- Published on Friday, 16 August 2013 03:38
- Written by ALVAR MWAKYUSA
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SENIOR education officers took an oath before the Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, pledging to meet targets set in the education sector through the Big Results Now (BRN), failure of which they will be held accountable.
Among the targets set for the education sector include raising passing rates in primary and secondary schools from the current 31 per cent and 34 per cent to 80 per cent by 2015.
The officers include the Commissioner of Education, directors for Secondary and Primary Education in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, in addition to regional education officers.
Education sector is among six National Key Results Areas (NKRAs) that have been earmarked to set the pace for the country to achieve the middle income economy by the year 2025. Other sectors are agriculture, energy, transportation, water and resource mobilisation.
"Even me and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry have signed a contract with the president committing ourselves to implementation of the BRN in raising the quality of education," Dr Kawambwa said.
"There are nine initiatives that were selected to bring about change in quality of education namely -- raising pass rates, teacher motivation and school incentives schemes, among others," Dr Kawambwa said during the open day session in Dar es Salaam.
A cross-functional team of 34 members from 31 government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) met for six weeks between February and April, this year to deliberate on key education challenges and developed solutions.
"It was noted that while enrolment rates have increased significantly, the quality of education has declined particularly pass rates for primary and secondary schools," Minister Kawambwa told participants at the session. To reverse the trend, a number of targets were set to improve the quality of education in both primary and secondary schools.
"Although pass rates are not the only measure of improved quality education, it is in the current situation the best indicator that can be used to measure the level of improvement," he explained.
The targets also seek to address major challenges that have been affecting the sector such as shortage of teachers and lack of motivation among them, inadequate learning and teaching materials as well as poor and insufficient infrastructure.
Other challenges include high rates of absenteeism among teachers, inadequate financial resources to implement planned priorities, curriculum issues and low community participation.
Dr Kawambwa said his ministry has started the process of implementing some initiatives to improve the education sector soon after the experts presented their findings in April, this year.
The open session for the education sector was aimed at giving the public an opportunity to know the BRN process and proposed initiatives so that they can provide inputs on the implementation process in order to meet set targets.
Under the BRN process, the performance of ministers, permanent secretaries and other higher ranking government officials will be assessed based on transparent indicators that have been set. Meanwhile, JANETH MTUI reports that frequent changes of the curriculum and textbooks adversely affect the standard of education, leading to frustrations to both students and teaching staff.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam at the occasion to mark the 50th Anniversary of Shaaban Robert Secondary School (SRSS), former President, Mr Benjamin Mkapa, said in case changes were necessary there should be time for adaptation to avoid confusion and performance of students.
"But the two factors should not take years to correct, namely the curriculum and textbooks. It is time we put an end to frequent changes to the curriculum," Mr Mkapa said. He added, uncertainty about a continuing curriculum upsets both teachers and students.
Change must be measured and allow time for adaptation. With regard to textbooks, Mr Mkapa said there too must not be changes frequently because that could reward authors but confuse teachers and students alike.