TZ basic education strides win accolades

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TANZANIA has made significant strides in access to Primary Education in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), recording a good number of Gross Enrollment Ration (GER), a new World Bank (WB) study has revealed.

In the East African Region, Kenya is leading, and the Bretton Woods Institution’s findings have placed it in the established group, while Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda are in the emerged group while Burundi has been placed in the emerging group. Other countries are in the last group called ‘delayed’, which remain far short of universal coverage in primary education.

Group 1 countries - the ‘established’ countries, almost entirely in Southern and East Africa, that have achieved almost universal coverage also demonstrate the highest levels of learning.

Several of them have also shown modest improvements in learning over time. “Among most of the countries in Group 2, 3 and 4 which are, in general, still struggling to ensure universal coverage, less that 50 per cent of children achieved the minimum levels of proficiency on a range of tests administered in various primary 556700002 grades,’’ she added.

The Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Professor Joyce Ndalichako launched the book titled ‘Facing Forward: Schooling for Learning in Africa’, which contains the first comprehensive analysis of the prospects for countries in SSA to achieve good quality basic education for all. The global launching was conducted at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) at a ceremony that was also attended by the WB country director for Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia, Ms Bella Bird, and the University of Dar es Salaam Vice-Chancellor, Professor William Anangisye, among others.

The study contained in the book was prepared by a core team comprising Sajitha Bashir, Practice Manager for Education, Marlaine Lockheed, Principal Investigator, Elizabeth Ninan, Senior Education Specialist and task team leader and Jee-Peng Tan, lead education consultant. According to Ms Bashir, in the study the countries were classified into four groups, based on the progress they made since mid-1990s toward universal primary education coverage.

On Language of instruction, the study suggested, in the countries including Tanzania where children were taught and tested in the home language, students performance was higher. According to Ms Bashir Tanzanian students performance in Kiswahili was higher than in English. The WB study suggests four areas of focus to improve learning for all students.

It suggests that student progression from first grade to the end of basic education should be ensured and that Sub Saharan African countries need to overhaul policies and programmes related to teacher recruitment, preparation, deployment, attendance and professional support from the early grades to lower secondary education.

The study further suggests that many Sub Saharan African countries need to increase public spending per child in basic education, and that most countries could use their budgetary resources more effectively, adding that capacity needs to be built in a few critical areas to bridge the gap between the knowledge of ‘what works’ and effective service delivery.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Prof Ndalichako thanked the WB for the mammoth support that it had been giving Tanzania, especially in the education sector. The education minister further emphasised that Tanzania was fully committed in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in education.

Earlier, Ms Bird said for Tanzania to achieve its industrialisation agenda, it was similarly important to consider education by educating more young boys and girls so that they can later contribute to the country’s economy.

The WB country boss further commended Tanzania for making strides on the provision of basic education

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