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Initiatives taken to enhance numeracy

THE Aga Khan University, in collaboration with three foreign universities, are con-tinuing with a research project that focuses on enabling primary school teachers to use assessment for improving learning outcomes in numeracy, particularly in challenging educational settings.

Aga Khan University lecturer Ms Veronica Sarungi says the ongoing research project known as Assessment For Learning Africa (AFLA) aims at developing sustainable capacity and skills to teachers in raising the standards of teaching numeracy in primary schools through effective classroom-based assessment.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam at the weekend, she said through the project, they were expecting to learn about teaching strategies and how teachers can help pupils to improve their numeracy skills, especially in mathematics, as well as to help teachers to improve their teaching standards in teaching through the practice of classroom assessment.

“The outcomes of the research are expected to teach us new and more exciting ways of assessing numeracy levels. Assessment tools that will be used by teachers will be used by primary school pupils,” she said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend.

The AFLA project launched in 2016 is also implemented in South Africa with the aim of raising the numeracy competence standards of schoolchildren. In Tanzania, it is implemented in Temeke Municipality, Dar es Salaam.

Already, nine primary schools, over 40 teachers and more than 3,000 pupils have been covered. The project is a joint collaboration between the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development in East Africa, Tshwane University of Technology and Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa as well as The Oxford University UK who were the overall lead in the project.

Altogether, the four university project partners, along with invited high-level government representatives as well as several external experts and teachers from across the region, discussed the current state of the AFLA research project and planned future activities.

Speaking about the project, representative of Oxford University, Prof Therese Hopfenbeck, said assessment for learning principles must be influenced by the relevance of the context in which it is implemented.

“Moving forward from this dissemination, we must take a research perspective from the analysis of data to critically assess the outcomes and how we will use the research to engage with local communities,” she said.

The Education Officer for Temeke Municipality in Dar es Salaam, Ms Sarah Lisasi, said the project helps teachers to learn various teaching skills, especially in mathematics.

She advised the public to collaborate with the government to improve the education system, to enable the country produce competent intellectuals.

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