Tanzania opens door to English teachers


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Sep 24, 2010


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By BILHAM KIMATI, 15th December 2010 @ 11:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 213

THE government has opened door to hire English teachers from the East African region to help strengthen the education foundation for pupils at both primary and secondary levels.

However, the opportunity does not marginalize equally qualified local teachers but rather aims at speeding up the implementation of national education reforms to improve the sector for a major leap forward.

The Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa announced plans to incorporate personnel from the East African region and also declared the government's commitment to continue training more English, Science and Mathematics teachers to build the national capacity in the next three years.

During an audience with the administration and board members of the Tanzania Education Authority (TEA) in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Dr Kawambwa said similar emphasis initially put on Kiswahili language would also be directed to English at early stages of the education system.

"Primary level teachers need to speak proper English. No doubt the government will help them and will become equally conversant with the language. Although English is not the benchmark for quality education, yet it is necessary to establish a strong base for effective communication among our students," Dr Kawambwa said.

Unveiling plans to ensure quality education was equally accessible to all, the minister reaffirmed the government's commitment to make effective use of the National Optic Fiber Network to improve the education sector.

"We (nation) would like to come to a stage whereby a science teacher located at a distant place teaches thousands of students at ago through application of Information Communication Technology (ICT),| he explained.

It was further learnt that the World Bank was in full support of the education sector such that some USD 37 million was set aside to help train English, Mathematics and Science teachers for secondary schools and teachers' colleges.

Accompanying the minister, Prof Wilbert Abel, the Director of Higher Education said Tanzanian students were equally intelligent but some of them lacked confidence.

"Universities in the country have excelled in academic performance in the region. The notion that education in Tanzania is inferior has no room and should be abandoned forthwith," Prof Abel suggested.

Commenting on the resolve to hire qualified English teachers from Kenya and Uganda, the director said teachers to be recruited would work closely with their local counterparts for the benefit of the nation.

"Pupils should learn proper English starting from class three. The language is spoken all over the world and it is necessary for students and citizens to learn the language properly and communicate effectively with others around the continents," Prof Abel said.

Earlier, the Chairperson of TEA, Dr Naomi Katunzi spoke of the achievements recorded in the last ten years of its existence, saying that out of the received 2,847 applications for funds worth 176.4bn/-, a total of 1,133 projects were granted funds.

"TEA authorizes funds in the form of grants and loans to all registered education institutions both public and private. These include elementary schools, primary and secondary schools, teachers' colleges, vocational training colleges, universities and other higher learning institutions," Dr Katunzi explained.

"We wish we could do more, said the chairperson, but limited resources remained the biggest challenge. For example, from 2000/2003 todate, ATE has received 44.7bn/- subsidy from the government.

The Director General of ATE, Ms Rosemary Lulabuka said the Tanzania Education Authority was established with various objectives. These include secure adequate and stable financing of education and advise the government on new sources of revenue, for the purpose of ensuring adequate and stable flow of money into the fund.

"ATE helps raise the quality of education and increase access and equality, promote education and training according to the needs within the framework of overall national socio-economic development plans and policies and apply the monies deposited into the fund for the purpose of improvement and promotion of education," she explained

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