Five Most Significant Problems of Education in Tanzania
All individuals that are under the age of eighteen years have a right to education. However, hundreds of thousands of youths and children in Tanzania are on the bottom rung of education. According to Human Rights Watch: all year long, children under the age of 18 are forced to drop out of school because:
- The students fail the Primary School Leaving Exam
- Early pregnancies
- A pro-poor focused education
Contributing Factors to Low Education
The first president of Tanzania, the late Honorable Julius Nyerere, created a culture that would help the citizens achieve self-reliance. The early curriculum aimed at equipping the students with the necessary skills necessary for self-sufficiency in the rural areas. Post-primary education was reserved for a few citizens who would provide the workforce for the country. Primary school was terminal for the majority of the Tanzanians making the system a pro-poor focused education.
The majority of the students face a lot of academic drawbacks, and the parents offer little or no financial support, the teachers are not competent, high incidences of expulsion especially the girl child due to early pregnancies, and lack of infrastructural facilities. Failing to pass the public secondary education entry exam.
Analyzing the weak education system from the students’ angle, the students themselves chose not to put in the time, hard work and focus at school. Instead of sending most of their time immersed in their books, they are busy chatting with friends on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram among many other social sites. The students end up wasting time on the internet instead of conducting academic research and other academic engagements.
Significant Problems Facing Education in Tanzania
What are the shortcomings the Tanzania government schools face for the system to fail to provide the Tanzanian children with their fundamental rights?
1. The Teachers
The pro-poor focused education system in the early years contributed to a lack of qualified teachers leading to the deterioration of the quality of education offered in the public schools. The problem is magnified by the expansion of primary schools and not secondary schools leading to reduced transition rates. Development of primary schools increased the demand for more teachers, and yet there aren't enough secondary school graduates, the teachers are primary school dropouts.
2. Cultural and Social Norms in Tanzania
The Tanzanians have a negative attitude towards education. In some cultures, the girl child lacks training. In such communities, female children should carry out household chores while awaiting marriage. Why educate a girl child, and yet she will get married and end up benefiting her new family instead? Besides a female child attracts the bride price and the community, therefore, do not see the importance of education.
In the less privileged areas, the children walk for hours before getting to school. On their way to school, the female students encounter sexual harassment that leads to unwanted pregnancies. A pregnant pupil is expelled from school, and once they give birth, it is impossible for them to continue with their education. In other instances, most girls are married off at a very young age paralyzing their education.
3. Poor Infrastructural Facilities
There is no debate the Tanzanian schools lack the necessary infrastructure like classrooms which affects the children’s desire to learn. Example, in some schools the class is built from grass, and there is no reading desks or cloakrooms, imagine what happens when it rains, the lessons are disrupted. Other factors that affect learning include:
- Lack of electricity both at school and at home, it is thus difficult for the student to have evening studies or do their homework
- Inadequate supply of water forcing the children to walk several kilometers in search of water.
- Lack of sanitary towels for the female child.
4. The Inadequacy of Learning Materials
Availability of the required academic materials will improve the literacy level of the children. However, the children in the public schools lack proper books. The students are required to take extensive notes which is, and in other instances, the children use only one book among ten students. The challenges cause the children to lack the skills to handle specific topics. The situation is worse for students with special needs as their books are hard to find.
5. The Crowded Classrooms
The students are many, but the schools are few. A class may consist of 200 pupil’s sharing desks and textbooks and being taught by a single teacher. The disproportionate number of children to teachers fails to impart knowledge to the children.
In conclusion, I suggest the government to deploy a monitoring team. The role of the team will be visiting the public schools and examining the teachers, the level of infrastructure, availability of learning materials and other vital issues. If these are implemented, the system will ensure the students get a quality education and the necessary skills.