Improving Successful Completion and Progression from Secondary Education to further study and into working life
Improving Successful Completion and Progression from Secondary Education to further study and into working life
Makombe, I. (PhD)
Director, Institute of Development Studies, Mzumbe University, Tanzania
Kihombo, A. (PhD)
Director, Research, Publications and Post Graduate Studies
Mzumbe University, Tanzania.
Education for All (EFA) agenda and Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) has created awareness among community members regarding the role of education in alleviating poverty and a big demand of building partnership for poverty reduction in Tanzania between educational and developmental sectors such as public and private sectors partnerships in achieving developmental goals is open. This paper reports on a study that was conducted in Morogoro Municipality and Kilosa District. Specifically the study objected to find out what happening nationally as a result of Secondary Education Development Programme (SEDP) in relation to completion and progression from secondary education to further study and into working life of the pupils. To identify stakeholders’ views on the danger that has been taking place and their views on key benefits and problems of SEDP. The study was pure qualitative and adopted appropriate qualitative research technique for data collection and analysis. The research sample comprised educational stakeholders from variety categories such as students, teachers, ward officials councilors, distinct and regional educational officers, local government officials, ministerial officials and officials from educational related NGOs. The findings indicated that stakeholders acknowledge and outlined many benefits from SEDP that are accompanied with many challenges at different levels. Suggestions were made on areas requiring improvement policy implications and area for further study spearhead.
Keyword: Secondary education, poverty reduction, students’ life and enrolment
Tanzania serves as a replica for neighboring countries due to its stability, good governance, poverty reduction strategies recent economic performance and sustained social cohesion (DFID, 2008, World Bank, 2006). The country had the lowest general enrolment rate in secondary education in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Its general enrolment rate was only 6% compared to 27 – 75% in comparable countries before the launch of SEDP in 2002 (UNESCO, 2005). Although the country has reached almost universal participations in primary education, an a achievement lauded as an international success (DFID, 2008) Since 2004, Tanzania has embarked on the most rapid secondary expansion programme in the region, driver by a combination of internal and external potential factors. Of these three stand out (Ndola, 2006). The first is the achievement of universal primary education participation. The primary Education Development plan (PEDP) 2002-2006, raised the enrolment rate in primary education from 59% in 2002 to 97% in 2007 (MoEVT, 2007). This has created a social demand and even an expectation of transition to secondary education (UNESCO, 2007). The second and third factors shaping expansion relate to the wider narratives about the positive role of secondary education in society more broadly. It is increasingly recognized as a phase in its own right that leads to greater opportunities in the labour market, rather than simply being a starting post on the way to higher education and is, therefore, politically a force for poverty reduction (Osaki, 2004). This research suggests that because of the low enrolment baseline in secondary education in Tanzania the primary force of this point in the SEDP appears to be what might be termed“internal expansion logic”. As Wedgwood (2007:388) adds, “The constructions of secondary schools by local communities, in the face of extensive poverty and limited government support is indicative of the high demand for secondary education”.
However, there is a question about the model of secondary education expansion in Tanzania, its pace and dynamics, how it is being played out at regional and local levels and particularly whether it will support or undermine efforts to reduce poverty and sustain social cohesion, already under strain due to economic liberalization (Heilman and Kaiser, 2002).
Background of the Study
The development of universal primary education in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has drawn widespread international support because of its perceived role in poverty reduction (UN, 2008). The expansion of secondary education in developing countries is now seen as a major priority due to its importance in linking primary education to tertiary education and further professional development as well as its role in responding to the demands of globalization and its potential to build skills for transforming livelihoods (World Bank, 2005; ADEA, 2007 and AHDD, 2007). Within SSA, Tanzania constitutes an increasing national case. The country is poor even by regional standards, having a GDP $350 per person (when this study was conducted), compared with SSA average of $746 (DFID, 2008). Development is even across the country and with regard to different indicators. A few districts have less than 15% of households below the basic needs poverty lines while in others the percentage may be as high as 60%(REPOA, 2005). But even some of the poorest districts have done very well in reducing under-five mortality rate or the net primary schools enrolment rate (URT, 2007, p.12).
In all countries education is considered a necessity from many perspectives. Firstly, from the economic perspective, it is a means to increased productivity and thus also a means to poverty reduction (URT, 2002 and Kagia, 1997). From the health perspective education, especially for girls is the most effective investment in reducing fertility levels (Kagia, 2007). From the overall socio-economic point of view, education is an investment in creating a competitive labour force that is important in attracting foreign investment. Yet other see education as a human right which everybody must have access to in increasing capacities of individuals to lead to the life they value and participate in all socio-economic life (UNESCO, 2005).
