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Home > Article Categories > Medical Vocational Articles > E-Education in the Works for Tanzania

E-Education in the Works for Tanzania

Education in Tanzania is getting an e-makeover. The government is tackling the problem of educating Tanzanians in the information and computing age, and has almost finalized "Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow," an intensive e-education program that would integrate information communication technology (ICT) into the teaching and learning processes. The government, partnering with some leading multi-national technology companies and non-governmental organizations, will create a computer-based teaching program in public schools.

"Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow" was recently announced by the minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa in Dar es Salaam. The minister said that the government is committed to improving the quality of secondary education in the second phase of the Secondary Education Development Programme (Sedep). The e-classroom will hopefully help bridge the Tanzanian shortfall of 85,000 teachers. The program is supposed to supplement the long-term government recruitment of teachers. Kawambwa touted the importance of the program in light of increasing globalization. He hopes the program will enable Tanzanian children to compete globally in ICT fields. The government also has further plans to streamline its education program between 2010 and 2015.

The country has a long way to go in raising classroom standards. "Up to 20 students share a textbook and reference books in some schools. Labs, teaching and learning aids are extremely in short supply, while the curriculum was last updated in 2005," a document issued by the Ministry of Education on Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow initiative says in part. Classrooms are also overcrowded, which challenges the few teachers Tanzania has to maintain a calm learning environment. "The average student to classroom ratio is 60, but ratios of up to 100 students per classroom are common in the country. In this kind of situation interactive learning and individual attention from teachers is impossible due to class sizes," the document adds. Classrooms are also overcrowded, which challenges the few teachers Tanzania has to maintain a calm learning environment.

The planned program is ambitious, which the minister acknowledged, calling for support from other who believe in its importance. He does not yet know when the program will begin.

?The second phase of Sedep (2010-2015) would see the completion of school infrastructure, providing teaching and learning materials, building science laboratories and libraries, as well as building capacities of the teaching teams,? he said.
Partners in the project include Accenture, Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, NGOs NetHope, Plan International, Amref, and World Vision. The project will involve six pilot schools in a study lasting three months. Using ICT, a single teacher will simultaneously run several classes by relaying a lesson via computer.

Minister Kawambwa recently spoke about the project while officiating the graduation ceremony of Feza Schools in Mlimani City Hall. He praised Feza for its history of academic excellence in Tanzania and he encouraged the school management to open other centers for learning in other parts of the country. Feza schools are run by the Turkish Ishik Medical and Educational Foundation. The Foundation has primary, secondary and high schools in Dar es Salaam and elsewhere.

The school's executive director, Ibrahim Bicakci, said the foundation is determined to offer quality education in the country. He noted that a project to construct a university in Bagamoyo on land granted by the government will soon commence.

Kawambwa also challenged the Foundation to consider establishing health facilities in Tanzania. Bicakci responded that the foundation is indeed considering such a project in the near future, adding that the organization has been bringing doctors from Turkey to volunteer in various hospitals all over the country. ?Our aim is to achieve all goals set in the foundation plan, including the establishment of health facilities in Tanzania,? he said.

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