Brilliant Article:Without the 3 Rs, we have no chance of passing the test of nationho | JamiiForums | The Home of Great Thinkers

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Brilliant Article:Without the 3 Rs, we have no chance of passing the test of nationho

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Geza Ulole, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. Geza Ulole

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

    Dec 20, 2009
    Joined: Oct 31, 2009
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    We need the likes of Gen. Ulimwengu to open up our eyes! While lack of competent teachers continues, nothing much has been done to solve the issue regardless of the education sector toping the Government budget 2009/2010. I keep wondering are there no creative people in this Government of ours esp. in the Ministry of Education? What is Prof. Maghembe doing? why not improving incentives to teachers; like introducing free scholarships for Education courses for both private and public institutions and for those interested in further studies?

    Why not giving loans with interest free to private institutions to expand their intake capacity especially on Education courses ( last time SAUT asked for funds and Mkulo gave less than a third of what was requested; while it was a loan (the institution couldn't go to the Banks since no soft loans (interest are double digits even on education) and the Government is always good at imposing the fees in these Private Institutions forgetting that they need to cover running costs as well as expanding!)? I think Tanzanians will be witchcrafted if they will vote CCM in the coming election!

    Without the 3 Rs, we have no chance of passing the test of nationhood



    Posted Monday, December 21 2009 at 00:00
    In a season marked by a dearth of good news, Tanzanians have been scanning the skies for at least a fleeting glimpse of a silver lining to the dark cloud hanging over the nation.
    There is none in sight, not even from their soccer team, which was recently kicked out of the regional championships, and not from this year's primary school leaving exams, which more than half the pupils who sat it flunked.
    Both performances - in sports and in education - are ill-calculated to bring cheer to a nation in desperate need of something to feel good about.
    It has not helped matters any that while the people are looking for something to celebrate, the ruling elite are busy sinking their claws into each other with total abandon.
    The soccer debacle was one of those things about which people develop instant hindsight and claim they had known all along that the mere importation of a coach from the land of Pele was not enough to guarantee a winning team.
    After all, sport has never been Tanzania's forte in the face of our neighbours to the north, and, when all is said and done, sport is just what it says it is, sport.
    Academic performance is another kettle of fish altogether, seeing as education is the main plank in a nation's endeavour to bridge what is perceived as a competitiveness gap between itself and its neighbours.
    Such a poor showing on the part of local schools tends to rub into Tanzanians the idea that underperformance is their lot, and no country can, or should, live with that kind of self-image.
    Not that the government has not been busy in this area.
    Over the past few years, it has embarked on a massive programme to build more schools at all levels, primary, secondary and tertiary.
    After delivering on the promise to provide an elementary school for every village, the most recent target has been a secondary school for every ward, an effort that benefited from the boundless energy of former premier Edward Lowassa.
    A new university has even been commissioned in Dodoma with a promise to take in some 30,000 students or more.
    It's difficult to fault the government on its efforts to ensure greater pupil enrolment and retention all the way to the end of the pipeline.
    So these recent results must come as particularly unwelcome news at a time when East African integration has been given a boost with the signing into being of a Common Market, heralding even greater regional interpenetration.
    No doubt, we are bound to hear the old bogey about our neighbours taking "Tanzanian jobs" (not to speak of grabbing our land) now that we have proof that our youngsters are given to sleepwalking through primary school.
    We should expect more xenophobic noises on this score even though we have only ourselves to blame for this unhappy state of affairs.
    It would seem that, here as elsewhere, we have dug ourselves into a hole out of which there are no quick exits.
    An educational system that actually works has to be the product of the collaborative efforts of all thinking Tanzanians putting their heads together to think a new pedagogy, calibrated to suit the needs of a Tanzania that is evolving within a regional and a global context, geared to producing a citizen firmly rooted in his/her community and nation, while at the same reaching out and connecting with the world.
    This cannot be achieved by merely erecting brick-and-mortar structures called classrooms; for these to become classes, they need qualified teachers, relevant and adequate books and other learning materials to facilitate what education is all about: the learning and teaching process that takes place between the teacher and the learner.
    It is about teaching the individual to think clearly and independently and to act with the confidence of one who knows what they're doing.
    To get there, though, it seems we still have to make sure the boys and girls leaving primary schools can, at the very least, master the three Rs.
    Jenerali Ulimwengu is a political commentator and civil-society activist based in Dar es Salaam. E-mail: