The government intends to recruit more teachers to address challenges brought about by the increased number of students in public schools.
More students have been enrolled this year thanks to the increased number of classrooms in primary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities.
This was stated yesterday by the Assistant Director of Education in the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, Ms. Margaret Musai, at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), where education stakeholders met to share ‘Utafiti Elimu Tanzania 2023’ study findings and how they will help the government to come up with improved policy.
“When more classrooms were built, the number of students increased…to the government, this is an excellent result. Almost every Tanzanian child is in school studying. Now we have encountered the challenge of teachers,” she said.
In rescuing the situation, Ms. Musai said, the government has started taking several measures to address the shortage. In the next fiscal year, more teachers for primary, secondary, technical colleges and universities will be recruited.
“Currently, we (the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology) are in the process of improving Education Policy to provide better education and not just education,” she said. Additionally, good education focuses on a child’s development from pre-schools to university.
Ms. Musai said the ministry is going through various references and research to find a policy that reflects current needs.
A representative from the President’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG), Mr. Yusuph Singo, who represented the Director of Education, said the Utafiti Elimu Tanzania 2023 findings would be essential and will complement the government’s effort to reform the sector.
At the meeting, researchers were expected to report a correlation between climate change effects and learning. The ministry’s representative said there is a relationship between the two variables.
On his part, the HakiElimu Board Chairperson, Mr. Richard Mabala, said it is important to harmonize research and policy so that the improvements made to policies and curriculum can consider what is stated in the research.
“It can be that a new page is going to be opened in the education sector after the ministry welcomes the opinions of various people, including education stakeholders, before preparing a new policy, so we hope the improvements will meet the needs of consumers,” said Mabala.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Head of the Education Section, Ms. Faith Shayo, said the meeting was a significant opportunity to share development partners’ thoughts on bridging the gap between evidence, policy, and practice in educational research.
“This gathering provides an opportunity for education stakeholders to come together and reflect on the state of education research in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar. We are here to discuss how we can bridge the gap between evidence, policy, and practice, particularly in the areas of teacher workforce planning and management and climate, environment, and infrastructure,” said Ms. Shayo.
She said that education is a fundamental right and an essential element for personal and societal development.
She urged the meeting participants to strive to ensure that all children have access to education and are provided with the necessary support to succeed in their academic pursuits.
She said the shortage of qualified teachers is further compounded by the poor distribution of the teaching workforce, resulting in some schools having an inadequate number of teachers while others have an excess.
“We must find innovative ways to attract and retain qualified teachers, particularly in rural areas, and ensure equitable teaching workforce distribution,” said a UNESCO representative, who also doubles as the Education Development Partners Group’s chairperson.
On his part, the Canadian High Commission to Tanzania, Mr. Kyle Nunas, said Canada has a long-time partnership with Tanzania in the education sector. He said the objective has always been to improve the education system, particularly in primary and secondary schools.
Mr Nunas said the partnership aims to increase the capacity of teachers to train qualified teachers in different schools in the country to change people’s lives.
“Canada will continue to support Tanzania in challenges for climate, environment, and infrastructure to be given the increasing number of teachers’ pupil ratio,” said Nunas.