HakiElimu calls upon stakeholders to invest in pre-primary teachers

29May 2020
Getrude Mbago
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
HakiElimu calls upon stakeholders to invest in pre-primary teachers

HAKIELIMU, a non-profit based organisation has called on the government and stakeholders to invest heavily in producing qualified pre-primary school teachers who will be able to provide essential skills to children during early education.

HakiElimu executive director John Kallage.

Dubbed  "Integration of Child Protection into Early Childhood Education and Assessment of Learning and Teaching", the two studies which were conducted in 2019 focused on the early needs of the Tanzanian child in and outside the formal education system.

Speaking at the virtual launching of the reports, HakiElimu executive director John Kallage said that the quality of pre-primary education the country should be looked with a bigger eye to ensure that children learn well for their future.

Kallage observed that there is a huge shortage of qualified teachers something which thwarts proper learning of the children.

According to him, almost 52.6 percent of pre-primary teachers who participated in the researches, demonstrated lack of proper understanding of pre-primary education and needs. This situation has made teaching and care of pre-primary pupils to become more or less similar to that of primary school pupils.

He said that it is important that the government invests in building and improving existing school infrastructure including existing pre-primary classrooms to adapt to the needs of pre-primary school age children.

 "It is high time also to encourage more young people to join pre-primary school teacher training and to hire a larger number of such teachers to cover the prevailing deficit of the teachers," he said.

Kallage added that, together with this, the government needs to build the capacity of existing teachers so that they have a clear understanding of pre-primary education concept and its needs.

"We as HakiElimu have learnt that, as a nation, there are good steps reached in this area, but there are challenges as well, which require us to work together and jointly to address them so as to ensure protection, quality childhood and quality education to the Tanzanian child, in his/her early years," he said.

Presenting the findings, Dr Jackline Amani, researcher from Mkwawa University said that the study has revealed challenges of poor teacher-parents’ collaboration in ensuring that the child gets the required education and care according to the child’s age and needs.

"Poor teacher and parent cooperation has caused lack of basic needs such as food and incidences of poor protection and child abuse," she said.

She recommended that schools should reinstate feeding programmes to promote pre-primary children attendance, participation and achievement of learning outcomes.

For his part, Dr Moses Mnzava, a researcher at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) said that early learning is still a massive challenge in the pastoral communities.

"There are many deep-rooted and multi-faced challenges facing education in general and early learning in particular in pastoral communities. A comprehensive pilot early learning programme should be designed specifically for pastoral communities," he said.

This programme should be informed by actual realities, practices and circumstances of pastoral communities. Implementation of such a programme in a few pastoral villages for a minimum of three years can provide a viable model for an early learning programme for contemporary pastoral communities in Tanzania.

Richard Mabala, HakiElimu board chairman said: "What is needed in early education is flexibility, needs for urban schools are different from those in rural areas so this should be considered."

"Invest in producing qualified teachers for early education so as to feed and raise children with essential knowledge for their sustainable development," he said.

Joyce Kiango, a primary school teacher urged parents to be open to teachers about their children health problems or any other disability problem for better care.

"We have been receiving several children having various problems, but we fail to raise them well because we don't have deep history on the children's social challenges, so it is better for parents not to fear and be open," she said.

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