LAST weekend the government expressed its commitment to make major changes in the country’s education system through drawing up relevant contents for the major purpose of producing competent graduates.
Deputy Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Juma Kipanga expressed the commitment last Friday in Parliament, saying the plan will involve reviewing education laws, policies and national curriculum.
According to the government, the plan to transform the education sector aims at aligning it with the country’s industrialisation drive. To be precise, the deputy minister informed MPs and the general public that the government plans to implement the plan next financial year.
About two months ago, President Samia Suluhu Hassan made similar plea to the education ministry, saying it was time to review and evaluate the education curricula.
According to President Samia, currently Tanzania has a lot of factories but finding skilled labour is difficult, insisting that reviewing the country’s education policy is of great importance so that it matches with the changes occurring in science and technology.
The president expressed her concern that despite youths spending much time in schools they still become dependent on their parents and guardians since the knowledge they acquire does not make them independent.
For years now, educational stakeholders, including parents and politicians have been calling for revisiting the country’s education system, especially the curriculum, giving reason that the current one does not meet the current market demands.
Currently, the country’s education system is tied on a four- tier structure modelled on a 7-4-2-3 year progression pattern, meaning that a child spends seven years pursuing primary education, followed by four years of secondary level before being subjected to two years of upper secondary and then three to five years of tertiary education.
In this sense a child spends roughly 16 years schooling but still becomes less competent in the labour market. Researches conducted in the country on the graduate employability challenges have come out with a variety of findings.
According to the findings, poor foundation at the lower levels of learning contributes to generating incompetent graduates.
However, some researchers claim that such poor foundation results from lack of competent teachers, lack of adequate number of qualified teachers, lack of proper remuneration and motivation of teachers, and lack of adequate learning space and facilities .
Blame is also apportioned on poor educational policy which lays emphasis on knowledge instead of being competence-based. The Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE), at several occasions, has raised voice on this problem, a matter that now should be dealt with.
Tanzania now implements an industrialization drive which means that the country must produce skilled labour to meet the growing market demand, a plan that will materialize by revisiting the country’s education policy.