21 Pages, Grade: Tertiary level
Influence of External Forces on Educational Policy Formulation and Implementation in Tanzania: Challenges and the Way Forward
Mr. Godlove Lawrent
Assistant Lecturer, University of Dodoma (Tanzania)
This paper examines the influence external forces on educational policies formulation and reforms in Tanzania. These forces include the international agendas, globalization, ideology adoption and international community donors. Data were collected through documentary reviews. The study found that most of education policies and reforms in Tanzania are external rather than internal influence. It was further noted that even the implementation of these policies and reforms depend entirely on donors both financially and human resources. However, it is recognized that most of support from these forces are oriented towards the quantitative improvement rather than quality enhancement. This state of affair was found to affect the quality of education delivery negatively. Challenges facing these policies and reforms were also addressed in this paper. The paper concludes that, despite the quantitative policy achievements like the student enrolment expansion, it is important for the responsible to improve the primary and secondary schools quality of education as well as to address the issues of corruption for the education allocated fund in particular.
Soon after independence, Tanzania declared war against three development enemies namely; ignorance, poverty and diseases. Various plans and programs were formulated and implemented to overcome the three problems. Government endeavors were thus directed towards improving the sectors related to eradication of these enemies. This includes strengthening and expanding such social services as education, health, water, transport, communication, agriculture and economy at large (Ngungat, 2008). However, in its effort to eradicate poverty for example, the government put much priority in formulating and implementing policies that placed the citizen at the centre of the development process.
While the government was in the process to deal with the identified developmental problems, in the 1970s and 1980s in particular, three issues namely, the global economic crisis, drought and the war against Idd Amin were further emerged (Galabawa, 2001). Again the three adversely affected the provision of the basic social services, education being among them, not only to Tanzania but also to most developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America. The merge resources had enforced the government spending in funding education to be reduced. This consequently culminated into the increase number of illiteracy rate and decline of quality of education as whole. In revamping the situation, the formulation and adoption of new education policies seemed to be a necessary step as a coping up strategy with the world rapid changes in science and technology, economic and trade policies as well as trade liberalization.
The Tanzania education and training policy adopted in 1995 is the most popular one which among other things it looks forward at achieving the education sector vision and mission. The education sector has a vision to Tanzania to be a nation with high level of education at all levels; a nation which produces a quality and quantity of educated people sufficiently equipped with the requisite knowledge to solve the society’s problems in order to meet the challenges of development and attain competitiveness at regional and global levels. On the other hand, the mission of education and vocational training in this regard is to realize Universal Primary Education, eradicate illiteracy and attain a level of tertiary education and training commensurate with critical high quality human resources required to effective respond to the development challenges at all levels (URT, 1995; URT, 2006). In actual fact, it is very crucial to note that, the adoption and consequently the implementation of educational policies and reforms in Tanzania are mostly influenced by external forces rather than internal forces the situation which brings a lot of positive and some negative impacts. Therefore, this paper examines the origin and influence of most Tanzania education policies and reforms and consequently its implementation.
International agenda and Tanzania Education Policy adoption
Tanzania recorded very impressive expansion education policies and reforms during the late 1960s and the early 1970s. These policies and reforms are influenced in some aspects more than others by international agendas. It is, however, noted that the origin of educational policies and reforms can be traced as far back to the1948 during the General Assembly of the United Nations. In December 10, 1948, The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Following this act, the assembly called upon all member countries to publicize the text of the declaration and disseminated it in schools and other institutions. The article 26 of the declaration stipulates that, every one has the right to education, and education should be free and compulsory at least in the elementary and fundamental stage (Dandan & Daniel, 2002).
In response to this declaration, Act No 15 of 1985 of the constitution of Tanzania stipulates that, every person has the right to access education and every citizen regardless the sex, ethnicity and religious status shall be free to pursue education and technique in his or her choice to his or her merit and ability (URT, 1998). This has also clearly articulated and integrated into the most comprehensive Tanzania Education and Training Policy that basic education shall be the right of every individual regardless to its status. In Tanzania it is, thus, a criminal offence for any parent or guardian to prohibit the child from participating to primary (basic) education.
Likewise, the World Declaration on Education For All (1990) drew attention on removing educational disparities within the country. The declaration also encourages learning through a variety of delivery systems and adoption of supplementary alternative programmes (Bishop, 2004). This international agenda influenced the government of Tanzania to set education plans to promote access to basic education to disadvantaged communities through programs like Complementary Basic Education (COBET) particularly the nomads, gatherers, fishing groups and hunters. The 1990 declaration, however, constituted a great challenge for education policy makers, planners and administrators in Tanzania. These stakeholders started to set education policies which aimed at achieving basic education for all in 2000. This government endeavors have resulted into high and rapid growth in enrolment rates. The enrolment expansion, however, was accompanied with the elimination of user fee on primary education (Terme, 2002 & Galabawa, 2001).
Education policy in Tanzania is also implemented in response to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Millennium Development Goals aimed at achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015; Promote gender equality and empower women by eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005 and in all levels of education not later than 2015. The Millennium Development Goals have eight goals to be achieved by 2015 which respond to the main development challenges. Among these goals is to achieve Universal Primary Education. The Zanzibar education policy of 2006 for example was developed in response to the Millennium Development Goals (URT, 2009). Efforts have been carried out to improve the access and the quality of education in Tanzania mainland by revamping the primary and secondary education to meet the MDGs. The Primary Education Development Plan (PEDP) and Secondary Education Development Plan (SEDP) have led to significant improvement in the provision of basic education in the country from 2002 to date (Sumra & Rajani, 2006). The two plans are set in order to accomplish the Universal Primary Education and secondary education respectively.
In the similar manner, The Dakar Framework for Action held in Senegal, have had also an impacts toward the taking up of education policy and curriculum reforms in the country. The Dakar Framework for Action emphasized all countries in the world to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education, harnessing ICT to help achieve EFA goals, education programmes and actions to combat HIV/AIDS pandemic and implement integrated strategies for gender equality in education (UNESCO, 2002). That has influenced the education system in Tanzania because in 2003, the Tanzania Ministry of Education and Vocational Training recognized the ICT policy to enhance education and to improve the quality of delivery of education in all areas. The education and training policy stipulates that, ICT should be taught from the pre-primary level to teacher education while the revised edition of education and training policy emphasizes that, ICT should be taught from pre-primary education to tertiary level (URT, 1995 & URT, 2009).
As a part of implementing this Framework for Action, in 2004 the Ministry of Education and culture through the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) started to integrate the study of HIV/AIDS and gender in the curriculum from secondary schools to tertiary level. In secondary schools the two were integrated in such subjects as biology, geography and civics, while the university of Dar-es Salaam for instance had established a gender dimension programme committee, a gender unit and carried various gender mainstreaming workshops. Decentralization in education is also addressed in the Dakar Framework For Action. The state of affairs prompted the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) to decentralize both primary and secondary education. The emphasis to decentralization of education is to ensure equitable distribution of resources as well as to optimize the use of existing resources and to promote the mobilization of new resources (UNESCO, 2002 & Husain, 2005).
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