Officiating at an international symposium on adult education at the University of Dar es Salaam, the premier directed that thousands of qualified teachers who are yet to be employed be engaged in the programme.
“Adult literacy plays a critical role in national development. It is important to educate them so that they can contribute effectively in the building of the country,” he said.
He also directed authorities in respective regions and districts to set aside funds to pay allowances to the teachers who will be volunteering in the programme.
The premier said the two ministries - Education, Science and Technology along with Regional Administration and Local Governments must come up with a solution on the best way to eliminate adults who can neither read nor write.
He also called on the Institute for Adult Education in collaboration with other education stakeholders to research on adult education gaps and come up with recommendations.
Other directives the premier issued include improving databases to get accurate information related to adult education countrywide, where experts will present recommendations on the best way to produce a fully literate populations.
Dr Eugenia Kafanabo, Dean of Adult Education at the University of Dar es Salaam, said that the contribution of adult education was high in different sectors.
The symposium was vital as it reflects the goal and vision, plus work done and contributions made by founder president Julius Nyerere in battling illiteracy and ignorance as a whole after independence, she stated.
The first phase contribution in adult education was the foundation for later efforts, she said, pointing out that at independence, over 70 percent of adults were illiterate.
Since the Arusha Declaration in 1967, adult education became a major instrument in national development as programmes in literacy, health care and hygiene depended on basic literacy, she elaborated.
Acquisition of technical competence has been particularly successful because adult education was taken up as an intrinsic and meaningful part of the learner's life, as its purpose has changed from the learning of literacy skills to learn how to be self-reliant.
This involves the improvement of life at individual and community levels, she stated.
In imparting basic literacy skills, the content is drawn from material relating to health, agricultural techniques, authority and responsibility, along with response to demand as the learners become aware of its functional importance, she added.