Friday, April 3, 2015

Kitila: New national education policy is expensive

Tanzania government and education stakeholders in general will face hard time to implement the newly introduced national education policy which was launched by President Jakaya Kikwete about three weeks ago, a University don has said. The associate Professor of the school of education at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Kitila Mkumbo said recently in Dar es Salaam that, switching to Kiswahili language as a medium of instruction for higher learning institutions as stipulated in a new policy will need a lot of money and time taken. He said the trend will take long time and hence affect the stakeholders psychologically due to intensive preparations which would require expertise and high knowledge in order to accomplish the learning discourse currently in English language and translated them into Kiswahili language. Prof. Mkumbo was highlighting some critical factors about education in Tanzania as written in the newly introduced national education policy as part of his presentation at a five hour Commonwealth Alumni Association meeting held yesterday at British Council offices in the city. The association for which Prof. Mkumbo is a member including with other Tanzanian academicians who have benefited from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission of the UK was established in the country in 2013. Prof. Mkumbo who is an expert in psychology and education noted that, this is the most serious part about education in the country that, the nation has to get prepared to meet the necessary costs required. However, he noted that, although the move by the government has significance at promoting Kiswahili language at the international level, it will incur lots of inconveniences and obstacles to make the exercise successful. 

The associate Professor of the school of education at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Kitila Mkumbo

He also noted that, despite the fact that, the medium of instruction for primary school’s education in the country is Kiswahili which is a mother tongue and a national language being spoken by 95 percent of the country’s citizens, despite of this still there is a number of failures in exams at public primary school level. He said, there is a great disparities in the teaching methodology and ,learning conditions between private and public schools, and access to English language is increasingly growing poor in public schools than in private schools, an aspect that about 50 percent of all children in standard seven are able to read English stories. Elaborating more about the Commonwealth Scholarship in the country, the Project Manager who looks after scholarships for higher learning institutions in the country Ms. Malula Nkanyemka said that, the programme in the country is being coordinated by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Education and Vocational Training. She said, the scholarship and fellowship programme was established during colonial time way back m 1959 with the first scholarship being offered in 1960. Since that time, about 839 Tanzanian scholars have benefited from the programme. 598 out of them studied in UK in different areas of studies, and that currently about 98 Tanzanians are in UK pursuing their studies under the programme. The scholars have taken a wide range of exceptional post graduate courses ranging from Engineering, sustainable development, Paediatric surgery, Public Health policy, Pharmacy, Agriculture, Economics, Marketing and Education.

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