Since independence, our education systems have gone through a number of significant changes. This article focuses on pointing out the key events and developments in the education sector from 1961 until now.
In order to appreciate significance of the changes that took Place in education sector after independence, one has to look at the country’s Economic Development Plans.
(a)The First Three Year Development Plan: The year 1962 saw the inception of the three years Development Plan and the Expansion of Secondary Education Ordinance became effective.
This Ordinance proposed: abolition of racial discrimination and establishment of a single education system; devolution of the responsibility for Primary Education to Local Government; Empowerment of the Minister for Education to set up Board of Governors for Post Primary Institutions; Revision of Grants in Aid rules; Registration of Teachers and approval of owners of schools; Provision of common terms and conditions for teachers through the establishment of the Unified Teachers Services (UTS); Promotion of Kiswahili as a National Language by making Kiswahili and English medium of instructions.
The Rural Local Education Authorities were in full control of Primary Education. The Local Authorities met 40 per cent and the central government met 60 per cent of the Primary Education expenditure and the number of school inspectors at the centre was increased to 10.
(b) The First Five Years Development Plan: The year 1964 saw introduction of a Five Years Development Plan whose main objectives were: to meet the requirement of the national economy for high level manpower; to ensure a quality of Primary School Education is adequate for establishment of permanent functional literacy for pupils who proceed no further; and to progress towards the long term goal of self sufficiency in the supply of teachers for all schools in Tanzania.
The major events for this year were: maximization of the existing facilities in European and Asian schools to accommodate all races; expansion of primary education; expansion of adult education; expansion of training facilities for Grade A teachers; phasing out of Grade C training programmes and initiating up grading programmes for existing Grade C teachers; abolition of secondary schools fees; The Tanzania Education Journal was first published; expansion of secondary education to the extent justifiable by the manpower requirements through the construction of more classrooms, completion of existing schools with Form II to accommodate Form III and IV, and conversion of some existing primary schools and colleges into secondary schools.
In the year 1966, the major events were: primary education duration changed from 8 years to 7 years but the phasing out was in phases over a 4 years period; the UTS Central Board and Regional Committees were instituted; the Library Services Board formally assumed its responsibility; the Adult Education Advisory Council also assumed its responsibility.
The year 1967 ushered in the promulgation of the philosophy of “Education for Self Reliance”, which emphasized: first, the need for curriculum reforms in order to integrate theory with the acquisition of practical life skills.
This meant a re-examination of the content of the curricula, the age of entry in primary schools, and the organization of schools. The second emphasis was on linking education plans and practices with the national socio-economic development and the world of work.
During the same year under the East African Council Act of 1967, East Africa severed relations with the Cambridge Examination Council and established East Africa Examination Council instead, to which Tanzania became a member.
Second Five Years Development Plan: During the year 1969, the Education Act 1969 was enacted. The Act aimed at providing a national look at the education system hence the ministry was named the Ministry of National Education. Under this law: all schools were placed under Government Authority and Boards of Governors in Secondary Schools were replaced by Advisory Committees.
This strengthened Government control over the education system. Because of the problems that were facing local authorities in the payment of salaries for teachers, the Central Government decided to directly pay all the teachers serving in public primary schools; Government decided that only Tanzanian (citizens) teachers were to be employed in primary schools.
All subsidizing contracts for non-citizens were thus not to be renewed when they expired; it was decided to phase out a large number of boarding primary schools save a few for girls; whenever a boarding school with Standard V-VII dropped out its Standard V, it was required to establish STD I for day pupils. This was in anticipation of converting such a school into day school with STD I – VII.
(d) In 1970 the Musoma Resolution was passed. This resolution stipulated that: adult literacy including functional education to be intensified; primary education shall be Universal and Compulsory.
Between 1967 and 1978, the government took several steps and enacted several laws in order to legalise actions taken as a result of the Arusha Declaration and the philosophy of Education for Self Reliance.
Specifically, the following changes were effected in the education and school system: reforms in the school curricula in order to meet national needs; more emphasis was given to the provision of primary education by introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1974; Post Primary Technical Centres (PPTCs) were introduced; multi purpose Folk Development Colleges (FDCs) were introduced as part of post primary training programmes; foreign examinations were abolished and national examinations in the formal system were introduced; formalization of Continuous Assessment at Secondary and Teacher education levels in examination system; work was made an integral part of education; primary and secondary education were made terminal and relevant to the needs of the country; diversification of secondary schools (Form I-IV); adult literacy and education were given more prominence and financial; voluntary agency schools were nationalised; local education authorities were formed to run and manage primary schools; a National Advisory Council on Education was established; school boards and committees were established for secondary schools, teachers colleges and primary schools respectively; both public and private schools were required to be registered
(e) The Third Five Years Development Plan: The Education Act No.25 of 1978 was passed to legalise education changes that were introduced between 1967 and 1978 following the implementation of Education for Self Reliance. Changes legalized by the Act included: the establishment of a centralized administration of schools which gave powers to the Ministry of Education to promote National Education; an Education Advisory Council was created; the post of the Commissioner of National Education was established and every Local Authority was made Local Education Authority; institution restrictions on the establishment of schools by requiring owners of schools to get approval of the Commissioner of National Education and to have all public and private registered; the establishment of school categories into national schools and regional schools; making primary school enrolment and attendance compulsory for children ages 7 to 13 years; the centralization of school curricula and syllabi; making mandatory the registration and licensing of teachers; the establishment of school boards and committees; the establishment of the inspectorate department in the Ministry of National Education just to mention a few.
(f) The First Union Development Plan: in 1981, a Presidential Commission on Education was appointed to review the existing system of education and propose necessary changes needed to be met by the country towards the year 2000.
The Commission submitted its report, the Makwetta Report, in March 1982. Among its recommendations, the most significant ones resulted in the establishment of Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC); the establishment of the Tanzania Professional Teachers’ Association (TPTA); the formulation of a National Policy for Science and Technology; the introduction of Pre-primary Teacher Education Programme; as well as the expansion of secondary education.
In 1984, the ministry prepared a Ten Year Development Programme for the expansion of secondary education. In 1985, the communities started the construction of Community Secondary Schools and fees for secondary education were re-introduced.
(g) The Economic Liberalisation Period: the following events took place:
In 1990, the management of Higher Education was shifted from the Ministry of Education to become a full ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. In 1995, the government adopted the Education and Training Policy. The years subsequent to 1995 witnessed the Public Service Reforms, which also brought changes in the Ministry’s structures. Other reforms which impinged on education are the Local Government Reform and the Financial System Reform, the Tanzania Development Vision 2025 and the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
During the first half of 1990s, the Ministry of Education and Culture started implementing the Sector Wide Reform process under the umbrella of the Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP). A number of projects to test the mechanics, viability and possibility of country-wide application of some aspects of the Education and Training Policy were implemented.
These projects later led to the Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP) and Secondary Education Development Programme (SEDP). The former re-activates the commitment of the country’s realization of UPE by paying special attention to: access and equity; quality of education provided; institutional arrangement; capacity building; and improved financing.
As for SEDP, the five programme areas were: improve access and equity; improve the quality of education provided; enhance management reforms and devolution of authority; and improve education management information systems (EMIS).
In order to do a meaningful analysis of the current situation in our education sector it was necessary to reminisce key events and developments occurred in the past 50 years.
The next article will entirely focus on an analysis of whether our education system is heading us into the right direction or not. The writer is a specialist in Economics of Education and Finance, Education Management and Policy Studies.
He is reached through: email@example.com or 0754304181