Inspite of the importance of education, statistics suggest that many developing countries especially in SSA are still faced with a number of challenges in enabling their people to realize these potentials. One of the challenges is the low enrolment rate at different levels of education. With this challenge, FAWE (2004a) adds “Half of the countries with NER of 60% and 80% are African”. A further 14 countries in SSA, have NER below 60%. In 1997, gross enrollment in primary schools in 22 selected African countries ranged from 23% in Mali to 89% in Nigeria. Of these, six had enrollments of less than 50%. Overall, as of 1997, gross enrollment in primary education in the SSA region was around 81% (FAWE, 2004b). These data portray that many of school-age-children in these countries still do not have access to primary education. On the other hand, dropout, reporting late among selected form one students, and low completion rate is another challenges. Kagia, (1997) cements that in SSA in the main; only about 50% of the school-age-children entering grade one reach the fifth grade. In this respect, the dropout rate in primary schools in some selected countries in 1998 ranged from 6% in Namibia to 47% in Swaziland. The fact is that not all school-age-children are in primary school in these countries complete primary education intended; dropout rate only exacerbates the challenge of the children no having access to basic education. Since a gender disparity still a challenge, the gap in access to education between boys and girls in this region is quite high (FAWE, 2004a; 2004b; Okoje et al, 1996). On the whole one setback towards gender equality in education arises from the existing low enrollment levels of primary levels that effect girls most than boys, with the main cause being attributed to poverty.
When it comes to resource allocation for education in most resource-constrained households in many African countries, boys are likely to be favoured resulting in more girls being out of school. The low completion rate take the next factor contributing to gender disparities among SSA countries that again affect more girls than boys. With such existing gender gaps, it is no wonder that the world commitment in the MDGs educational agenda is not merely attaining the EFA goals nor merely ensuring that every child in every country completes primary school by 2015, but also girls are enrolled at the same rate as boys in primary, secondary and post-secondary education by that year (Hoyle et al, 2007). Quality of education has been noted as one of the most hurdles for SSA to realize their MDG towards EFA. Quality of education is affected by poor learning environment arising from, for example, high pupil-teacher ratios, poorly trained teachers and poorly motivated teaching staff causing absenteeism are among other problems.
With specific regards to secondary education, Tanzania Education and Training Policy stressed not only its role in providing young people with knowledge, skills and preparation for further study and work, but also emphasized its importance in developing ‘national unity, identity, and ethics, personal integrity, respect for and readiness to work, human rights, cultural and moral values, customs, traditions, civic responsibilities and obligations’ (URT, 1995, p.6). Education policy in Tanzania is also complemented by and prioritized in related broader national strategies such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy (URT, 2000), the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (URT,2005b) and Tanzania Development Vision 2025 (URT, 2000). It should be noted that while the major focus of education policy since independence up to 1990s was to achieve Universal Primary Education; from 1990s the government embarked on the Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP) to shed the malfunction of Arusha Declaration particularly in Education for Self-Reliance. A Secondary Education Task Force was created in 1997, leading to eventually to the publication of Secondary Education Development Programme (SEDP). The SEDP was to be implemented in three five-year phases, the first phase spanned the years 2004-2009 with some achievement and hurdles.
It aimed to improve economic competitiveness, raise quality and retention in primary education, contribute to poverty reduction and deliver a range of wider social benefits, including the reduction of fertility and infant mortality rates and the effect of HIV/AIDS, as well as increasing social participation and democratization in society as a whole. In the main the SEDP is organized via five programme areas: improvement of access; equity improvement in relation to underserved areas, girls, the disabled and those with the lowest income; quality improvement in order to raise the pass rate of Division I-III; management reforms and devolution of authority on operational matters from national government to regional, district, ward and school levels of governance as a mean to reduce bureaucracy in decision-making, encourage community participation and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the system (MoEC, 2004, p.11) and lastly education management system improvement to make the Ministry more effective in policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation, regulation, co-ordination and the optimal use of resources.
As a result of SEDP 2004-2009 implementation, key policy measures taken includes a reduction in school fees; the allocation of more resources to under-served areas; the expansion of two stream schools into four-stream; the refurbishment of 100 government secondary schools; a curriculum reviews with a focus on the core subjects of Kiswahili, English, Mathematics, Civics, History, Biology, Geography and Physics with Chemistry in Form I and 2; an increase in the supply of teachers; expansion of open and distance learning; an increase in pupil capitation and strengthening of inspectorate. The aims, objectives, performance indicators and policy measures contained within the SEDP amount to a highly ambitious programme reform. Moreover, while some of the changes can be driven and funded by central government, considerable responsibility is placed on regions, districts, wards, schools boards and senior management teams in schools. It is this interaction and balance between the different levels of governance, all of which are necessary to achieve the outcomes of the SEDP, which forms the central concern of this paper.
There is a gap between policy text and policy implementation with many spaces for ‘mediation’ and ‘translation’ at all levels of governance (Bowe, et al, 1992; Malen and Knapp, 1997 and Coeffield et al, 2008) In Tanzania for instance, education policy operates under two national organizations: the Ministry of Educational and Vocational Training(MoEVT), which is in charge of the whole education system and responsible for policy formulation, regulation, setting standards and quality assurance mechanisms, and the Prime Minister’s Office of Regional Administration and Local Government (PMO-RALG), which is responsible for the day-to-day administration of education under decentralized system(URT, 2008). District and ward authorities, school boards and school senior management teams work within this structure at the local level.
