liisa points.

This is rather interesting, Dr. Khamis call for change in education sector aids from abroad. He challenged the government to be innovative in collaborating with developed country where there are many unemployed teachers. This according to him is an alternative of giving cash to the government; instead they should use it to pay foreign teachers who will be willing to work in public schools. If this will materialize it will restore the prestige of public school as it was before liberalization. I guess all the rich will send their kids to public school like a wave of Tsunami.


Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Monday, May 31, 2010    

Here we have a good example secondary education.in Moshi one district had seven poor performing Secondary Schools namely Ndungu,Kisiwani,Mdiveni,Kwizu,Chanjagaa,Vundee and Malindi but no action was taken to find out reasons for their poor performance.In the same region ten head teachers in primary schools based at Same and Hai districs have been demoted for poor performance during last year’s standard seven national examination.However, the demotion of these teachers does not solve the problem.The Regional Education Officer,Mr.Theodore Massawe should help these schools by giving them more assistance in teaching so that they can be encouraged to do do better next time.He should make a research on how to solve the problem for the best of all teachers and pupils.

Here there is a will of learning and that of teaching.What is required here is the proper methods and coaching, frequent tests in all subjects and follow up.




Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Sunday, May 23, 2010    

Sometimes it is very easy to ask for uplifting school curriculum in a meeting without considering the difficulties Tanzania is facing in its education system.We have not enough teachers,no text books at our school,no libraries and not sufficient laboratories and chemicals to run lab tests.Director Dorothy of Tripod Managing has first to find ways of solving these problems in Tanzania and don’t just leave them to professors,lecturers and teachers.If these had the answers the above problems would have been solved long time ago.

Yes Marja the school days can be shortened for forms I and II, classes one and two.These classes can be divided into two so that half on the class starts in

the morning and finishes at 12pm whereas the other half starts at 12.30pm and finishes at 4pm.This will a sort of shift similar to that used in most mines(gold mines as example) although there we have 12hours shift




Marja-Liisa Swantz  : Saturday, May 22, 2010    
  The school days can be shortened and have double shifts, as it is done in other places. The days are unnecessarily long, sweeping etc.

Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Saturday, May 22, 2010    

During my time as a student at Karimjee Secondary School in Tanga(Tanzania) we were just 20-25 students in one class.We had Form one Science,A,B,C,and D.The division was applied to Forms two,three and four.One teacher was used to teach mathematics in Form one and goes teaching this class in form II and proceeds with the class up to form IV.In this way teacher could follow the progress of every student.The same method was applicable in other subjects.

A school with only one teacher should actually not be allowed to operate.I understand the problem of teachers in Tanzania but we have several unemployed teachers for example in UK.It is UK that is assisting Tanzania in education!During our time we had teachers from UK,Sweden,Norway,Egypt and USA.All these countries are giving aid to Tanzania and why can’t we ask for teachers from these countries.Why was it possible before and not at the present time?

I have just discovered that things that were possible before are at present impossible to perform although we have the same Ministry of Education.We should ask ourselves what has happened?There is a great need of conducting a reseach on this subject since education is a key of progress of any nation.




Festo E. Maro  : Thursday, May 20, 2010    

Recently we have observed an increased number of school constructions. Parents have been contributing either 100% or less than that for the costs of ward primary or secondary schools country wide. But still number of classes is not enough to absorb the schooling population. It will be difficult still to have a class of 20-30 students in public schools which deliver quality education. In some parts they have managed to have enough classes but teaching materials and teachers is extremely challenging to extent that in some schools you will find only one teacher and no lab or libraries. Here I just want to show how difficult it is to implement a policy of 20 students per class not only in primary or secondary but probably at all levels of education in Tanzania.

If it’s a criminal in Sweden to terminate studies of any student at any time, am sure the whole Ministry of education in Tanzania will be the first to be prosecuted if not all teachers. In our circumstances such policies are difficult to be implemented due to myriad problems in our systems.


