I am writing today about what I have learned about the Tanzanian education system. Although there has been improvement with the education in Tanzania, often children are not receiving good quality schooling. One of the main reasons for this is little investment. Tanzania is the largest East African country geographically and by population, and the second largest by its economy, yet it only uses 1.4% of its Gross Domestic Product on education, less than half of the percentage of every other East African country (Citizen 2014).
Education is one of the basic rights for children. My research has shown that the Tanzanian teacher’s situation, training, and teaching methods is one of the most critical issues. Teachers have limited education, and many have only finished Form 4 (11th grade). After that, there are only around 2 years of teacher training, which means the teachers usually have limited education. On top of that, teachers have a low salary, despite the fact that they work 52 hours a week instead of the usual 40 hours. Often they cannot send their own children to secondary because of this. The teaching methods are in need of improvement as well. Teachers usually teach lessons based on the examinations rather than on other, important skills. Also, students are taught to memorize answers to questions, instead of understanding why the questions should be answered that way, which is unfortunate as often children do not fully understand the concepts of the subjects they are learning. But we must remember this is not the teacher’s fault. They are not to blame for any of these issues, or the many other problems with their situation, training, and teaching methods.
Many organizations, as well as the government, are working to improve the Tanzanian education system, including the Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU), HakiElimu, and the Teacher Education Department of the Ministry of Education. However, Tanzanian education could still use some improvement, and any action that will help will contribute to Tanzania becoming a well educated country. Here are a few ways you can help improve Tanzanian education.
The government – Invest more in education. By doing this, the improvement of the education in Tanzania will accelerate, and, because of a more educated community, poverty will decrease.
Parents – Be involved in your child’s education. Education is one of the most important parts of your child’s life, and will shape their future. Make sure your child is receiving the best education possible, and help your children in their studies to the full extent of your abilities.
Anyone willing to help – Take action with a local community or school. Support an organization. Do research on some of the main issues on Tanzanian education, and inspire others to help your cause. Every action taken will be able to help, and, no matter how small your effort, you will become part of the group of people who have helped to improve Tanzanian education.
Grade 5 student
International School of Tanganyika