Monday, September 9, 2013

Education ministry undertake initiative to curb shortage of science teachers

THE Government through the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training has introduced a three month training program to enable ex-form six candidates who studied science subjects and unfortunately could not score marks required for them to get admission in teachers’ training colleges in the country. According to the ministry the training will be a bridging course for candidates which on their successful completion, they will be in a position to get an admission to pursue a two year diploma course for teaching in government colleges. The move by the ministry aims to train more science teachers for secondary school students as the country is currently running short of them especially in most government schools, the deputy minister for Education and Vocational Training Phillip Mulugo said early this week in Dar es Salaam. The Minister was being interviewed by a local Independent Television (ITV) station in its program that takes 45 minutes which is being aired on every Monday and has asked the interested candidates to apply for the course which will effectively start in October next month. He said candidates to be admitted under this program are those who in their final exam results scored three subsidiary marks in subjects like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Geography which give a combination of science subjects for PCB, PCM and CBG. The minister was highlighting various steps which have been so far taken by his ministry during 2013/14 financial year towards ensuring an effective implementation of the ministerial development programs geared under government’s initiative of ensuring the ‘’Big results Now’. He said currently the government does not have enough teachers for science subjects in most of its schools across the country, and therefore efforts currently being undertaken are one step forward to curb with the rising shortage. He said that, out of the recently employed 27,000 teachers in the country, 2,019 were science teachers and the rest are teachers of other commercial and arts subjects. He further added that, this is a shame to the nation and the government has to look for other alternatives in order to recruit qualified teachers to fill the gap. Under the initiative aimed at attaining the big results now, the ministry of education has introduced nine ideas part of motivation to promote teachers and prizes to be given to the best performing students who will be selected from the top ten best schools. 

Tanzania's Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training Phillip Mulugo

For the start, the ministry has instituted an academic competition for schools in this year’s financial year whereby a winning school will be awarded with prizes of recognition at a national level. Speaking on the controversial long standing teachers’ debts which have been accumulated up to Tsh. 58 billion, the government has paid up to 98 percent. These he said does not include debts owned by teachers doing practical works as under this category, such teachers will be paid by district or town councils under which they work for. However, he said the central government works in collaboration with the Local Government Authority to ensure their payments are settled and to accomplish the task, the government has put in place a three month timeframe on quarterly basis to ensure that such payments are settled. On the recent teachers’ failures, he said that, the government has arranged for them to repeat their exams following a request in a letter which the ministry sent to respective zonal offices from where the exams were set. According to Mulugo, a minimum of 41 percent mark has been recommended as a pass mark for every teacher trainee. This is a minimum level of pass mark otherwise they have to repeat and get more. The aim is to get qualified teachers who are committed to teach students diligently. He said adding that, promotions will also be considered as they increase their knowledge. Commenting on the ministry’s move, a retired teacher Mzee Yusuf Halimoja (80) has said that, the ministry of education need to take serious steps in order to ensure an effective implementation towards attaining the big results now. He said it will be difficult to improve teaching career as most students in the country are taught how to cram lessons with a view to pass their examination. He said, the habit has grown so high to the extent that, students have come to resent teachers who teach them lessons into details, and instead tend to love those who teach them how to answer questions thinking that are examination setters. Mzee Halimoja is an educationist with long experience in teaching in the country who affirms that, the current education system and its curriculum is not prepared to open up student’s minds to gain wide knowledge on almost every thing surrounding them and make them become innovative.

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