Festo E. Maro  : Thursday, May 20, 2010    

Well Dr. Khamis, the government after realizing shortage of teachers in primary and secondary schools. They decided to train form IV and VI leavers for three months to reduce teacher’s shortage. However this raised alarm to the public as most of these teachers underperform their respective national exams. This is how nick name ‘vodafasta’ for those teachers came up.

Retired teachers too were brought back but they have been lured in private school where they receive relatively high salaries. So the problem of quality in public school is huge and has intensified competition in private school in delivering quality education.


Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Sunday, May 16, 2010    

Thanks Mr.Maro,that pupil:teacher ratio of 54:1 is another problem.It is prcatically impossible for a single teacher to teach a class of 54 pupil.I have myself taught adult education classes in Tanzania/Sweden and even taught Swahili to Swedish experts who were supposed to come to work in Tanzania.

I know we have a teacher problem in Tanzania but we could reduce our classes to comprise at maximum of 30 pupils while we can aim at a level of 20 pupils for a class. Probalby this is on of the reasons why some pupils leg behind.

The Ministry of education can re-employed retired teachers.These teachers have enormous experience and is a very good resource to our education system.They can help and teach for example 4 hours per day.We could arrange also that some classes can be taught in a shift form.For example class one can be come during morning hours and end their lessons at lunch time.Whereas class two conduct their studies after lunch hours to 4 o clock.

Our re-employed retired teachers can also be a resource in applying the Swedish education model system.No student/pupil is thrown out of school in Scandinavia.It is a criminal ofence in Scandinavia to terminate studies of any pupil.We could adopt this method in Tanzania.



Festo E. Maro  : Friday, May 14, 2010    

Monitoring and Evaluation framework are usually set for monitoring strategies and programme. It’s very rare for the policy in this country to have a M&E framework for the policy implementation and this is common for nearly all sectors including education. I agree with Mr. Khalifan for the need of education policy M&E framework which will also take account on how weak students are treated.

Dr. Khamis Sweden system for helping weak students is robust and need lot of resources for the implementation. Here Pupil teacher ration stand at 54:1 its difficult and nearly impossible to implement that policy to help weak students under current circumstances. However in a bid to won back teachers and inspector devotion as was in the era of pre-independence, the government has to institute a rewarding system to best performers. This could probably stimulate their spirit toward work. It should also be accompanied with timely salary and other arrears payments.


Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Thursday, May 13, 2010    


Thanks Mr.Maro the colonial education era was a success simply because there were good and devoted teachers and inspectors.The inspectors were serious and no Headmaster was willing to get a bad report about his school.

How now be possible that a school is refusing students due to the fact that they can’t manage to get grades I,II or III in the National Examination? Is this the policy of the Ministry of Education?Is it a law passed by our Parliament?

Mr.Khalfan is considering the reviweing of the National Education Policy and strategic objectives.This could be a good idea but who is going to follow this if idividual schools have their own Monitoring and Evaluation System that eliminate the weak students without reporting to the Ministry of Education?

We must take care of the weak students.In Sweden for example a class can have two teachers at the same time.If the ordinary one is teaching mathematics the extra teacher goes around the class and help teaching the weak students in explaining some mathematical problems or even solving them together.This can be applied in our schools in Tanzania.

Secondly there should be a meeting of a teacher,student and parents at the end of each term.At this meeting the teacher will explain the progress of the student to his/her parent.This could give pressure to the weak students to good performance.The parent could also see a need of exta private studies for their child.

Thirdly we need effective Ministry of Education officers and inspectors at all leves who will see to it that no student is thrown out of school before completing Form IV or Form VI.




Khalfan Salim Suleiman  : Thursday, May 13, 2010    

thank you very much for the contribution made by the members, to me in order to improve the education sector there is need to undertake thorough assesssment where are going wrong is the strateies been bad formed or we are not committed to acheive the srategic objective of the educational sector, in this also there iks need of reviweing the National educational policy and address the need of reviweing the exsiting strategic plan or rather strategic objectives so as to accomplish all the vission and educational sector mission, furthermore in executing the proper plan there is need of installing an effective Monitoring and Evaluation System that will track, monitor and evaluate the planned interventions addressed in the reviewed policy documents and strategic plan of the educational sector.


i arrgue to the Ministry responsible to develop and establish participatory M&E system to all education stakeholders for effective and good performance of the sector.