In terms of increasing the number of schools at community level, ward secondary schools are built within a tripartite arrangement constituting central government planning under the SEDP, local government support, and community contribution. In practice, local communities at ward level are requested by central government to start the construction of new secondary school buildings up to the ‘lintel level’, before the central government releases its funds. Local communities are mobilized by their respective ward development committees under supervision of local government authorities and the construction of school buildings is undertaken by registered constructors. Placing secondary schools under PMO-RALG through management of District Educational Officers (DEO’s) is a recent change that has been necessitated by the large number of secondary schools built under the SEDP. However, it should be noted that things this changes has just started with the appointment of District Secondary Education Coordinators. From October 2008, very few issues concerning secondary schools teachers has been handled at district level, namely study leave, leave without pay, sick leave and annual leave. It envisaged that in future each will be having two DEO’s: one for primary schools and another for secondary schools.
Model of secondary education expansion under SEDP
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Source: Author’s conception
A key question is whether the SEDP since inception 2004 has improved the situation for more disadvantaged groups from the perspective of access, equity and quality. It possibly we still investigation at the levels below nationals statistics. There are distinct limits to what can be gleaned from national data and, by its nature; it might be three or four years between collection and publication. Furthermore, access inequalities are inter-and-intra-district (Dachi, 2006) and these need to be better understood on a more micro scale. In addition to that, the complex dynamics of secondary expansion as drawn in our model above might, for example, see improvement in some indicators but not others. For instance the increase in number of schools might provide greater access to secondary education, but challenges remain in quality and it might depress student completion rates, resulting in poor outcomes in return for the considerable sacrifices made by low income families.
In the main, the complexities and tensions of the SEDP within national, regional and local environments require a multi-level and multi-dimensional approach that cut-across all areas. An emerging national picture will tell one important story about the SEDP. However, given the ways in which the political sensitivities, complexities and contradictions of the SEDP are being played out regionally and locally, there is a need for research to capture the dynamic relationship between stages of reform, the mode of governance, the policy process and the interaction of different social groups within local areas or what we term ‘local ecologies’.
This multi-level approach also provides space to develop an action dimension as stakeholders are engaged to think about ways of improving the system at a local level where the majority are low income families. As part of this, a ‘research alliance’ is required in which national and international researchers seek to work alongside government and civil society organizations t all levels to increase capacity to understand the reform process and its impact in order to achieve both the economic and social goals desired and needed. Hereafter, it was learnt a study should be conducted to find out what happening nationally as a result of SEDP in relation to completion and progression from secondary education to further study and into working life of the pupils and also to investigate the stakeholder views on benefits and challenges of SEDP since its inception in 2004 so that others in SSA could benchmark some of the practices in improving their own plan, strategies and programme.
With regards to the character and balance of the Tanzania model of secondary education expansion, four issues stand out. First is the ability to retain and develop high quality provision in order to ensure successful leaner completion and progression to further study or to the labour market. Research point out to dangers of quality in education being sacrificed to quantity (AHDD, 2007, HakiElimu, 2007 and Osaki, 2004), of certain groups of learners remaining excluded and participation in secondary education not leading to the successful transitions to training, employment and higher education that produce individual and collective returns for learning.
Second, the needs of the disadvantaged have to be addressed, so that the expansion process does not leave them behind, widening gaps between social groups and execrating divisions between rural and urban areas (Wedgwood, 2007). These potential tensions are of particular interest in Tanzania because of its historical and current commitment to social cohesion (URT, 2000).
Third, there is a need for consideration of the relationship between secondary education and the economy in order to avoid credentials and disillusionment with the education system. It is estimated that the economy will have to grow by 10% annually. Compared with six percent currently (URT, 2005b; Afrol News, 2009), to provide the skills demand for secondary graduates at a time of demographic growth.
The fourth issue concerns the pace of change. Research point out to the importance of training sufficient numbers of secondary teachers and attracting them to under-served areas and the potential underutilization of secondary places if parents can not afford the fees required (Mungai, 2004), World Bank 2004; Osaki, 2004;Haki Elimu,2006. These tensions will have to be managed by national government working closely with local and regional partners to make SEDP a successful programme.
Statement of the problem
The government of Tanzania and international donors regard the SEDP as a major contributor to poverty reduction and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. However the degree to which SEDP meets the four challengers rose above is not clear. For example, while national statistics indicate rapid progress in the schools building programme and student’s enrolments, teacher supply and the provision of equipment remain problematic. In addition, questions have been raised about the differential impact of SEDP on regions and localities, that is how the plan is operating in different contexts under different local factors economic, social, political, cultural and organizational (Dachi, 2006). In comparison to these gaps, can SEDP still be a tool to prepare pupils to higher education as well as into working life through which finally poverty reduction can be achieved? What are stakeholders’ views especially of the grassroots level about the impact of SEDP? Do they see SEDP as retaining and providing quality of education needed to address poverty issues of this country? Is SEDP widening or bridging up social gaps i.e. between poor and rich; urban and rural being; agriculturalist and pastoralists? What could generally be, missing is SEDP? Are stakeholders’ satisfied with the pace of change in implementing SEDP?
