Friday, January 25, 2008


by Anja Moilanen

There are about 35 Million people and more than 120 ethnic groups in Tanzania. The national language is Kiswahili. For historical reasons English is the second official language.

Tanzania is one of the least developed countries in Africa. Luckily, the Tanzanian government understands the value of education when improving the quality of life. According to the Tanzanian education policy the language of teaching is Kiswahili in pre-primary and primary education in which English is a compulsory subject. In secondary education the language of teaching is English and Kiswahili is a compulsory subject.

Nevertheless, the poor command of English of both teachers and students is a major reason for academic under-achievement in secondary schools. Students start studying in English without proper preparation and are taught by teachers who in many cases have a low level of proficiency in English. Some teachers do their best and attend evening classes to acquire better language skills. However, it is expensive and time-consuming, and not even available everywhere.

The number of private schools is growing and affluent families send their offspring into these schools that use English as the medium of instruction already in primary schools. Unfortunately these schools are hardly better – their teachers are often not able to use English properly or lack teacher training altogether.

Tanzania has tried to find solutions to these problems. The country uses the help of its own experts, the British Council and also numerous experts from Finland to improve their teacher trainees´ language and pedagogical skills. Hopefully the project is a success and Tanzanian students will face easier times at school.

Source: Yours Truly 2008 (the annual bulletin for the members of The Association of Teachers of English in Finland), original article written by Modester M Mwinula, URT National Commission for UNESCO, Tanzania


medinahaukipudas said...

I hear that the Faculty of Education and the teacher training of the University of Oulu is also involved in this project! Way to go Oulu!

amo said...

What a great project! Maybe some time the same practise will help educating other professions, as well. Or are there high quality universities and professors in Tanzania already? This project will definitely be extremely helpful. I strongly think we must keep this project running and effective. Good luck with it!

Kasperi Kujala

amo said...

The fact that other countries are helping Tanzania to achieve better education in English and in that way other subjects is, in my opinion, awesome. The idea to have experts teach them better English is way better than the constant money donations. This really helps the people to learn that they can make it on their own. Through the education they can develop their country and stop depending on others. I truly hope they can learn to stand on their own and become a strong country that doesn’t depend on others.

Niko Raappana

Anonymous said...

Real the country is suffering,if we successed in this we will be far.Iam a teacher but acquired my secondary Education through evening classes,It was tough,but now Iam undertaking Masters.Teachers need inservice training to make them update.

zakia said...

Abrupt change of curriculum also is a problem..No inservice training for teachersw to meet the changes..what do you expect.

Calvin Marealle said...

WHO can realy point out the problems of education in TANZANIA?.
It seems that, all Tanzanians dont know so far the realy problems affecting our education setup, and finally effecting employment of the youth in and from Tanzania. Because we are avoiding the open discusions on the matter. Where are the problems policy? 2.Teachers education?3.Seriosness in this sector? 4. Students efforts and understanding?

Nicholaus msolla said...

for a long time we are still debating on which language to use as a media of instruction from kindergarten to university,while our country is dramatically rotting,as we see the result of form four 60% fished 0 on 2012-2013 which now are under politicians decision.i wish if i could have not been a Tanzanian, am feed-up with what is happening right now, with this they coal politicians.


Al of the problems mentioned are truly found in our country and education system but the problem basing on my understanding is in three side first is in administrative aspects there is no stable administrative in education second psychological some students they are already affected that they think that they are not able so this is the problem but last is the education system in general when i say education system it include teachers administration and government that they are not proper on thee arrangement of our education system since their son and daughter they send abroad to study

Marius mugyabuso said...

its the way that we Tanzanian chosen to follow, we chosen to follow the way of ignorance which we are being created by politicians.

regina mollel said...

I think we Tanzanians have to put more effort in this by committing ourselves towards knowing and learning english, also by encouraging others on it expecially our young brothers and sisters on the importance of English language to our economy.

Flip Jork said...

the discipline began to serve a very different function, and began to be used as a way to critically examine the scientific