MEMBERS of Parliament on Thursday called on the government to ensure that the ongoing review of Tanzania’s education policy and curriculum shifts focus from cramming to nurturing talents and imparting vocational skills.
Contributing to 2022/23 budget estimates for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the lawmakers recommended that this approach should start at primary school level so as to avoid the situation whereby pupils complete fee-free basic education (form four) which is funded by taxpayers to the tune of 24bn/- monthly but are not employable.
Rehema Migilla (Ulyankulu–CCM) said for any country to make strides in education, early career development must start at lower level namely primary school.
“Currently, we measure success of our child by how they cram and pass examinations but we don’t care about their talents and gifts,” she said.
By putting premium in cramming and passing final examinations, talents and skills are wasted as pupils come out of schools, colleges and later universities with mere theories but no problem-solving skills, she said.
Seif Gulamali (Manonga–CCM) said for this change to be effective, the number of theoretical subjects pupils are tested on in primary school should be further cut from the current six to between three and four.
“Primary school pupils study a lot of subjects which are not necessary. From standard four, pupils should start understanding and focusing on their talents or vocational skills,” he recommended.
According to Katani Katani (Tandahimba–CCM), the government should revive or put up more polytechnic schools instead of producing more university graduates who end up walking from office to office with job application forms.
“We need more technicians than administrators. We must stop producing more of these managers,” he said.
“From standard three, pupils should start understanding their talents and possible career paths.”
Judith Kapinga (Special Seats–CCM) argued that lack of focus on talent nurturing and skill development has faded even the formerly top-rated special secondary schools.
“Special schools do no longer qualify to be called so because we don’t see anything special from them,” she said.
“We praise pupils selected to join these schools after getting with flying Colours, but after completing their studies they come back to idle in the streets.”
Prof Adolf Mkenda, Minister for Education, Science and Technology, told the National Assembly here a fortnight ago that the government is finalizing review of Tanzania Education and Training Policy (2014) and curriculum to among others, introduce vocational education in primary and secondary schools.
He said the appraisal of the documents which is scheduled to complete by the end of this year, adding that the mechanism for sitting vocational education examinations in primary and secondary schools will be prepared in collaboration with National Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NACTVET).