Objectives of the Study
This study was specifically aimed to:
-Find out what is happening nationally as a result of SEDP in relation to completion and progression from secondary education to further study and working life of the pupils
-To find what is happening locally in Kilosa and Morogoro in relation to the above.
-To identify stakeholders’ views on the changes that have been taking place and their views on key benefits and problems of SEDP.
-To explore views about appropriate strategies to tackle these problems
-To share research evidence about perceptions, practice, and strategies in Tanzania based on these experiences and build research-led stakeholder networks in further implementation of the SEDP in Kilosa and Morogoro
Significance of the Study
This study is important for number of reasons. First it examines the relationship between national policy and local implementation as well as the dynamic interaction of educational, social, developmental and economic factors in order to find out the effects of the SEDP on the life chances of young people and how finally SEDP can become a tool towards poverty reduction. Second, the study has recognized the importance of forging research partnerships between developed and less developed countries in addressing poverty through improved implementation of their education systems. Third the study also recognizes the necessary of local knowledge and interpretations to ensure that account is taken of Tanzania past history, past policy and practice. Fourth, findings of his study will be useful for policy makers locally, nationally and internationally.
This study employed a qualitative research approach to collect data and data were analyzed descriptively, using graphs, tables and histograms for these that were quantitative. Analysis of qualitative data was based on themes deriving from the research questions or issues addressed in the quantitative data. In this study, data were gathered to learn as much as possible about contextual variables that might have a bearing on the case. This paper is based on the study that was conducted in Morogoro Municipality and Kilosa District in Morogoro Region, central eastern Tanzania. The selection was based on the fact that Kilosa District represents rural areas and Morogoro Municipality for urban setting.
The target population of this study consisted secondary school students (160) parents (60), headmasters (20), teachers (60), ward officials (20), school Board Chairpersons (20), VETA college principal (2) VETA teachers (20) , VETA students (4) DEO’s (2) Municipal Director / DEO (2) DES coordinators (2) and REO (1). To explore what is happening locally and nationally as a results of SEDP on relation to completion and progression from secondary education into further study and into working life of the pupils, a research design was constructed that incorporated multiple methods. A combination of several data collection methods were used for this study that are semi-structured interview, focus group discussions, documentary review and observations.
Semi-structured interviews constituted the major data collection method. All categories of interviewed used this method. The interview was bilingual in nature, conducted in both Swahili language and English depending on the interviewees’ case and conflict with a particular language. Each category had a specific semi-structured interview instrument, depending on the need. Parents views were obtained through focus group discussion Documentary review was done by going through various kinds of schools reports and policy documents of the MoEVT and council. Since the students were interviewed from Kilosa and Morogoro Municipality. The following research questions addressed in this paper that also shed the light to help structure interview questions:
-What are stakeholders’ views on the impact of SEDP in so far as preparing pupils into further education or working life as concerned?
-What are the current problems facing SEDO implementation?
-What are the appropriate strategies to improve the performance of SEDP?
Besides that, the researchers conducted a number of observations such as students and classroom observations of the teaching and learning process; observations of teachers in the staffroom; general observations of the school building special services; school library, teaching aids room. These observations were carried out to get a complete picture of the school’s physical and cultural-set-up. The research also looked into a number of relevant schools documents such as academic reports, leadership structure school action plan, examination results, teachers work experiences and academic qualification.
Results and Discussion
This study examines the views of stakeholders on the impact of the SEDP on completion and progression from secondary education into further education or working, life pupils who are in secondary schools in Tanzania. It comprised 396 interviewed stakeholders from Kilosa and Morogoro Municipality. The results of the study are presented in two aspects i) what happening nationally and ii) what happening locally.
What happening nationally.
- Number of schools
There is a marked increase in the number of secondary schools in country in which, starting 2004, Researchers noted a marked increase of 280 secondary schools from 1083 to 1, 291 in 2004, a rise of 19%. Form 2004-2008, the rise in the number of schools was drastic. A total number of 2,507 were built, being a rise of 194%. Government schools took the largest share. Trends show that, this rise continues for both government and non government schools through the speed for non-government schools is by far lower than that of government schools (BEST, 2008, P.59).
- Trends in form one enrolment
An increase level of form one enrolment some how reflects what was happening with the number of schools between 1999and 2008. The number of schools had risen by 19% between 2003 and 2004, form one enrolment rose by almost 48%, implying enrolment surpassed the capacity of the schools sufficiently accommodate the rising number of pupils whereas the number of schools rose by 194% between 2004 and 2008, form one enrolment increased by 198% from 147,470 to 438, 901, supposedly again surpassing schools’ capacity to accommodate enrolled pupils (BEST, 2004; 2007; and 2008). Generally, form one enrolment trends are showing a big change soon after the inception of SEDP, in which case, without it most likely the intake of pupils to secondary schools would have been increasing at a far much lower pace. When the Acting Director of Secondary Education of the MoEVT was asked about the progress of SEDP among other things, he said that access to education has increased such that in 2008 almost 1.5 Million students were enrolled in secondary schools. He went on to say that the net enrolment ratio has improved from 9% to 30% while the transition rate has improved from 20% to 50%. He also added that gender equity has improved a lot and young people from low income families have had more access to secondary education.