Festo E. Maro  : Monday, May 10, 2010    

I am delighted with rich thoughts that are coming from both the Diaspora and in the country. Dr. Kaino has sent a thought provoking message but it also call calibrating the discussion towards drop out students. My last paragraph provokes further discussion on poor performing students in order to avoid further dropping of students by some of schools. School competition discussion has been viewed at a wider angle to include all important features in education sector. The fascinating facts in this serious discussion are the comparative assessments that are brought into the discussion. These illuminate the neo-liberal generation on how things were done in the colonial era. In brief, it seems in colonial era education faired very well in the sense that, it was able to win the heartily support of teachers. Why this phenomenon was possible in the era where resources were even far more inadequate and outdated than present times?

Rah Kachwa came up with useful and thoughtful findings of the Government Control Auditor General; it shows how Directorate of School Inspection fails to perform a meaningful job. As Dr. Khamis asked what is it role then? This is serious weakness of a department bestowed with such vital role in advancing performance of our education sector. I will also add that the assessment criteria are very inward looking not projecting the future to stir more creativity of the teachers. The outside world including our neighboring countries seems to be more dynamic in producing competent students. How directorate of school inspection and Controller Audit report do assess this critical factor which in my view contributes to regional competition-outward orientation?

Some participants also illuminate the discussion with “fast tracking techniques” used to increase enrollment in the country. We have seen many interventions were done including three month training of teachers and 100% government support of teacher’s further studies. The country as whole benefited from increasing enrolments rates at all levels of education at the expense of education quality. On the other hand it’s not clearly known the benefit and costs of the fast tracking interventions used.

I would like to go back to Rah Kachwa contribution on the controller audit report results. One outcome which directly relates theme of the discussion is the planning and working document of directorate of school inspection. It was revealed that 0% of guidelines do not targeting poor performing students and 89% of the handbook is unrelated to poor performing students. This literally means they don’t enforce school to retain slow learners and train those students to be div I or II materials. This means it perpetuates the habit of some schools of trimming down students for the sake of retaining div I or II student materials. I don’t know this is maliciously done for the popularity of school or some things else. I would appreciate to receive more views on how to improve the planning and working document of school inspection directorate. Specifically on the assessment criteria to be used in order to ensure schools management and teachers work harder to raise the profile of poor performing students.


Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Monday, May 10, 2010    

Thanks Mr.Kaino for raising the question of the thrown out students before completing their basic education that will help them to shape their future.It is unfortunate that nowadays our schools are specialised in just producing gradutes with grades I,II or III only without realising that the knowledge gain at school even for those who obtain below grade III can be useful.NO ONE HAS BEEN BORN AS A PROFESSOR,DOCTOR OR ENGINEER otherwise there would be a need of going to school.

I think what we can do is to convince some private schools to specialise on those thrown out students and help them to complete Form IV or Form VI studies irrespective ot their outcome results.The Ministry of Education should also help in this matter.



donatilla Kaino  : Monday, May 10, 2010    

I would like to thank all of you for your valuable contribution to this forum. I am sure the public has gained a lot in terms of the status of quality of education in Tanzania, the reasons for having such poor status and your proposals/recommendations to improve it.  However, one more thing members would like to here your views is about the “thrown out” students as a result of school competition.

In the past decades it was seminaries which were throwing out students without any public concerned. This is because people believed that seminaries were strictly preparing candidates to be good priests or padre (people believed to be near God or His representatives), and therefore it was fine to eliminate all those who had unacceptable characteristics or behaviors.  During that time, neither government nor private schools threw out any student on the ground of poor performance. Hence, whoever joined the school, at whatever level, was sure to graduate, irrespective of the division obtained.  Those who obtained division I, II and III in form four national examinations were selected to join government high schools. Private schools were there competing for students who failed to get places in government schools but had acceptable points to join secondary and high schools. The competition was in terms of quality of education provided and hence the number of students who passed very well and be able to continue with studies at higher level or able to join different skill development institutions. Schools tried as much as possible to design different measures to help weak students so that at least they could graduate with a good division four.  Like now, schools were very careful when selecting form one or form five candidates. Therefore, students who failed were real weak students, even the parents expected them to fail, but the schools did not throw them out knowing that by the time they finish form four or six they would have gained some knowledge to help them lead their future life.


