AFRICANGLOBE – The Tanzania Ministry of Education and Vocational Training has opted against the use of English as the medium of instruction in a bid to revolutionize the country’s primary and secondary education.
The brazen new policy seeks to ensure that Kiswahili becomes the new lingua franca in Tanzanian schools, along with other changes that were launched by President Jakaya Kikwete last week. These include free education at primary and secondary levels, extending basic education from seven years to eleven, and abolishing national examinations for primary school graduates.
President Kikwete stated, during the launch of the policy in Dar es Salaam, that the new course of action was in line with Vision 2025 and takes into account global, social, economic and technological changes. “In the next seven years, we will have built capacity whereby every child who starts Standard One will reach Form Four.”
According to a report by Tanzanian newspaper The Citizen, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, Prof Sifuni Mchome said the new education system will incorporate vocational education in the basic education syllabus. This way students who do not make it to Form Five have skills to contribute to the development of the country.
Lessons in secondary and tertiary institutions have been in English all this time, but many children have been unable to go beyond primary school as they were unprepared for their English tests and failed. At the secondary school level, most children and many teachers lacked competency with the medium of instruction, especially in a confederation of over 120 language groups. This audacious move could be the answer to the communication gap in the learning process.
The only downside to this is the fact that the process will take decades. The new system will not take root immediately because extensive preparations will have to be carried out before English is phased out.
By: Felicia Omari Ochelle