- Trends in number of teaching staff
Matching trends in the enrolment of form one alongside increase in the number of school was important if the intended goals of SEDP were to be achieved smoothly. There study shows that there is in consistence between enrolment of pupils on the demand side and employment of teachers, on the supply side. Comparing was happening with form one enrolment, the number of teaching staff remained just far below what was static. While enrolment of pupils rose by 22.2% in 2005, change in the supply of teachers was only by 14.4%.
- Trends in teacher-student ratio
Variation between increasing number of pupils that were enrolled in form one vis-à-vis the relatively low increase in the number of teaching staff could not go without negative implications on the teacher-student ratio. Form 1999 to 2003, teacher-student ratio was almost static, rising by only 2 points form 1:19 in 1999 to 1:21 in 2002. However, a sharp increase started being experienced in 2006 when a teacher had to bear more burden of handling 29 students, after which it short to 37 in 2008. The study shows that teacher-student ratio had changed from 1:20 to cover 1:40 in 2008 due to increased student enrolment under SEDP. It is important to note that lower number of teachers and teacher student- ratios have implications on the quality of education.
- Performance in division
If community schools were poor in scoring better grades, then it means they were leading in scoring poor grades conversely, seminaries were the least in scoring division four, implying they had very few pupils in these classifications. Interviewed replied that there was no great improvement and exhibited the low performance to various constraints such as truancy absenteeism, pregnancies, lack of researchers and low morale on the part of teachers.
- Benefits and challenges of SEDP
When asked about the benefits of SEDP, interviewees replied increased access to secondary education; increased awareness on the importance of education, increased in teaching and learning, aterials, reduction in distance from homes to schools and increased transition rate. One interviewee pointed out increase of students in schools and employment while four of them mentioned the increase in the number of schools. Interviewees from the Tanzania Employment Services Agency (TAESA) pointed out increased enrolment even in remote areas; creation of employment opportunities and increase of access to education for children from poor families; devolution of authority to local authorities; reduction of fees and increased enrolment for girls as well as improved facilities for the disabled were all mentioned one.
As far the challenges of SEDP was concern, interviewees identified the following: shortage of teachers, shortages of laboratories, lack of staff house, negative attitude from the community, negative relationship between education leaders and the people as well as negative relationship between members of parliament (MPs) and teachers. One interviewee from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Youth Development mentioned transport problems, lack of books libraries as well as lack of special schools as challenges of SEDP. Officials from TAESA pointed out lack of qualified teachers three times whole poor working environment discourages teachers mentioned twice. Other challenges worth mentioned are: unequal allocation of qualified teachers; SEDP is not well understood at community level; and form I students joining schools at different times of the term and lastly, SEDP emphasizes local perspective. The Acting Director of the Foundation for Civil Society, said that the main challenge of SEDP was how to ensure that the necessary learning environment was in place that is mobilizing resources necessary for building a sound education system
What was happening locally?
The overall impact of SEDP on student’s performance and trends in the expansion of secondary schools in the two districts of study and trends in form one enrolment were examined. We consider these trends as an outcome of SEDP whereby SEDP inception became the main input. Next, locally we explore stakeholders’ perception on the benefits of SEDP. We then look at schools’ efforts in preparing pupils to progress to higher education and into working life in which various aspects including screening mechanisms, teacher-pupils relationship, and the assistance and guidance pupils received. To emphasize, schools efforts are regarded as an important ingredient for pupils’ transition to higher education and into working life.
- Trends in expansion of secondary education
Data from the District Secondary Education Coordinator of Kilosa showed that by the beginning of 2009 when this study was conducted, the district had 42 schools compared to only five in 2004 when SEDP started, which were Dakawa, Kilosa, Mazinyungu, Msolwa and Mkono wa Mara. This was an impressive rise in that period of time. In Morogoro Municipality the same trend is depicted. According to the DSEO, which in 2004 the Municipality had only 4 public secondary schools, by 2008 it had 23; that were an incredible rise. As for private secondary schools, the Municipality had 10 secondary schools in 2004 while by 2008 the number had increased to 14; an increase of 14%. When asked about the implementation and progression of the SEDP, in the Region, the REO replied that it was progressing very well. She elaborated by saying that secondary schools had increased from 38 in 2004 to 192 in 2009 out of which 152 were government schools. She added that enrollment in secondary schools had increased from 19,558 in 2004 to 59, 159 in 2009. However, the REO concluded by adding that the main task ahead was how to raise the quality of education provided.
