Education targets ‘clearly missed’

Teachers are headed back to school to re-learn basic subjects in an effort to raise the grades of their students. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Tanzania’s education targets have been ‘clearly missed’ says a new report by the Uwezo initiative at Twaweza. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

A new report shows that learning levels among children have not improved since first assessed by the Uwezo initiative at Twaweza in 2010.

There have been ‘no statistically significant improvement in rates of literacy and numeracy since the inaugural Uwezo assessment in 2010,’ says Zaida Mgalla, manager of Uwezo Tanzania.

The report reveals data gathered nationwide by over 8,000 volunteers who assessed over 100,000 children in 2013.

“Why have our efforts only produced 30 percent?”
Education for All targets, which were to be met by 2015, have been ‘clearly missed,’ says the forward of the report, written by Twaweza executive director Aidan Eyakuze and Twaweza data and voice director John Mugo.

Overall, only 30 percent of Standard 3 children can do Standard 2 work in English, Swahili and numeracy.

“Even with teacher shortages and flooded classrooms, why have our efforts only produced 30 percent?”

Furthermore, when looking at Standard 7 students, 30 percent still can’t read or complete maths problems at a Standard 2 level.

“The population of children attending school in Tanzania has never been as high… Most children in Tanzania are going to school but few are learning,” say Eyakuze and Mugo.

“This means that over 150,000 illiterate and innumerate children left the education system to enter the workforce … many of those young people will likely to be struggling to make ends meet, condemned by a curriculum that was always ahead, teachers who were perennially absent, and parents who did not act.”

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education and Vocational training announced a teacher retraining plan in maths, English and Swahili as shortcomings ‘deeply concern’ the government.

Read more: Teachers being retrained in basic subjects

Read the report

Quick facts:

  • Children from non-poor households are twice as likely to pass literacy tests than those from ultra poor households
  • 60 percent of urban children passed literacy & numeracy tests, compared with 40 percent in rural areas
  • Children who have educated mothers are almost twice as likely to be able to read in Kiswahili
  • Children in school have more general knowledge than peers who aren’t in school
  • Only 8 of 21 regions in mainland Tanzania have a pupil-teacher ratio under 40 pupils per teacher; on average, 74 pupils share a classroom
  • 30 pupils share a textbook and 31 percent of schools have a library; over 50 percent of homes have no books
  • 44 percent of schools provide meals and 46 percent have access to clean water
  • Teachers skip class too: teacher absenteeism rates jumped from 18 percent in 2012 to 25 percent in 2013

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