Tanzania moving backwards in terms of education - UNESCO

27Sep 2016
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
Tanzania moving backwards in terms of education - UNESCO

THE government has been challenged to intensify its efforts to improve both literacy and numeracy among adults as new estimates show that 5.4 million Tanzanians currently cant read and write - a big fall from the glory days of the 1970s.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) country representative to Tanzania, Zulmira Rodrigues, emphasized this yesterday at the first national consultative meeting on Sustainable Development Goal number four – to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The meeting in Dar es Salaam aimed to prepare a roadmap on how to align the country’s current education priorities to the new outcome targets outlined in the SDG goal, and find solutions to help build future generations of Tanzanians.

Rodrigues called on the government to incorporate education for sustainable development and add global citizenship education to the local education system.

“Education should therefore remain very crucial to the government of Tanzania, with absolute focus on development and promotion of education programmes that address issues at all levels of education,” she said, adding that special focus should be placed on science, technology and mathematics.

According to the UNESCO country rep, literacy is part of the right to education, especially core basic education and self-reliance education for illiterate adults.

Speaking on the SDGs, she described them as an “important tool for pursuing focused and coherent action on sustainable development, specifically SDG 4 which focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all.

” Teachers and educators are a fundamental part of guaranteed quality education and should be empowered, adequately recruited and remunerated, motivated, professionally qualified and supported within well-resourced, efficient effectively governed systems, Rodrigues said.

She commended Tanzanian government efforts so far in introducing free education at basic level, saying this is an important step as it will greatly assist children and parents from poorer segments of the population.

On his part, the deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Dr Leonard Akwilapo, reiterated the government’s commitment towards improving the education sector in response to SDG number 4.

Akwilapo called on local education stakeholders to fully engage in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of sectoral reforms for better and mutually beneficial results.

The deputy PS said he was shocked to hear of the number of illiterate adults currently in the country, and vowed that the ministry will intensify its efforts to promote self-reliance education especially for women and girls.

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