- Trends in form one enrolment
Trends in form one in Kilosa District shows that despite the fluctuations since inception of SEDP, the enrolment in two secondary schools (under the SEDP) has remained high over the years, with a possibility of an upward trend beyond 2009. Even if there are fewer girls than boys enrolled, their numbers have proportionately been increasing. One question that need to asked to be answered in the looking at the contribution of SEDP is what could have happened to these pupils had these schools not been established? The number of students enrolled from 2004 t0 2009 in one of school in Kilosa built under SEDP was 661 of which boys were 370 and girls 291.
Stakeholders views on the benefits of SEDP
The views from the stakeholders were centered on the following SEDP’s contributions: increased enrolment, increased awareness of community people in education and rising demand for education; SEDP’s contribution to gain of knowledge of those going through it; employment creation brought about by the program; SEDP’s role in preventing joblessness and early marriages among youth, its contribution to marginalized groups such that they also had access to education, and increased attention to secondary school teachers’ challenges through decentralization of secondary school administration to local governments.
- Increased enrolment of form one
All interviewees acknowledged the increased enrolment in the form one as a result of SEDP despite its challenges. However few interviewees had negative views about SEDP because of the problems facing the SEDP. Data from the respondents with positive views of the SEDP showed that the most leading benefit, which could be considered as an impact of this program was increased enrolment of children who would otherwise not have the opportunity of joining secondary education. From one of the FDG’s, a participant in Kilosa was quoted saying “SEDP is very good. At least we have more children who obtain secondary education; that is, more students have room to acquire secondary education now”. On this also, a headmaster from one of the schools in Kilosa commented, “As a result of this, the number of pupils who join secondary schools has increased by more than 60%”. To add to this, headmaster in Morogoro said, “With many schools in place now, many and almost all deserving pupils get admissions to form one”. One of Ward Education Coordinator in Kilosa point out that, SEDP greatly reduced the pressure on the demand for secondary education, because expansion of secondary education has quenched the thirst of parents for their children’s education in rural areas.
This expansion was firstly facilitated through increased construction of secondary schools and classes that provided room for them, as one respondents in Kilosa remarked, “Many secondary schools have been built as result of SEDP and it is through this that our children have gained more access to education” Secondly, increased enrolment was facilitated through the schools getting closer to communities, resulting in reduced travel distance, which was formerly a barrier to majority of children coming from low income families in reaching distant schools for lack of fare. An academic master in one of the schools in Kilosa district added “Secondary schools have now been brought closer to the communities making it easier for everyone to seek education instead of having to travel long distances, which was a major limiting factor for the rural poor”. Indeed, currently, many of the school seem to be situated within a relatively walking distance of many pupils though still in several places a good number of them were coming as far as 7-15 km away from these schools.
Growth in the enrolment of pupils in secondary schools was also facilitated by lowered pass-rate resulting from increase in the number of schools that had been opened. On this Ward Educational Coordinator in Morogoro and a headmaster in Kilosa noted that while in the previous time only those pupils scoring above 250 out of 500 points of primary education leaving examination would be the one joining secondary education, today , secondary schools are admitting even those scoring as low as 100 points out of 500. In the same line, a school board member in Kilosa adds “There are now more chances to secondary education for qualified pupils who formerly were left out because of limited number of schools”. A majority of the schools being day schools (20 schools) meant that their fees were cheaper than boarding schools. This was another benefit the stakeholder saw, especially with regard to the rural poor. Supporting this view, a teacher in Morogoro put it “expanding schools in rural areas has facilitated the poor accessing education at low cost, so the program has greatly helped low-income people manage sending their children to secondary schools”
- Awareness and gain in knowledge
Stakeholders’ views indicate that in SEDP, increased enrolment in secondary schools was not an end in itself instead; they saw the benefits of this program as having to do with increased awareness on the need for education by community people and an opportunity for the learner to gain knowledge. In a discussion with one of the DEO’s in Kilosa, it was reported that prior to SEDP, very few parents had interest in pushing their children to do better in school. But most probably due to increased possibility of children accessing secondary education, more parents were now eager to see them do better and join secondary schools. “We could say that previous to SEDP parents as ell as children had despaired. The chances for children being selected to form one were very narrow with SEDP, these chances have widened up have brought hope to the community. There is now more awareness on secondary education and we are seeing that its demand has by and large increased”, she said. Generally, increased awareness was something noted by quite a number of stakeholders in this study.
Additionally stakeholders’ views suggest that the benefits of increased access to secondary education were not limited to having a child join a school but to have an opportunity to gain knowledge, as the following responses show. “Formerly, most of our children were ending with STD VII education we now have form four leavers in our rural areas”, a Ward Education Officer said in Kilosa, just as another in Morogoro added, “As result of SED, more Tanzanians have secondary education”. An academic master in one of the schools in Morogoro noted: “wit secondary education ignorance in reduced. The education attained through this program will help illiteracy”. As previously noted, stakeholders did not see increased enrolment of pupils an end in itself but rather as a step in gaining useful knowledge which would be those going through it in elevating them and their country’s development, as one headmistress in Kilosa optimistically expressed: “with increased education opportunities, we are likely to have enough scientists in the long run. We want to have our own people who make salary electricity; we want to have our own people who will produce TVs”. A lesser optimistic view of the role of SEDP to its graduates but which was still along the headmistress’s perception was that of exposing learners to knowledge that could make them self-reliant in managing their own projects. According to this respondent, form four leavers were more likely to manage their own projects better than STD VII leavers.
