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Lowassa in support of education curriculum overhaul

3rd February 2013
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  Praises Mkapa for strong leadership
Former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa (L) who is the Monduli Legislator, presents leaving certificates to Form Six student Dann Kitalika during a graduation ceremony at Benjamin Mkapa High School.

Former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa has once again come out strongly in support of overhauling the country’s education system, whose curriculum he says needs a review.

The former premier voiced his concern over the deteriorating state of education in the country yesterday during a graduation ceremony at the Benjamin Mkapa Secondary School in Dar es Salaam.

Lowassa’s remarks come only two days day after nominated MP James Mbatia tabled a private motion in Parliament that called for the formation of a special Parliamentary committee to investigate circumstances leading to the collapse of the country’s public education system.

“We should accept that there are weaknesses in the educational system in Tanzania …the curriculum should be reviewed for having better educational status,” Lowasa argued.

The former premier added that the current education system was meant to prepare job seekers, not job creators. However, he added that, since there weren’t enough employment opportunities in the country, the current educational system needs to be reviewed in order to prepare job creation.

He stressed that education be given first priority in national development plans, arguing that even programmes such as Kilimo Kwanza could succeed if education wasn’t afforded due priority.

Lowasa urged the government and the Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) to stop fighting each other and instead work for the common good of students.

On Friday this week, the National Assembly docked a private motion tabled by James Mbatia (Nominated, NCCR-Mageuzi) to form a select committee to investigate what he described as serious weaknesses in the country's education sector.

However, the House voted to deliberate on a counter motion by the Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, who asked Parliament to allow the state enough time to deliberate on the issues raised by Mbatia because they touched on the country’s education and training policy.

The vote in parliament came after a battle of wits on issues surrounding standing orders, with the opposition claiming that docking Mbatia's motion was against the orders while those from the ruling party supported the minister's motion.

In his motion, Mbatia raised serious concerns over three main areas in the country's education sector education policy, lack of official curricula for secondary and primary education and weaknesses in approving learning and teaching materials for secondary and primary schools.

He also took a swipe at the Educational Materials Approval Committee (EMAC) for failing to deliver on its duties, saying it allowed an influx of mediocre learning and teaching materials in the country.

Dr Kawambwa, however, countered that issues raised by Mbatia were crucial but argued that forming a select committee alone would not solve the problem.

Meanwhile, Lowasa has praised former President Benjamini Mkapa for his strong leadership.

Lowassa said former President Mkapa was an open and honest leader who led the nation for 10 years and left its people with a strong sense of unity.

Earlier in his welcoming remarks, the head of the school, Benard Ngozie told the guest of honour that the school was established 15 years ago, but still no library.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY