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Addressing social determinants of quality education in Tanzania

QUALITY education is generally the one that focuses on the whole child— the social, emotional, mental, physical, and cognitive development of each student regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability or geographic location.

It is grounded within principles and premises that prepare a child for life, not just for testing and exam passing. It acknowledges the learning challenges of an individual child and building on those challenges to unleash the potential within a child.

Quality education portrays an array of possibilities and prospects out of child and engineer’s helpful pathways to enable him acquire skills and competency necessary for life.

It fosters learning development beyond the corridors and walls of the school set up. It builds a person, who is ready and determined to contribute to sustainable solutions to mankind problems.

Basic Education providers in the country must address the social determinants of quality education such as poverty, security, food shortage, disability, infrastructure and proximity to other social services, environment, culture and norms, societal behavior and family fabrics– in order to improve the quality of learning and development needs of the Tanzania child pursuing basic education.

All children across the globe are equally talented and gifted in one way or the other. By and large, life itself presents multiple options and opportu-nities through which any child can attain achievement if guided well.

The difference only comes on the set of platforms where one child is groomed compared to where another child is nurtured to attain his God-given potentials.

We sometimes forget that it is social related challenges that inhibit quality education in most of our schools.

The problem is exacerbated further by poor planning at the planning stage and implementation stage which does not provide a room to forecast social ills surrounding education sector at primary and secondary schools.

Furthermore, the problem is even more fueled by lack of a wellthought mitigation measures to address challenges encroaching out of social ills.

A need to build a new school will always emerge as the population continues to increase and as the existing infrastructures continue to crumble by skyrocketing enrollment.

Recently, results of various examination levels have come out where multiple reflections of passes and failures have characterized different schools and labeled many students who sat for those exams.

Statistically, the pass rate for 2018 form four results has slightly increased, yet division four and division zero brackets are alarming. This calls upon serious analysis on return on investment of schooling a child.

It further demands a parent and guardian to think beyond a child performance and rather focus on a child’s ability that might have not been well identified throughout her school tenure.

In light of this, teachers, parents, government, stakeholders in education and communities have the sole responsibility for tackling social problems within our school systems that may seem intractable. Some of the solutions aimed at addressing social ills within our schools may not require a lot of financial resources rather a strategy that pinpoint the root cause and specifies the solution.

For instance, an issue of social norm and culture may at most require behavior change strategy. As much as we may need our children to acquire quality education, the truth is; attaining this requires multiple consideration in tackling social determinates of a quality education.

Where poverty is tolerated and not adequately addressed and where immorality is appraised within the societal fabrics- quality education cannot be attained.

It is high time that were visit our local community’s school’s performances in light of how social determinants of quality education contributes to poor or better performances.

It is easier to raise fingers and condemn teachers especially when results are very poor. However, before we do so let’s challenge ourselves with simple question as to whether we have done enough homework to identify social determinants of quality educations that may contribute positively or adversely towards our children life learning.

It’s quite important before ones send a child to a certain school to revisit objectively a checklist of social factors that may eventually contribute to a child excellence or failure.

One needs to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze all social issues that may inhibit child performance even before a teacher is entrusted and commissioned with a task to unleashing a child potential.

This is a collective social responsibility for any progressive community which values quality education. Until then, an intervention that addresses the quality of teachers alone to change exam results of students may not necessary attribute to the overall quality of education and the type of students we desire.

A multiple interventional approaches that take into account social determinants of quality education are a necessity and not an option. Highly performing private schools enjoys multiple sets of enabling social determinants for quality education as compared to lowly performing schools.

A strategy to address social ills within poorly performing schools is inevitable if quality education is to improve.

Borrowing a leaf from highly performing schools should be a starting point if we need to address the ills associated with social dynamics of learning environment.

* Ochola Wayoga is the National Coordinator- Tanz ania Education Network Email:coordinator@ tenmet.org

President John Magufuli takes over the ...

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Author: OCHOLA WAYOGA

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