- SEDP and employment creation
Interestingly, the benefits of SEDP seemed to go beyond gains in enrolment and knowledge in education. A good number of respondents through that SEDP had also contributed to employment creation, as one headmistress in Kilosa said she would not have become a headmistress without SEDP that had increased the number of secondary schools and hence such chances. Increased number of secondary schools meant that more teachers were to be trained and employed. “We might say a good number of form six leavers have been absorbed as teachers. Without SEDP, they probably could be jobless”, one of the headmasters in Kilosa remarked. Not only that, but for one Municipal Councilor in Morogoro, expansion of secondary education created employment opportunities for contractors of the school buildings and materials supplier in these schools. We can generally say that these were spill-over effects of this program.
- SEDP and prevention of joblessness and early marriages
Another unintended benefits (which can also be called spill-over-effects) of the SEDP were the schools acting as a means of preventing joblessness for the youths by letting them grow and increase their maturity in the four years they would be school. This also helps keep the would-be Standard VII leavers away from involving themselves in drugs, and in early marriages, especially for girls. “The school are like a growing place for them”, one of the DEO’s in Kilosa observed.
- Decentralization and increased attention of secondary teachers
The other benefit stakeholders saw was the decentralization of the administration of secondary at district level. Because of the growing number of teachers resulting from expansion of secondary schools under SEDP, it becomes obvious that the direct administration of teachers by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training was becoming increasingly difficult. The decision to decentralize the administration of secondary schools was thus of major benefits to the teachers. It observed that formerly, some of the teachers stayed for 20 years without getting promoted. This is because the Ministry was overwhelmed by the number of teachers and other issues; and the time they pent queuing teachers had to travel to make a follow up to such issues and the time they pent queuing to see an officer for several days without success, most teachers just despaired. Today, teachers are staring to get their promotions without hassle. We see an important outcome of SEDP. Teachers do not have to travel long distances for their issues to be resolved. The data indicate that in secondary schools now, there is a District Education Coordinators and some responsibilities concerning secondary school have been delegated to the District Councils. For example, if a teacher needs a loan from financial institution such as a bank, she/he can get it through the District.
- Introduction of “special” schools
The SEDP in relation to expansion of secondary schools within the study area, something new experienced by researchers, that was what labeled “special”. A Ward Education Coordinator in Kilosa commenting on the benefits of the program in ensuring that the neglected groups also have access to education observed, “As a result of SEDP, we now have a special school exclusively for the marginalized group: the livestock keepers”.
Efforts to prepare pupils progress to higher education or to working life
The efforts and various mechanisms used by schools in preparing pupils to progress further into education or into working life were explored. We first examine the screening processes. Next, we explore teacher-pupil relationship. It is important to note here that the efforts by schools are an input in the process of preparing these pupils while progression into further education or into working life is the outcome of these efforts.
Various efforts undertaken by schools to curb vulnerability:
- Screening process
Essentially, preparation of pupils so that they progress into further education or into working life started with class exercises, homework assignments, mid – term tests, term tests, and annual tests in what is generally called continuous assessment. Such preparations have been in place long before the inception of SEDP. In some schools remedial classes were added along with these efforts for pupils requiring extra tuition, which again was not a feature introduced by SEDP but something that had been in existence for quite sometime. Remedial and tutorial classes for the schools that reported to be them were carried out during evening hours (4-6pm) or during weekends. Generally, there were three factors limiting remedial classes in the schools, according to one headmistress in Kilosa. Scarcity of teachers: distance on the part of both teachers and pupils (as some of them came as far as 15km); and fees, as extra tuition in most cases had to be charged.
Another landmark in preparing pupils across all schools was the form-two exam. Initially, the exam was intended to screen pupils at form-two level and make those who could not make it to reset. However, recently, the exam has been abolished. According to one headmistress in Kilosa, the whole purpose of setting up form-two exam seemed counterproductive in that what would happen to pupils who failing at that stage was not established. From such grounds, it became apparent it had to be abolished. In practice through, the exam still continues being administered and many schools have termed it a ‘mock exam’ which is an important gauge for pupils’ performance through with little impact on those failing. In spite of that, if really form two exam was to be taken seriously in screening pupils so that those failing were discontinued from school, the pass rate in most schools visited was 70-80%, implying around 20-30% would not be continuing to form three.
The fact this exam was abolished, teachers felt it weakened the performance of the schools when it came to form four examinations. One teacher in Kilosa described such a situation of letting pupils go without screening them as “bora liende” implying, just let everything go”, which he said was detrimental to the education system. Most probably it was out of such feeling that schools were trying to maintain this exam at any cost, even if it did not bar a pupil from transiting to form three. But again, the question is, suppose there was serious screening at that level, was there any policy specifying what would happen to those that did not make it? From this analysis, it is apparent that the abolition of this exam was not because it was not an important exam, but rather it lacked policy to clarify on the fate of those that were screened.