Continues below


donatilla Kaino  : Monday, May 10, 2010    

Continues from above

In recent years, “good” private schools set average pass marks which are far above the government average pass mark
. Whoever gets below that pass mark is thrown-out. Some students are thrown-out even when they have completed form three! The impression students get is that without division I, II or III there is no life in future. Schools have now forgotten that by the time a student completes form four would normally have acquired some knowledge to use in life.

Throwing out is done in the name of schools’ excellence in supper grade outcomes, completely ignoring the institutions’ core function that of nurturing and elevating the dull and ignorant pupil to a super comprehending citizen who has equal rights to the nation’s achieved mentifacts and wealth! But what a disaster to be a “thrown out”? It is trouble everywhere! First with parents trying to relocate their beloved child; but the worst part is with the child’s psyche and welfare. Which alternative school will be able to mold this “thrown out” into a confident zealous student eager to pursue suitable education which inculcates knowledge, truth and charity?

So in this regard let us discuss the following questions:

·  Is it right to discontinue a student who joined the school after successfully matriculating but failed thereafter to achieve required pass mark in continuous assessment?

  Is it acceptable norm for school authority to set own continuous average mark which is above the nationally accepted standard average pass mark with the sole aim of throwing out possible candidates who will not obtain division IV?

·  Isn’t there a need for considering more factors (weights) of recognizing and rewarding schools than just number of students with grades I and II;



Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Thursday, April 22, 2010    

Bibi Marja Swantz is completely right as I was myself partly educated during the colonial time I could notice those motorcycles of district education offers and school inspectors.However similar things were taking places during 1970’s.I could write about this since my “Swedish wife” worked at Ashira School and Weru Weru Girls’ School in Moshi during the period 1974- 1978.Yes indeed teacher went to monitor school examinations and correct them in other schools without being paid allowance.But nowadays teachers are selling examinations!Is it the same Tanzania?

Yes Tanzania needs not only “Watu” but “Utu” not only “Siasa Safi” but good implementation ,not only “Uongozi Bora” but responsible leadership in all respects of education.Without a proper education we can as well forget about Tanzania as a nation!We shall not accept poor education for our children,they have to get a better education.In this way we can build our nation.Let our children be employed in other countries in Africa due to the fact that they can be proud of the education received in their country and compete with others on International jobs!

Iam myself proud of the education I received in Tanzania.That has enabled me to work Internationally,in Sweden,Spain and consultant jobs in Finland,Canada,Saudi Arabia and Chile.Without that basic education in Tanzania I could not do this!



Martin Mandalu  : Wednesday, April 21, 2010    

It is with great pleasure that I put down some lines of thoughts.
I am so much pleased to see that there are still many people with good intention to our country and the development of the nation; the education discussion proves this. 

Discussing education in the country is indeed a noble act; to paraphrase the words of Mzee Mandela; 'it is through education that a child of a poor farmer can become a scientist, a pilot, an engineer, a doctor and even president of the country'. Having the thought in mind then our education system should have done much better than it has done so far.

One can not deny that over many years, the government through the responsible Ministry and other stakeholders have been able to build more schools, colleges and now a number of universities; that's indeed a big step towards true development. Congrats for that! However, the big number of academic institutions does not necessarily indicate quality education. To take as an example, many of our ward secondary schools do not have important features that can enable quality education. There are either no enough qualified teachers or no teachers' houses; there are either no labaratories or no chemicals for the last and the litany goes on.

The government has good intentions for the well being of her people but good intentions are not sufficient; we have to have good (good in the sense of quality)academics instituions if we real want to develop our country in a technological way and be patner in the global economy.

When we look globally at the issue of development in the country, it is obvious that the govt is committed to seeing its people in the middle class citizens of the world (Development Vision 2025) (not exacatly word). The obvious thing here that needs improvement is the pace at which we are gaining what we have at hand...We have all it takes to be fying high...

