FOR many years, the Tanzanian educational system has been under scrutiny partly because the desired results as expected by many Tanzanians have not been materialized.
It is also important to understand that, constantly the Tanzanian educational system has been undergoing reforms to improve it.
Lack of classrooms in one of Tanzania village schools.
Last year’s Form IV results have continued to show a series of worse results especially to public schools that ought to educate children from poor families but the reality has been the opposite where we see private schools outshine public schools.
Form IV results articulate clearly there is a problem with our educational systems despite the constant reforms that have been taking place in Tanzania.
From a recent report in February 2016, NECTA has clearly stated a drop of 1.85% from 69.75% in 2014 to 67.91% in 2015. Such statistics clearly indicates there is a problem with our education.
Isn’t this then the right time to sit back and assess our educational systems and stop reforming it constantly and allow revolutionizing the entire education system to fit our current situation and environment and ultimately make it better for us as nation?
Finland to date remains to be the leading country in the world with a better educational system and the reason being the country decided to completely revolutionize its education system to fit the current needs of its country and not what other international standards require of them.
This doesn’t in any way imply Finland doesn’t abide to international standards of education but the country has decided to make education enjoyable to its people.
The educational system in Tanzania continues to be the one we inherited from the British Colonial rule and we are afraid of changing it, thinking we shall commit a great crime.
In my view however, not revolutionizing our educational system only then makes us commit crime that can be comprehended by the way poor results continue to prevail, unemployment is at the highest rates, dropout rates continue, to mention a few setbacks relating from the educational system as a whole.
The overall emphasis of our education system today is standardizing and testing. The education system finds pleasure in assessing student’s performance through tests and exams because the system considers education is linear and if all people go through the same line the results or output will be the same.
Profesa Joyce Ndalichako, Minister for Education, Science and Higher Education.
One thing we tend to forget is that, human beings are organic and no single individual can claim to be similar to the other and none will ever be.
This being said, it is therefore hard to put everyone in the same system and expect them to produce similar results.
Teaching and learning remains to be the core parts of education unless we enhance appropriate ways that will make teaching and learning interesting to students and teachers.
One may tend to ask, why do we see constant failure every year in primary and secondary schools is it that the students are not intelligent or is it that the teachers aren’t smart?
There may be many answers to this, but it may be the students these days aren’t interested in what they learn in schools and the schools do not offer them with what they want to become and who they wish to become. The problem with the schools is that they want to produce only a specified set of people and forget that students are organic and wish to be different things.
Often times, it is considered schools tend to kill creativity since the schools do not groom people to be who they want but rather, schools want students to be what the schools wants them to be.
This is the basic reason why we see failures each year since schooling has stopped being interesting to people and often times I consider schools can rarely enable someone to be in their own element.
So how should we then revolutionize our education one may ask?
It is important to remember education has four objectives which should all be met and given equal weight. I shall explain them in no chronological order.
The first objective is for economic purposes, this continues to be seen as the primary role of education where people will be educated to be employed and get paid. During industrial revolution labour was needed to feed the industries and a few technocrats were needed and this is when education as a system was introduced for such a specific need. To date, this has continued to be the practice in education, where students are trained to be employed and not improve their own creative talents that will allow them to be in their own element. If one observes very closely will notice our education system has been modeled to follow the industrial model where the outputs should be the same under the same specified conditions.
Education is meant for an individual this is the other objective, this proves why education should not be linear but rather be organic since it is meant for an individual person. Our education has to improve an individual to fit into the environment and be able to unleash the potentials that one has. Individuals are born with immerse talents which are hidden deeply in them, so it’s the function of education to harness such talents and make them visible to the world and make one’s life complete.
Our education system unfortunately rarely does that since it is already predetermined what should be done to students and no room for individual growth.
The remaining two objectives are education is for social and societal purposes, I have decided include these two here since have more or less related aspects. Education aims at making an individual fit in the society that one lives in by taking into account the need to educate individuals into their own elements that will make them better in their own environment.
To illustrate further for clarity here, individuals are organic and each is different from the other hence there should be different environment for growth and not a specified set for growth. For example, you train a fish to swim and not climb a tree and you train a monkey to climb trees and not swim.
This should entirely be the overall purpose of education and when this doesn’t happen that is when we see poor academic performance and wonder what is happening.
To conclude, our education system needs to foster the teaching and learning environment and the rest will follow.
As we aim to revolutionize our educational system we should be sure to involve both the teachers, students and the community to a dialogue that shall rightly bring out what ought to be the right education that we wish to have since we are the consumers and not the kind of education that the government wants us to have.
In his book, FIND YOUR ELEMENT, Sir. Ken Robinson has rightly said, there is a problem with human resource since our education system has failed to expose the individual creativity and capacity but rather killed creativity due to the industrial model of production form of education which believes the end product should be the same.