Hopes for new education policy as academic calendar is released

TANZANIA: EDUCATION stakeholders have expressed expectations for the fruitful implementation of the new education and training policy in the next academic year.

However, they are urging the government to ensure that all teachers are familiar with the policy in order to effectively teach.

The education experts expressed their opinion during separate interviews with the ‘Daily News’ in reaction to the new academic calendar released over the weekend by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

The calendar informed that schools will reopen on January 8th, 2024.

Mr George Helman, a lecturer from the Foundation Education Department at Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT), stated that the start of the long-awaited new Education and Training Policy 2014 Version 2023 brings hope for the transformation of the country’s education.

He noted that the quest for a new policy began in 2014 and has finally become a reality.

“The ideas for having a policy and curriculum started over nine years ago. It is a great achievement to see that the desired changes will be implemented next year,” he said.

However, Mr Helman emphasised that the implementation of the new policy requires new teaching approaches.

He called on the government to provide frequent workshops and seminars to familiarise all teachers across the country with the policy, so they can later apply it when teaching students.

“Teachers should be assured of a favourable environment, including being given new books to cope with the needs of the new policy,” he said.

Mr Helman also noted that there is a gap between schools in rural and urban areas when it comes to the allocation of learning materials and capacity building programmes.

He urged the government to ensure an even distribution of resources for all students to benefit from the new policy.

Furthermore, he called on quality education assurance officers across the country to strengthen monitoring and supervision of schools to ensure effective teaching and good performance.

Mwanza Regional Education Officer (REO), Mr Martin Nkwabi, stated that the Mwanza Region has already organised seminars and workshops for all Ward Education Officers, which are scheduled for December 30th and 31st, 2023.

Once capacitated, the officers will also train teachers to familiarise them with the policy, he stated.

He also mentioned that all District Education Officers (DEOs) in Mwanza will receive training to enhance supervision.

Providing details on the Education and Training Policy 2014 Version 2023, Mr Nkwabi noted that the new curriculum will start with nursery, standard one and standard three pupils in 2024.

He explained that learning materials have already been allocated to all schools. “Standard two, four,

five, six and seven will continue with the old curriculum as the transformation is in process,” he said.

Mr Nkwabi emphasised that the goal of the new Education and Training Policy, which is to equip all students with practical skills, can only be achieved if they attend school every day.

He called upon parents and guardians to ensure that their children attend school.

Mr Charles William, a teacher at a private primary school, expressed that most capacity building

programmes for the new education policy involve teachers from public schools, which hinders private school teachers from preparing proper work plans.

He urged education authorities to provide equal opportunities for private and public-school teachers to access capacity building programmes, including seminars on the policy.

He commended the government for implementing the new curriculum, which includes new subjects

such as “History of Tanzania,” which is critical in instilling patriotism.

Mr Omary Buyu, an assistant academic teacher at Mbuguni Secondary School in Meru District,

Arusha Region, stated that their school has welcomed the new academic year with preparations, including the creation of a work plan to guide teaching.

He mentioned that Mbuguni Secondary School aims to boost academic performance through regular exams, tests and exercises, as well as encouraging students to share their ideas during class sessions.

Earlier, Commissioner of Education Dr Lyabwene Mtahabwa called upon all teachers across the

country to use the new academic calendar accordingly to ensure that all students perform their subjects with competence.

He explained that the calendar, which consists of a total of 194 days, was scientifically computed,

taking into consideration national events.

The new Education and Training Policy 2014 Version 2023 aims to enable students to attain

competence and skills. It represents a shift from a content-based curriculum (theory-oriented) to a

competence-based curriculum (practical-oriented).

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