YEAR ENDER. 2023: New dawn for country’s education

TANZANIA: THE year 2023 marked a new dawn for the country’s education sector, as the government approved the long -awaited new Education and Training Policy 2023 edition and curriculum which embrace competence and skills in learning.

It took more than nine years to cater for the quest of the long-awaited new Education and Training Policy 2014 version 2023 which is expected to transform the country’s education sector.

The ideas for having a new policy and curriculum started in the past nine years, and stakeholders are optimistic that the documents will bring the desired changes in the sector as they are set to be executed in the next academic year which commences in January.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has already released a new academic calendar which informed that the schools will reopen on January 8, 2024 where the implantation of the new education curriculum will take effect.

The Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) has also said that it has completed preparing textbooks for classes which begin to execute the new education curriculum in the next academic year.  The pupils who will start using the new curriculum next year include those in pre-primary education, Standard One and Three.

Minister for Education, Science and Technology Prof Adolf Mkenda said that the completion of the documents follows the promise by President Samia Suluhu Hassan she made in Parliament in 2021, saying that the government will review the education and training policy of 2014 and all curricula.

Minister Mkenda assured that the new documents match with economic trends, including the 21st century’s  technological needs in the world as it intends to have in place a vibrant, diversity and result-oriented policy and curricular, thus increasing the number of skills and competent graduates in various fields to meet the national and world market demands.

Moreover, the public will have a wide choice of enrolment to ensure that the education offered provides life skills, innovation, vocational and match with the market demands.

The new move will give graduates a power of critical thinking, innovation, leadership and communication and information, technology know-how, so that they can cope with challenges in the community.

The education system will be divided into elementary education, primary education, secondary education and higher education.

The education structure in the formal education and training system will be 1+6+4+2/3+3+, meaning one year of elementary education, six years of primary education, four years of secondary education lower level, two years of upper secondary education or three years of standardised activities and at least three years of higher education.

It explains that the age of starting first grade has been reduced from seven to six years, as is the case in many countries around the world.

Compulsory education will also include primary education and lower secondary education and will be provided for 10 years and primary education will be general education as defined through relevant curricula.

According to the new policy and curricular, secondary education at the lower level will be divided into two streams, which are the stream of general education and the stream of practical education.

In addition, practical education will be an important part of the education system and will be provided according to the curricula of the relevant level.

Upper secondary education or standardised practical education will be a basic requirement for joining higher education.

Also, higher education will be divided into general education and practical education.

In these improvements, education outside the formal system will be recognised and those who will go through the system will have the opportunity to join the formal education system according to the criteria that will be set.

Moreover, every child who is six years old and who has or has not received elementary education, according to the law, should be given compulsory education that will be provided for a period of 10 years.

The new edition of the Education and Training policy will repeal the current education system of 2+7+4+2+3+, where a student graduates from higher learning within almost 25 years while a student who starts primary education within seven years will now graduate within 20 and 22 years.

With the new policy, the students will start primary education aged six years while the pre- primary education intends to prepare the pupil to a healthy mind, healthy body, psychologically able to live in the community ahead of the primary education.

Moreover, the system provides room for those out of the education system to be enrolled in formal education according to the set criteria, so that they can benefit from the opportunities in the formal sector.

The government will have in place a national equivalent criteria and respective award for all levels of education.

The government states that it will put in place a system which will guarantee that graduates at all levels get the needed skills and competence according to the national standards.

Also, those in compulsory education will keep on enjoying the free fees education.

Standard One and Two pupils will undertake the key subjects reading, writing, demonstrate mastery of Basic English language skills, Mathematics, traditions upholding, Arts and Sports, Environment and Health.

Subjects for Standard Three and Four are Kiswahili, English, French, Chinese, Arabic, Mathematics, history of Tanzania and ethical values, Divinity, Arts and Sports, Science and Geography and environment.

For ordinary secondary education,  subjects listed are history of Tanzania and ethical values, History, Geography, English, Literature in English, Kiswahili, Arabic, Chinese, French, Sports, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Agriculture and  Additional Mathematics.

Others are Business Studies, Textiles and Garment Construction, Fine Art, Music, Theatre arts, Computer Science and Bookkeeping, Home Management, Food and Nutrition, Bible Knowledge, Islamic and Kiswahili literature.

Main fields and different occupations for O-level secondary education-vocational include Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Transport and Logistics, Clothing and Textile, Agriculture and Food Processing.

Others are Hospitality and Tourism, Commercial and Business Support Services, Printing, Extraction and Processing of Minerals, Cosmetology, Creative Arts, ICT and Electronics and Sports.

Prof Mkenda said implementation will be made in phases as from 2025 all standard seven leavers will directly join ordinary secondary schools under the new curriculum.

“The Standard Seven leavers will go through an assessment test, as it is the case with Standard Four currently and proceed to ordinary secondary education to meet the ten-year compulsory education system,” said Prof Mkenda.

The Kiswahili National Language will be used for teaching in pre-primary education and primary education, except for foreign language lessons and in schools that will request to use the English Language for teaching.

The English language will be used to teach from the lower secondary level, except for the subject of Kiswahili, foreign language studies and in secondary schools and colleges that will be allowed to use the Kiswahili language for teaching.

In addition, the National Language of Kiswahili will be used to teach Tanzanian History and Morals in order to build and develop Tanzanian traditions, customs and culture at all levels of education and training.

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