Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Weekly Sneak: It Takes a Lot of People to Kill an Education System

It is tough to wake up in the morning wondering what amazing abdication of responsibility my government is going to get up to on any given day. In addition to whatever other sublimely ridiculous thing it has concocted. By now I am sure you've heard the news about the disastrous results of our 2012 Form IV National Examinations. A failure rate of 60% is an amazing achievement in itself. The author of this event- the Government of Tanzania- is purporting to investigate what happened. 

As if this happened overnight. As if they don't know. As if our public education system hasn't been going down the drain for years now, right in plain sight. As if they had no hand in it. 

All these years of paying lip service! "Blah blah blah, we care about education, blah blah, knowledge society blah blah..." Finally here is a shock that they can't sweep under the rug nor bury in some document that no one is allowed to read. Once the investigation is done, the commission will have to release it's findings. It's going to take a beating if it doesn't tell the truth about all the problems facing the  education sector, and the way in which corruption has played a major role in killing it off. Not just the money- absenteeism, shoddy work, constantly ignoring warning signs, bad "solutions" to pressing problems like how to increase enrollment... bad, bad governance.

In the tradition of scape-goating, we're already apportioning blame. I don't find this particularly useful and I think that resignation-by-rote is silly especially since it only affects politicians. What we need to do is hold the civil servants to account, and all the institutions that are involved- not just the highly visible Ministry of Education.  
"Anyone who calls themselves a school inspector, front of the line. Yes, in front of Dr. Kawambwa. Shame on you. Procurers of things for Secondary Schools: where were the textbooks and supplementary reading, hm? The laboratory equipment? Stand right behind those school inspectors.  We’re going to build us a bonfire! Just because the biggest log is the formerly glorious political party that has presided over the death of education doesn’t mean we don’t need kindling."

3 comments:

  1. It also seems like the pass rate dropped from 60% to 40% in ONE YEAR which is pretty amazing in itself.

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    1. Hey Dr. Bob. So, how do you feel about this as a teacher yourself? Nice work on the resolution, by the way. Might just earn yourself a gold star. But it's only February and too early to tell. #continuous assessment ;)

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  2. Resignation-by-rote may have its limitations. But the ability to fire people on a day-to-day basis, rather than building the big allegorical bonfire once in a blue moon is what is needed. That needs a culture change, but it needs to start at the top. JK needs to demonstrate that ministers at PSes who fail to deliver on agreed targets get the chop, and so on down the chain. An overhaul of labour laws might also be useful. Alas I see little of this happening any time soon.

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