Samia: Education reformer

TANZANIA: PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan will go down in the country’s history as the Head of State who championed for educational reforms, key being the change of education system.

Three years down the line since she assumed the reins of the country, President Samia has carried education reform agenda on her shoulders, understanding that the sector is the cornerstone of her vision for the country’s economy.

Dr Samia’s commitment to education increased spending on infrastructure and overall quality. This has resulted in greater access to school through increased enrolment rate and reduced drop-out rates.

These reforms were particularly aimed at addressing gender disparities when it comes to access to education and the labour force, with initiatives such as the “National Girls Education Initiative” pushing to end the gender gap.

It would be recalled that in November 2021 President Samia allowed teen mothers in the country who had been stopped from returning to classes to go back to school, a measure that was a big policy shift by the government.

The government announced that the new policy also applied to students once stopped from classes due to truancy and family problems.

To ensure Tanzanian children selected to join advanced secondary education get access to the opportunity, President Samia’s government, with effect from 2022/23 academic year, started implementing fee-free education policy for Form Five and Fix students in Tanzania.

The policy, meant to remove all forms of fees and contributions in government schools, meaning that Tanzanian children now enjoy fee-free education right from primary to secondary education (O-level and ALevel).

Over the past three years, President Hassan has demonstrated bold and visionary leadership, prioritising the modernization of the education system to equip students with the skills needed to thrive in the 21st century.

In her inaugural speech in Parliament on April 22, 2021, President Hassan underscored the crucial role of education in shaping the nation’s development trajectory.

In so doing, President Samia has carried out reforms on the country’s education system by reviewing the education curriculum so that it focuses on competence.

The review of the 2014 Education Policy concurrently with the new curriculum at all levels look at skills and innovation.

The policy review and education curriculum is aimed at improving the learning and teaching methodologies of vocational skills, life skills to cater for the 21-st century.

The Head of State has all along been calling for the need to address longstanding challenges and align education with the demands of the labour market.

Just a week ago, Minister for Education, Science and Technology Prof Adolf Mkenda informed the general public that reforms in education sector as entailed in the new Education Policy and Curricular of 2023 were fully integrative and holistic, with equal status to all subjects and learning domains from Mathematics to Sports.

He said the new curricular for Form One, was divided into two streams – vocational skills stream and general education stream, saying further changes would come in 2027, when the government would start implementing a compulsory ten-year system.

Apart from carrying out educational policy reforms, President Samia, since she assumed the reins of the country on March 19, 2021, has been injecting billions of shillings into the education infrastructure.

Data shows, in just three years, President Samia has built a model school in Dodoma Region capable of admitting 1000 students at once, including the construction of 4043 classes, 109 dormitories, 20,901 pit latrines and 253 teachers’ houses capable of accommodating 424 civil servants.

Furthermore, in just three years of her presidency, Dr Samia has built 2,254 new secondary schools, 302 new primary schools and 132 science laboratories.

The President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan (right) and Minister of President Office Regional Administration and Local Government (TAMISEMI) Mohamed Mchengerwa (left), pulling the curtain to mark inauguration of primary and secondary schools built throughout the country through the Project for Strengthening Teaching and Learning (BOOST) and the Project for Improving Secondary Education (SEQUIP) which has cost Sh. 230 billion. The launch took place on October 15, 2023 in Singida Region.

On higher education, President Samia’s records are fascinating as data shows in 2023/2024 academic year, a total of 220,278 students received loans from Higher Education Students’ Loan Board (HESLB).

In 2022/23 and 2021/22 academic years, the same amount (570bn/-) was allocated to fund beneficiaries.

In 2020/21 academic year, HELSB allocated 464 bn/- for students, meaning that in her first year of presidency Dr Samia increased the funds by 106bn/-.

Furthermore, HESLB, in 2023/2024 and for the first time, started allocating loans to Diploma students admitted to 36 colleges.

President Samia has also established Samia Scholarship for students who achieve high success in science subjects in examinations conducted by the National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA).

Samia scholarship covers one hundred percent (100 per cent) of university tuition for students who receive admission in the fields of Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine.

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