(Do you remember a primary school greeting slogan: "ili tuendelee tunahitaji vitu vinne: Watu, Ardhi, Siasa Safi na Uongozi bora..." I am sure of the first two requirements; we have the human resource (educuate them well - our discussion Subject), Land (we have it in plenty) Siasa safi na Uongozi bora these two can be put on the balance as I do not have the tools to weigh them...
It is education that will see our country achieve her goals and all good plans...
Better education for a better Tanzania

Martin Mandalu


Marja-Liisa Swantz  : Wednesday, April 21, 2010    

Having taught during the colonial time and experienced the extremely strict inspection system and the obedience of the schools and teachers I have not seen anything similar in the school system since. I have seen a row of motorcycles in the office of s district education office and wondered who goes and where and to do what. Some schools do well because they have conscientious headmasters and headmistresses, but if the inspectors do not get their per diem they do not move. There was no per diem system in the colonial time. No one at all got paid posho, yet teachers went to other schools to monitor exams etc. and to correct examinations. The school provided the meals. There are many things to learn from the colonial time.

Greetings from Bibi Marja Swantz


Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Tuesday, April 20, 2010    

Thanks Mr.Kachwa for your illuminating contribution.Education System of any country is shaped by the Ministry of Education of the country concerned.If for example 80% of the budget of the Ministry of Education goes to administration they is doubt that the left 20% cannot be ediquate for school materials like text books,chemicals for laboratories.On top of this the Inspection of our schools is not done in a professional way if only 2% of the report is mentioning about school drop-out.The inspection is there to see , report and recommend measures that schools have to improve so that the following report will concentrate on the improvements of that particular school or schools with poor results.The problem of qualified teachers is well known and here again the blame goes to the Ministry of Education for bad planning.There should be a director of Secondary Schools and director of primary schools at the Ministry of Education and one can simply ask What are these people doing?What are they paid for?

The Minister concerned has to “clean up” the ministry of education so that it can deliver proper education to our children.These are the future leaders,scientists,engineers,doctors,teachers and MP’s of the country.If you give them wrong education you destroy their future and the future of Tanzania as a nation.





Rah Kachwa  : Tuesday, April 20, 2010    

Several stakeholders are to be blamed for the poor performance of our students. However the government (URT) is carry a big share (say 95%) of this blame.

The performance audit report released by the Controller and Auditor General highlighted major weaknesses in the Directorate of School Inspection (this is the Quality Assurance Watchdog under the Ministry of Education and Voc Training). In this report there are very despairing statistics regarding the school inspection eg
1. Only 15% of the inspection reports addresses to some extent the students' performance
2.Only 2% of the inspection reports addresses the students' drop-outs
3. Only 6% of the inspection reports addresses the need for additional training
4. Only 19% addresses pedagogical performance
Equally disgusting is the planning and working documents for school inspection not targetting poor performance. As per CAG's report, the handbook for the Inspection has 0% of guidilines targetting poor performing students, as 89% of the handbook is unrelated to poor performing students.
This report shows clearly that the Government watchdog is not doing its job properly to address the poor performance. 
Equally important schools need to have adequate, qualified and competent teachers, learning and teaching materials, well equipped laboratories, libraries, furniture and other equipment.
The government is budgetting huge funds to the education sector but few of the funds reach the final consumer ie students and schools. A big chunk of the funds is spent on administrative matters.

By Kachwa, Rah 


Benjamin Nkonya  : Saturday, April 10, 2010    
  I have closely been following this discussion and I am very happy that many are concerned with the way our education systmen is being managed. Being a stakeholder, I find vividly true that we need to reshape our system

In my view, increasing budgetary allocations alone cannot make the quality of education improve. There was the same misconception in the US in the 1700's. If you read www.google.com/school voucher you will reaalize that what made the US education system improve was the creation of competition between private and government educational institutions. This was made by giving a parent an open cheque (school voucher) to be presented to a school of the parent's choice. It is normal and logical for the parent to seek a school that has a good academic record.

