Restoring Teacher Dignity Volume 2

Restoring Teacher Dignity Volume 2

This report was written in the wake of one of the greatest catastrophes in the recent history of Tanzanian education. Half of all Form 4 students failed the 2010 national examination. Despite sitting through four years of secondary education, 174,193 of the 352,840 students who took the exam either failed in every subject or got a single ―D‖ out of the seven subjects tested and failed the rest (NECTA, 2011). Formal education for these 174,193 members of the next generation leading Tanzania has, for the most part, come to an end. Parents are confused, and the nation is shocked. The country is left wondering, ―What has caused this?‖ and, ―What urgent action needs to be taken?‖ While no one could predict such a sharp decline in our secondary school students‘ performance, many of us in the education sector at the national level saw the symptoms. There has been a quick and steady decline in exam performance over the past few years. The implementation of the nationwide government initiative called the Secondary Education Development Plan (SEDP), has emphasized enrollment—building enough schools to provide enough classrooms for the nation‘s youth to attend secondary school. This has been achieved—the number of government secondary schools has more than quadrupled from 828 in 2004 to the current 3,425, and the number of students enrolled in them has increased from 264,888 in 2004 to 1,515,671 today (URT, 2008b, 2011a). However, the government has not been able to match the pace of this enrollment with the required educational inputs. While the amount of students has increased more than five-fold, the number of teachers in government secondary schools has only managed to quadruple from 9,896 in 2004 to 39,934 now (URT ,2008b, 2011a). To cope with the shortage of teachers, many secondary schools, particularly rural community secondary schools, hire or receive teachers without qualifications to teach in secondary schools. Currently, one out of every thirteen teachers in secondary schools, two are unqualified to teach there (URT, 2011a). On top of this, adequate textbooks, learning materials, and laboratories remain a problem. When children are in secondary school being taught by unqualified teachers with too few learning materials, how can it be a surprise when they fail the national exams?

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