Teachers urged to deploy play-based learning techniques

TANZANIA: THE government has called upon teachers and education stakeholders to deploy play-based learning techniques so as to prepare a creative and aggressive generation.

Commissioner for Education in the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Dr Lyabwene Mtahabwa, made the statement, while attributing success to the technique to the PlayMatters project.

The PlayMatters project uses play-based learning to help children improve cognitive, social, emotional, physical and creative skills.

Dr Mtahabwa stated this during the opening of the three-day workshop hosted by implementers of the PlayMatters project in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

The workshop brought together stakeholders from Ethiopia, Uganda and Netherlands to discuss the best way to teach children to understand and build self -confidence.

“Children need to engage in experiences of the PlayMatters to develop skills of confidence. Through playing children can be creative, resilient and develop a love of learning and allowing them to overcome various social barriers,” said Dr Mtahabwa.

PlayMatters helps teachers to use active teaching and learning techniques that build upon a child’s natural desire to play.

“Teachers need to think outside the box and make learning enjoyable and let children relate and participate in the process,” he said, adding that the method allows students to question experiments and develop critical life skills.

Furthermore, he said the ministry works with stakeholders including the PlayMatters project to achieve their goals including to build an enabling environment for learning through play and policy engagement.

“We want to look at achievements and challenges as well to explore opportunities for integration and scaling up learning through play in the education system and services for refugees and host communities,” said Dr Mtahabwa.

“The project established and strengthened relationships with the government through joint implementation and monitoring of project activities and enabled teachers to develop teaching materials and peer to peer learning in the school community,” he said.

On his part the PlayMatters Acting Country Director, Mr Martine Omukoma, said that they wanted children to be taught practically.

He said the project is implemented together with the Plan International Tanzania.

He said the project aims to help children learn through sports and is implemented in Kigoma Region, Kibondo and Kasulu districts, especially in refugee camps.

“A child should start learning from the environment around them. If he is taught to read, for example an apple, instead of drawing on the board, he should be given the apple itself,” he pointed out.

“It’s possible to promote the development of literacy in babies and toddlers as a natural part of their growth.

“Just like rolling, walking and talking. Literacy development at a young age will act as the building blocks to ensure the child is able to read, write, interpret and analyse right alongside their classmates,” said Okomulo.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) Country Director, Ms Wangari Wanjau said that the education system in Africa is not in line with the global system, which requires children to be solution oriented.

“We need to create a conducive environment for children so that they can learn quickly and get a productive education,” said Ms Wanjau.

Ms Wanjau said the IRC, who was the host, has been working closely with the Ministry of Education science and Technology to ensure that students get a good educational ground that will enable them to solve various challenges in life.

“Children have been taught to pass exams there will make children creative and solution oriented to be able to solve African problems and manage themselves.

On his part, the Plan International Tanzania Acting Country Director, Mr Paulo Lusato said that they started to implement the project in 2020 in Ndura refugee camp in Kibondo and nearby host communities.

He said they trained 168 teachers and facilitators in Nduta camp and 87 in host community schools on learning through play approaches.

He urged stakeholders to continue advocating for learning through play methodology.

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