This made heads of schools in both private and public institutions find allpossible means of improving the education quality.

Interesting still, the the system also made the US government cut the education budget by 1/3 while the education quality was increasing in geommetric proportions

Our TZ system of the govt allocating students to schools of its choice is the one that failed in the US in the 1700's. We hterefore need to change and use the voucher system that enhances customer focus and accountability.

Benjamin Nkonya
TAMONGSCO (Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-government Schools and Colleges)

Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Friday, April 9, 2010    

Mr.Mwiru Sima has explained something concerning students right that is familiar in Tanzania. The lack of teachers,books,desks,chemicals for laboratories,teachers houses and domitories should be solved by the Ministry of Education. Any student cannot learn properly without text books,chemicals for practical work and without teachers.One teacher can’t teach the whole school.Students from such a school are actually bound to fail or have a poor quality of education.

The second part of Mr. Mwiru is what I can call it “a sad episod”.I think the Ministry of Education is trying to imitate something it does not understand properly.On can’t replace a BA teacher in education with a Form IV leaver after just training him/her for just three months.This is really aginst the rule of education.The Ministry of Education could train these Form IV leavers for at least two years and one extra practical years under the guidance of a BA teacher.These Form IV leavers after such training could teach Forms I and II only.Here I will give an example from the Uppsala University in Sweden during 70’s.Students who were performing MSc.studies could teach practical work or fieldwork to first year students under the guidance of a Professor.

The Ministry of Education has to close some of schools if they don’t have qualified teachers.We should not deliver half education to our students.We have to think of the future of these students and the whole nation.


hanifa selengu  : Thursday, April 1, 2010    

Dear members

I recomend on the student learning rights,  first of all  to have intensive campaign on awereness creation for students/ pupils to know their rights second we need independent institute in  future to deal with standard of education if possible bureau of standard specific for education to standardise on teaching - learning process. The institute will ensure as Dr Said "students  are taught properly at our schools and those teachers who are teaching are well qualified in those subjects they are teaching. Those students who are behind in certain subjects have to be helped by extra education.For example an extra teacher can be in the class helping these students while an ordinary teacher is teaching the same subject".

Benjamin Nkonya  : Monday, March 29, 2010    

Can we compete without competition? Read the study on the education Vouchers, competition and the Western Industrial revolution

A school voucher, also called an education voucher, is a certificate issued by the government by which parents can pay for the
education of their children at a school of their choice, rather than the public school to which they are assigned (www.google.com\Wikipedia)

According to the publication by Eric A. Hanushek and Ludger Wößmann, the voucher system has been implemented in many European and American countries. Its implementation has been with a significant degree of improving the quality of education though some shortfalls have been realized as will be summarized in the following paragraphs

Parents will always seek to take their children to schools that provide the highest possible level of education quality. The voucher system improves the education quality as it gives more decision making power on the part of the benefiting families and communities who take their children to school using this education financing system.

Proponents argue that competition through free market capitalism would increase the quality of education for both private and public education sectors as it has for higher education with publicly funded state universities directly competing against private universities. This is further supported by studies such as the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research "When Schools Compete: The Effects of Vouchers on Florida Public School Achievement" (2003) which concluded that schools facing a greater degree of threat from voucher competition made significantly better improvements than similar schools facing a lesser degree of threat from vouchers

2.       Under non-voucher education systems citizens who currently pay for private schooling are still taxed to finance public schools. This is unfair. Vouchers are intended to allow citizens to offset this extra cost, without a direct tax credit or deduction.


Mwiru Sima  : Monday, March 29, 2010    
  Response from Mwiru Sima (Part One)

SCHOOL COMPETITION School Competition was a motivating factor for both students, teachers, school boards, Education officers of that particular catchment areas and hence the final exams and quality, students don’t want to be the last (kushika mkia), teachers don’t want to be seen as unqualified by their students failing, the headmaster/mistress also don’t want to appear not doing enough in his/her meeting with peers. As a result of these the quality is maintained and we have people who will serve this country with knowledge. Such competitions were useful at all levels of education in Tanzania.

