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Education system needs thorough review

Education system needs thorough review

NECTA’s Executive Secretary, Dr Joyce Ndalichako, announced this week that Form Four examination results for 2011 were marred by widespread cheating, abusive language and massive failure and that the number of students who had conducted malpractice increased to 3,301 last year from 311 in the previous year. The culprits have also been barred from sitting in any examination by NECTA for a period not less than three years. This reflects the future of our generation as a nation.

This is the generation we expect to have future teachers, doctors, engineers, army personnel and politicians. It is an appalling situation that calls for urgent action to reverse it. This is a fact. There is a lot of rot in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training that demands a complete overhaul.

It is not a secret that the problem is not only with the secondary school examination results. The same thing happened with the primary school leavers’ examination results where some pupils could neither read nor write but selected to join Form One, to the dismay of even parents themselves. Therefore, what is seeing in secondary school results is a continuation of the rot that is in our primary schools.

The situation calls for serious analysis of the examination results and come up with new fresh ideas in the way we conduct our affairs and the need for change.  Experts have said, and we repeat here that it is very wrong to assess students on the basis of their final examinations results, from where we pick those for further education in higher education.

We are repeating our recommendation that the education system in this country must be thoroughly reviewed in order to provide continuous assessment of students on class work based on day-to-day performance upon which students will be graded. There is need also to go back and review the education system afresh to see where we went wrong and plan for change. This includes reviewing time to stay in primary and secondary schools and make decisions on criteria for further education.

Other countries have done the same and success stories are obvious. We must not feel ashamed to borrow a leaf from them. But there is the other side of the coin in which both the parents and the community in general have a role to play. Revelations on misbeheaviour on the part of some students predicts that our parenthood responsibilities in this country have failed. 

What has happened to our social responsibility of, for example, treating your neighbour’s child as your own, including disciplining neighbours’ children whenever it is necessary?  We are told some students went as far as writing lyrics of bongo fleva on examination papers, uttering abusive language to authorities including NECTA officials.

Surely these children must have come from the well-to-do families with all the facilities at their disposal such as televisions and radio sets. Gone are the good old days when everybody in the community played the role of a parent and was in a position to discipline a child when it is necessary and the parents are informed later.

Parents have become so possessive of their children these days that even teachers can not dare to discipline students lest they bear the wrath of parents. There are vivid cases of children provided with all sorts of luxuries such as expensive mobile phones, cars and even big sums of money when they go to school. It would be difficult for such children to respect teachers who do not have money, hungry and not sure of their next salary.

There are examples where teachers ask for favour from same students they are supposed to discipline in case of misconduct.  All in all, we all need to revisit our education system, analyse critically where we went wrong and put in place short and long term strategies aimed at revamping the education system in this country.

ON December 9th this year, Tanzanians will ...

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Mwandishi: EDITOR

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