The crisis of education system in Tanzania, What do we do about it?

May 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

We had some conversations with my friend Seif Kabelele on Facebook about the importance of language and what do we do with it. Seif had very insight views about language. In the discussion my minds turned to the current challenges in our education system. We will all probably agree that language can help us grow intellectually. We understand each other and learn effectively by starting from things which are familiar to us and then we build knowledge blocks slowly until we able to understand and solve complex challenges. For over 50 years we have been debating all along as to whether we should use English or Kiswahili as a language of instruction in schools, colleges and universities. Currently the country is confused as to what is the problem to our education system, is it parents, students, teachers, curriculum, language of instruction, or education infrastructures (i.e. classrooms, desks, chalks, books, labs etc). The politicians and citizens find more appealing to see more classes (schools), laboratories, books and the likes. You will note even the recent Radar scandal money was allocated to books. Yes education infrastructures are important but we probably need to strike a balance of the two. Very little attention is paid to QUALITY! Same applies to Health sector, politicians and citizens are appeased by more dispensary/hospital buildings and the likes. Same also in provision of water services, more pipe lines laid to households but it doesn’t matter whether there is a drop of water at the end or not.

We are not only witnessing a sharp divide between the haves and have nots in life style and consumer behaviour but also in education. The majority of our citizens’ children who have no choice are left to suffer the consequences of the early 90s SAPs. Our economy is growing at 7% and now we have more positive prospects with the discovery of huge natural gas deposits within our offshores. Our biggest challenge is human resources, unless we have a versatile, sustainable and effective way of passing knowledge from one generation to another (which is what we call education) our natural resources abundance may prove catastrophic at the end of the day. I really wish that this makes sense to us and those of us aspiring to be leaders of this country. We are the products of ourselves – Nobody to blame if something goes wrong.

Back to quality! In engineering we define quality as, ‘a measure of excellence, a state of being free from defects, deficiencies and significant variations. Quality is brought about by strict and consistent commitment to certain standards that achieve uniformity of a product in order to satisfy specific customer or user requirements’. We have ISO (International Standard Organizations) offering different standards to suit different category of products. In education our products are the people who graduate from these schools, colleges and universities. We expect them to do certain things and bear certain behaviours as a result of the transformational intervention they got from the education system. Quality is a property brought about by human beings to either physical or non-physical things they make/produce or do. To make the locus short, well trained Human Resources are expected to be effective and efficient. Effectiveness is about doing right things timely and efficiency is about doing things right. If our education system is able to impart skills to our people at any level to do right things and do them rightly we are home and square. Karibu.


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