DESPITE being attached in a resource-rich Region, Nanyumbu Primary Schools in Mtwara Region face poor infrastructure conditions…a situation education analysts point as a major contributing factor to poor academic performance in the District.
The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results indicates that Nanyumbu District was ranked 184 out of 185 Districts in Tanzania Mainland with the majority of the students from the schools (Nanyumbu schools) mountaineering on poor grades not worth to grant them secondary education.
Speaking during the Global Action Week on Education (GAWE) campaign 2017, in Nanyumbu District, the District Executive Director Mr Hamisi Dambaya says that Nanyumbu schools face severe shortage of classrooms, teachers among other important school facilities.
“We have 94 schools in Nanyumbu primary with only 464 classrooms to accommodate a total of 37, 314 pupils…among them 18, 817 girls and 18,497 boys,” he says and adds that schools faces a shortage of 469 classrooms to accommodate all the increasing population of the students.
Due to shortages of infrastructures to accommodate all the students, the schools have established 44 classes under trees and 43 others in grass thatched roofed. According to the school development report, the schools also face a shortage 144 offices and 735 teachers’ residential houses, 146 stores and a total of 962 toilets for both pupils and teachers.
“Nanyumbu teachers require a total of 1,120 residential houses…currently we only have 385, we require a total of 735 to help accommodate the number of teachers needed in the schools,” he says and notes that schools also require 232 offices (present 132) and 186 stores (42).
“Despite the above challenges, the ratio of pupils to teachers is incompatible… the schools have very few teachers to handle the number of the pupils in schools,” says the District Boss and add that challenges were the main contributing factor to the poor academic performance recorded in past years.
He points out that the Academic Performance results indicate that Nanyumbu District scored 70.2 per cent in 2014, 52 per cent in 2015 while in 2016 the schools scored 45 per cent. “Poor academic performance in Nanyumbu schools in attributed by many factors with the major being poor infrastructure conditions,” he says and points out other factors as poor management, inadequate teaching, lack of school meals that leads to absenteeism.
Mr Dambaya calls on the government, education and stakeholders and the general public to extend the helping hand to help restore education the area. “We call upon the government to consider employing more qualified teachers especially science teachers to suit the schools’ need,” he says.
He says the schools still holds on teachers employed in 70s under the Universal Primary Education (UPE)- --the majority of whom are now retiring from work with no replacement and thus creating a major gap of teachers and students ratio.
“For example in 2016/17 28 teachers employed under UPE retired and we expect 28 and 29 teachers to retire in 2017/18 2018/19 respectively,” he says and adds that for the last two years (2016 and 2017) the District have not received new teachers to replace the gap.
Speaking during the GAWE Campaign, education analysts and members of the GAWE that included among others Tanzania Education Network (Ten/Met), a Non- profit Civil Organizations HakiElimu and Uwezo Twaweza expresses the need for government and other development partners to grant Nanyumbu Schools special attention in towards restoring a conducive social climate for the children to be able to pursue their education positively.
“The poor conditions of the infrastructures in these schools (Primary schools in Nanyumbu) require special attention from the government and other development partners,” says Ten/Met’s National Coordinator Ms Cathleen Sekwao. She asks the government to consider budgeting sizeable amount of funds towards improving the education sector in Nanyumbu schools.
“The government through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology should give priority to Nanyumbu schools thereby granting special care to improve education development in the district,” she notes and adds that the infrastructures conditions highly contributes to poor academic performance for the students in the District.
A Quality Assurance Coordinator from HakiElimu Professor Robert Mihayo stresses the need for the government to ensure enough, qualified and well motivated teachers to help cultivate education drive in the Districts.
“As the government plans to employ teachers…the matter of motivation to teachers should be highly considered as the factor (motivation) ensures classrooms effectiveness and school improvement,” he says and points out that salaries for the teachers should also be paid on time and also ensure availability of teaching facilities for an effective viable school system.
Prof Mihayo who is also the Chairman of the GAWE Campaign Organizing Committee says that the Ministry of Education ought to plan regular visits of the quality assurance experts in schools in order to help the government know the and budget proper the schools requirements, monitoring the teaching and learning process of the pupils for better improvement.
A research Program Officer from Uwezo-TWAWEZA organization Mr Richard Temu says that various studies indicates that poor infrastructures conditions highly contributes to low test scores and poor academic performance.
“Most children exposed in poor infrastructure learning conditions tend to develop negative perceptions of the school climate and thus developing the culture that in turn contributes to high absenteeism that in turn contributes to low test scores and poor academic performance,” he says.
The findings on Tanzania Annual Learning Assessment presented by Uwezo- TWAWEZA during the GAWE campaign shows that the majority of pupils in standards seven in the schools of Nanyumbu cannot read the Kiswahili and English story for standard 2 level, noting that the schools environment as the causative agent of the poor performance.
According to the report, only 5 out of 10 standard 3 students can read the Kiswahili story of standard 2 level where as only 2 out of 10 can read English story of standard 2 level.
“Some of the reactions from the teachers, pupils and citizens of Nanyumbu revealed that poor school infrastructures and poor participations of parents towards supporting the learning of children were among the main factors contributing to poor academic performance in the District,” says Mr Tem (Uwezo-Research Program Officer).
On the other hand, GAWE members (Ten/Met, HAKIELIMU, UWEZOTWAWEZA) expressed the need for the collective participation from parents, teachers and other education stakeholders as they believe the tool (collective participation) would help drive the implementations of various education development plans and programs thereby curbing the challenges bring setbacks in the education development.