Education policy (2014) under heavy criticism • Stakeholders say it is ‘out of touch’

21Jan 2016
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
Education policy (2014) under heavy criticism • Stakeholders say it is ‘out of touch’

HEAVY criticism has befallen the 2014 Education Policy that was launched last year with critics faulting it as ‘no better than the ones that preceded it’ and even deemed that ‘it cannot transform the education system.’

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The criticism has been levied by the non-profit civil society organisation HakiElimu on the occasion of releasing their analysis report of the Education and Training Policy 2014 yesterday in Dar es Salaam. According to the rights group, the policy is crippled by its ‘traditional framework’ and is ‘out of touch with the fast-changing internet era.’
Presenting their report, former University of Dar es Salaam senior lecturer Prof Suleman Sumra said the policy is silent on a number of key issues that a pivotal to transforming the education sector.
“In a developing country like Tanzania that is enjoying a growing economy yet suffers significant poverty, the education policy should focus on the economy and poverty reduction,” he said.
He queried whether y the policy is technical and built on evidence and whether it politically feasible and financially realistic; “does it have stakeholders consensus?” he inquired.
He said the policy is filled with general statements, as opposed to the Education and Training Policy (ETP) of 1995 that he said was much more detailed.
“For example the ETP Policy statement is specific that a child should enroll in primary school when he/she attains the age of 7 but the new Policy is general stating that a child should enroll in primary school when he/she is between the age of 4 and 6 depending on the development and ability of the child,” he cited.
Further, the analysis holds that the country’s poor quality of education is the outcome of poor teaching and poor quality of teachers; “but the 2014 policy is silent on qualifications required for a person to become a teacher,” added Prof Sumra.
He said the Policy has also failed to address the question of immediate changes that are necessary to ensure graduating students are able to compete in the employment market.
“It is also silent on the strategies to take to ensure improved teaching of science and technology in schools,” he went on to criticize.
On his part, HakiElimu Executive Director John Kalage said the Policy does not exhibit any out of the box thinking and that there also lacks strong strategies to implement the policy.
“The policy needs a clear statement on the medium of instruction too and this should be for both private and public schools,” he advised.
He said to improve the quality of education there is need to enhance teacher competences, motivation, supervision, increase availability of teaching and learning materials as well as improvement of the teaching and learning environment.
He said the education policy has to ensure that Tanzania is not left behind by new techniques of production and technology. He urged the government to come up with strong strategies to ensure universal access to education by bridging the existing gap between the rich and the poor.
The new Education and Training Policy replaces four previous education policies, the Education and Training Policy (ETP 1995), the Technical Education and Training Policy (1996), the National Higher Education Policy (1997) and the information and communication technology policy for primary education (2007).

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