STUDENTS LEARNING RIGHTS We are in the era where the international goals and targets are agreed, countries are signatories and hence they are responsible to monitor and report on progress made. Unfortunately we have been focusing on numbers and not quality of the education delivered and hence violation of our children, rights to quality education. The same internationally agreed targets recognize the right to quality education and other rights though! What we have done in this country is to report on numbers (school enrolment) levels and forget about the quality of education.

The idea of having secondary schools at village and ward levels is welcome, but our we prepared in terms of teachers, chemicals, desks, books, laboratories, teachers houses, dormitories etc. Nowadays in these schools, students either rent houses in villages or are accommodated by their relatives living near those schools. These poor young girls have ended up collecting firewood, water from far as we know. They finally end up getting zeros, pregnancies if not HIV and frustrated. This is violating their learning rights and they may take the authorities to the court and win their case! The duty bearers (Ministry of Education and other national authorities) don’t take an action on this! In 2009 it was reported there are few form three students in Arusha who cannot even write their names! This year, a secondary school in Coast region with only one teacher who is headmistress and trying to teach all subjects for all students. Is this is 21st century? The results from 2009 form four exams have shown us the impact of the so called, shule za kata, yebo yebo, voda fasta etc.

Mwiru Sima

Mwiru Sima  : Monday, March 29, 2010    

Response from Mwiru Sima (Part Two)


How can we really joke with the sector which is supposed to produce the rest of the sectors qualified people for the nation? How can the ministry recruit form six leavers who could not get through the Universities because of their level of performance teach them for three months and deploy them to teach their young sisters and brothers. Are we not planning to fail on this? are we not joking? A good former four years (now three years BA education) with annual practical trainings we equate with a person who didn’t qualify to go for three years BA education and yet we put them in a class for three months so that they can teach maths, English, history etc for students to score division I? THIS IS VIOLATION OF LEARNING RIGHTS TO BOTH ! because even the so called three months teachers are being called voda fasta and the like, this also violating their rights! Which the authorities have caused! Can’t even regulate the text books used in private, and public schools? Privatization, lack/weak regulation of quality and school fees While we recognize the role of private sector in education sector but there are a lot to be desired.

Most of these schools have no qualified teachers and weak teaching facilities, they don’t adhere to national curriculum and unregulated school fees which one wonders, a school which never produce division two for years. While during privatization era, one has to choose where to send their children for education; this has to be regulated by the government or other semi autonomy body with qualified people to do it.

ITS IMPLICATION: • More influx of these young people in big cities and hence the infrastructure cannot accommodate the population increase leading to unplanned settlements as the authorities dealing with this are also not doing enough, crime rates etc • Unintended pregnancies/young mothers who cannot take of their kids • Violation of their basic Human rights, if they are not well educated they will not be able to meet and demand other rights • In the long run the nation with only few learned people • Leaders who are not well educated and hence poor planning, services provision, cant bargain at regional and global levels and then vicious cycle of everything • In so many studies and surveys done, indicators are better with ones’ education or wealth. This means population with quality education even if post primary is likely to perform well in other indicators as well. But if we have zero scored form four leavers, it is equivalent to primary education • Vocational training centers will not be able to accommodate mass failures. How can we even accommodate to the vocational trainings if they scored 0? • In the long run, this group of people will demand their rights and we will witness chaos, the style of demanding may not be polite, since we have created these classes, educated and non, haves and have nots

WHAT CAN BE DONE: • Go beyond numbers, quality of education should be a priority also • Institutional preparedness, teachers and school infrastructure • Involve communities and encourage them to participate in the whole process • Strengthen quality of the education by regulatory mechanisms • Ensure standardized private and public school learning materials • Ensure long term plans for quality education in this country • Short term plans should also be planned but with quality aspects considered • Don’t allow market to regulate prices for education sector, regulate as in other sectors


Mwiru Sima


Festo E. Maro  : Sunday, March 28, 2010    
  Dear TAKNET members we are happy to invite you all again to contribute your opinion on the current discussion topic "School Competition and Student learning right". This topic in general does not call for the condemnation of school competition but it rather seeks to strike a balance where student and schools have mutual benefit. We all know liberalization in education sector have resulted in increase of private schools and competition in the market is fierce. Each school strives for the existence and possibly dominance in provision of education in the country. The major weapon used by schools mostly private is to have larger number of div I and II with less of div III, IV and zero. The main concern of the topic is the processes for the attainment of the goal. In some instances children are sucked in the midst of hi/her studies just for the sake of avoiding the possibility of having div III, IV or zero material.

I like the contribution from Dr. Hamisi in the sense that competition among schools should be evaluated in more than one indicator. Simply put it broad based assessment criteria. In his days of schooling teachers were motivated to make sure a student pass with div I or II. This means no student was thrown out or chased away until he/she finishes the studies. Contrary to the current environment where the reverse is happening that students are chassed and worse of all is nothing happens to the teachers? How can we ascertain is teacher's weakness not a student?

Another lesson from his contribution is the quality of div I or II students. It’s normal to find div I or II university student who can’t write and speak English fluently. This means schools teaching system is to make sure students cream in order to score div I or II. They do not impart knowledge and confidence to our children to express, write and practice materials gained.
His recommendations are valid though it will take many years for us to have free and quality education. And if it will be there sustainability won’t be there given fertility rate is high compare to GDP growth rate.

Omari Mwinyi Khamis  : Friday, March 26, 2010    

Dear Members!

When I was a student during the Colonial Time and soon after independence my school(Karimjee Secondary/High School,Tanga) was competing with other schools such a Tabora Secondary,Minaki Secondary and Mzumbe Secondary School.By that time we had Cambridge Examination at Form 1V and Form V1.Therefore all students together with teachers  were motivated in this competition.The competition was based on how many Form 1V and Form V1 students grades 1,2 and 3 will our school produced in the Cambridge Examination.The teachers were doing their level best in all subjects including practicals and we had good text books and the education was free for all.

Therefore the competition should be there.But nowadays we have a poor standard of our students and those grades I and II don’t mean very much.A student who has obtained grade I when he / she comes to the University can’t speak English properly and is poor in Mathematics.One wonders how this grade I has been obtained, by memorising things!

Parents pay a lot of money so that their children will get good education and good grades.They are sedning their children to private schools and private studies.On the otherhand teachers are to be blamed for those who don’t get grades I and II simply because they are not dedicated in teaching.But some teachers can’t teach due to poor education they themselves have obtained.In this case science subjects like Mathematics,Pure Mathematics,Physics and Chemistry are not taught properly at our schools.However,The Ministry of Education is there and knows this problem but it does not act.

I can recommend the following to the Ministry of Education and the government. 1.The grades should be there but The Ministry has to see to it that students are taught properly at our schools and those teachers who are teaching are well qualified in those subjects they are teaching.

2.Those students who are behind in certain subjects have to be helped by extra education.For example an extra teacher can be in the class helping these students while an ordinary teacher is teaching the same subject.

3.The Ministry of Education has to make a follow up and question those schools that have bad results in the National Examination.

4.The Ministry has to employ foreign teachers to teach at our different schools, especially in Mathematics,Physics and Chemistry.During our time we had teachers from England,USA,Egypt and India.

5.We must have free Secondary and High School education so that parents can be relieved from the financial burden.This means no private schools or few private schools.An example is Scandinavian countries with very few private schools and have free education.




donatilla Kaino  : Thursday, March 25, 2010    
  Dear TAKNET members,

I hope everyone is well and ready to continue sharing information through discussions in our fora. Today, I would like to welcome you to a new topic titled "School Competition AND Student Learning Rights". The main objective of this discussion is to have views from public on how school competition affects the learning rights of "thrown out" students. Some key questions we are trying to answer in this forum include:

(1) Who is to blame for failure of thrown-out students to get the expected continuous assessment grades?

(2) What other factors (weights) than just the number of students with divisions I and II can be used to recognize and reward schools?

It is our expectation that the discussion will give valuable input which will be used to recommend possible policy measures that the government can take to protect the learning rights of the students from being jeopardized by school competition.

I wish you the best discussion

D. Kaino


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