This paper is about planning for quality improvement in Tanzania: reflection on secondary education development plan (SEDP). Quality education can be measured by establishing acceptable benchmarks and standards of good practice in planning, implementation and performance. The quality of education is a concept which would involve studying of the interaction between contextual factors, inputs, processes of teaching and learning as a means to realize its outcome. The main purpose of this paper is to examine how planning can be used/guide to improve quality of teaching and learning in secondary schools reflecting on SEDP aims, objectives, programme areas, challenges and governance. The situation of secondary education in actual is not well since there is a big shortage of qualified teachers, poor planning at local level (micro-planning), teaching and learning facilities, improper inspection, and the nature of students admitted; all these were addressed by SEDP document as a core programme areas.
Historically, Tanzania was colonized by Germans; the British were given a mandate by the League of Nations to rule it after World War I (1914-1918). It should be understood that the colonialists established formal education system (schooling) whose aim was to serve the interests of their motherlands. After independent 1961, the only moves was to produce national leaders with nationalist spirit who could be able to plan and produce an educational philosophy which could help in reshaping the educational practices; this ideas was also speared by Addis Ababa Conference of 1961 on development of education in African countries which called the for extensive improvement in education. In the mid 1990s, the government of Tanzania produced Education Country Status Report, which provides the basis for Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP). EDSP is a sector-wide programme aimed at operationalizing the various policies pertaining to sub sectors in Education and Training Policy. Through ESDP, two partner programme (Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP) and Secondary Development Programme (SEDP) were planned to spur community, donors, embassies and non-governmental organization to contribute in education developments. The programme covers all sub-sectors in education sector. In the same vein the report disclosed that the education sector was in a dismal situation, with over three million eligible children out of school; there were low and declining enrollment rates, literacy rates, and high out-of-pocket education costs for parents.
The government in 2004, decided to follow a sector-wide-approach to education reform while focusing its effort on secondary education expansion through the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) that has a vision of structuring a nation with high quality of education at all levels; a nation having well educated people qualitatively and quantitatively that are equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills to solve the society’s problems in order to meet the challenges of development and attain competitiveness criteria at regional and global levels.
The Secondary “cycle” education in Tanzania has passed and is passing in hard transitional periods of rapid growths in all aspects education development for example the increase in enrollment, access and equity, quality in all aspects and quantitatively development; all these are conducted under unified single strategy namely Secondary Education Development Plan (SEDP) 2004-2009 and almost all newly established schools are not provided with enough facilities including good studying environment, well qualified teachers to facilitate their studies, culminated by dilapidated with half-buildings, insufficient desks, overcrowded classrooms, inadequate number of textbooks and poor motivated teachers attributes by schooling system.
On the other hand, Tanzanian government has extended opportunities for secondary education since the inception of SEDP. The process has been gradual and the facts remains on the actual environment where educational priorities are found not on the paper or speech delivered by many educationists or politicians, for example, the number of students enrolled in community secondary schools compared to the number of teachers enrolled in teachers training programmes as well as infrastructures in those schools and colleges. It is not the aim of this paper to address the bottlenecks of SEDP, except to address whether the plan had managed to achieve congruence between qualitative and quantitative development to secondary education sector in Tanzania. This paper presents an overview of planning for improvement with regards to SEDP objectives, programme areas, achievements, challenges and suggested recommendation pertaining to planning criteria.
Re-thinking Some Concepts in relation to SEDP and Education
Education can be literally defined as an investment in creating an enabling environment for sustained change through technological innovation and adoption (Kagia, 1997). According to Mosha (2000, p.3) education refers to formal-pre-school, primary, secondary, vocational, tertiary and higher education programmes leading to the awards of a certificate, diploma, advanced diplomas and degree depending on the route.
Educational Development: This concept involves the systematic repackaging of the education provided at all levels to ensure that it promotes excellence. It allow creation of system and institution that empower learners to generate ideas and discoveries, both small and big that in turn make persistent economic development possible toward the total examination of poverty (Mosha, 2006, p.10). Strong educational planning is based on sound policies which provide guidelines for educational development and implementing policies. It should be noted that educational development must first and foremost translate policy directives and guidelines into action strategies for attaining excellence in the educational system.
Quantitative Development Aspects in Education:
One of the constant government efforts of all time since independence has been towards increasing access. For example soon after independent government started to offer free secondary education for the few privileged students who were expected to bear weighty responsibilities in the community; since very few primary school leavers were able to join secondary education (Bennaars et al, 1994, 302). The two tables below (table i and ii) capture the quantitative aspects of development in terms of increasing numbers of enrolment and educational institutions from independence to date.
Table I: Enrolments capability from 1961 to 2010
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Source: Basic Education Statistics (BEST)-1994/1998/2000/2002/2006/2008; Poverty and Human Development Report 2007; Ministry of Education and Vocational Training 2009/2010 year budget report.
In secondary education itself, through expansion in the number of places at government schools, net enrolment has also expanded quickly from 6% in 2002 to 13% in 2007 with this rate of progress, net secondary education enrolment achieved MKUKUTA’s target of 50% by 2010 as planned.
These facts imply that there is improvement in education access in terms of an enrollment, number of classrooms per schools, availability textbooks, meaning that a good number of ongoing school children are provided with education but as the data shows it is not enough comparing to the number of out of school children like street children and child-labor around there.
Table II: Number of Educational Institutions from 1961 to 2010
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Source: Basic Education Statistics – 1998/ 2002/2006/2008; 2006-2010; Ndibalema, 2002; Omari, 2002; Poverty and Human Development Report 2007; *only one; ** facts missing
Quality Concern in education: According to Scott (1981, p.349) Quality refers to selected, specific attributes of a given product or services such as reliability or durability. In a school context, quality means an improved state of the structural facilities such as classrooms, teachers, equipment, toilets, laboratories, medium of communication equipment, specimens, teaching aids, school space and grounds (Munishi, 2000, p.21 and Nahashona, 2000, p.35). In order to monitor and improve the quality of education there is a need to develop a sound planning department in each schools and a data bank on the indicators of education that will inform central government planners and policy-making about how poorly or well the country’s education is performing.
In this case, the educational planning sector has a vital role to play in improving the quality of the lives of Tanzanians through planning for highest quality outcomes. One of the targets stipulated in Tanzania Development Vision 2025 is to build a country that has a well-educated and learned society. The government realizes that education is the pillar of national development, since it is through education that the nation obtains skilled manpower to serves in various sectors of the economy.
In addition, President Jakaya Kikwete quoted in Temba (2008, p.viii) in his one of speech addressing the nation posits that “it is through quality educational planning and provision Tanzania will be able to create a strong and competitive economy which can effectively cope with the challenges of development and which can easily and confidently adapt to the changing market and technological conditions in the region and global economy” (http://www.tanzania.go.tz/education.html). The overall objectives of introducing educational reforms, together with other policy initiatives, was to ensure growing and equitable access to high quality formal education and adult literacy through expansion of facilities, efficiency gains and quality improvement.