From these data, it is evident that schools are doing their best to maintain education standards. However, generally speaking, all efforts in preparing pupils seem to be concentrated on ensuring pupils pass their exams and progress to higher education with little emphasis on those that would go to working life. There wasn’t any school that reported preparing the pupils through field work or practical work, as one teacher in Morogoro put it, Tests, examinations and supervised homework are probably the best criteria to prepare and screen students” and a headmaster from one of the schools in Kilosa added: “Students are screened according to their ability in class and their performance in the final examination|”. A headmaster from another school in Kilosa put it succinctly well tat when their pupils were to sit for their form two or form four exams they provided remedial classes by peer coaching them from January to December!
- Pupils views on classrooms (availability and adequacy)
About 88% of the pupils in Kilosa were satisfied with the availability and adequacy of the classrooms while in Morogoro, 75% were. Why pupils from Kilosa ranked their situation of classrooms higher when in actual fact rural areas are more underserved than urban areas could be a question of perception. The fact rural children are not exposed to higher standards of living, anything to them is good. But for the urban pupils, whose classrooms could be better than those of Kilosa, their perception could always be lower because of the higher standards they are used to. Nevertheless, pupils’ satisfaction of their classrooms was an important factor in determining their feelings and conformability of their learning environment.
- Availability and adequacy of laboratory
On the availability of labs, it was obvious; pupils n Kilosa could not in any way have ranked it high in spite of their less exposure to what a standard lab is. Only 29% of them said the labs were available and adequate when those from Morogoro were 50% (n= 105). Among those saying labs were sufficiently available. A good number of them were from government schools with long establishment. For example, only 23% of the pupils from ward secondary schools in Morogoro considered the labs available and sufficient compared to 77% of them who said they were not conversely, 70% pupils from government schools with long establishment said the labs were available and sufficient as opposed to only 30% who did not agree to this. In Kilosa, only 8% of the pupils from ward secondary considered the lab situation as good when 92% said it was not. But with government secondary schools with long establishment, 100% of them of the view that their schools were equipped with enough labs
- Availability and adequacy of library
Generally, availability of library was ranked low by pupils from both districts: 14% of them from Morogoro saying it was good while in Kilosa were only 29%. As one would guess, ward secondary schools were ranked lower than government schools with long establishment: 86% of the ward secondary school pupils saying the situation was bad compared to 51% from government schools in Morogoro. In Kilosa 82% of the pupils from ward secondary schools said the service was bad while from government schools those saying it were bad were 38%.
- Availability and adequacy of learning materials
Interestingly, situation of learning materials was ranked equally between pupils from Morogoro and those from Kilosa: 41% and 41% ranking them as good, respectively while those ranking them as bad were 59% from each side. As usual, ward secondary schools were ranked lower than government schools with long establishment. For example, pupils’ saying the situation of learning materials was bad from ward secondary schools in Morogoro were 78%, those from Kilosa were 72%, with government schools being ranked higher: 67% saying it was good from Morogoro, and 76% from Kilosa.
- Availability and adequacy of ICT materials
Availability and adequacy of ICT materials were labeled bad by 73% of the students from Morogoro and by 81% of the students from Kilosa. Again, ward secondary schools were ranked worse than government schools with long establishment: 78% of ward schools from Morogoro compared to 63% for government and 90% for wards schools in Kilosa versus 67% government.
- Availability and adequacy of other facilities
There did not seem to much difference in the way availability and adequacy of other services were ranked from the schools of the two districts, all saying situation was good by only 36% from Morogoro schools and 33% from Kilosa, implying the situation was perceived as not impressive by the majority of the pupils. As usual, ward secondary schools were ranked lower than government schools.
- Teacher-student relationship
Teacher-student relationship was ranked highly that it was good from both districts: 96% of the pupils from Morogoro and 94 of the pupils from Kilosa. Something interesting occurred here. For the first time, ward secondary schools ranked higher than government secondary schools: 97% for ward secondary schools in Morogoro compared to 93% in government schools and 97% for ward secondary schools in Kilosa, against 86% from government schools.
- Individual assistance from teachers
For this variable we see a lot of similarity with that teacher – student relationship in which it was ranked highly by students from both districts: 99% of the pupils from Morogoro and 91% of the pupils from Kilosa. In Morogoro, 100% of the pupils from ward schools ranked individual assistance as good compared to 93% of the pupils from ward schools ranked individual assistance as good compared to 93% of the pupils from government schools. On the contrary, in Kilosa, government schools ranked higher by 100% of the pupils compared to 87% of the pupils from ward schools. These results are consistent with that has been argued elsewhere in this report. The limiting factor for extra tuition in rural schools were scarcity of teachers, distance which both the teachers and the students had to travel, and the fees. In urban areas, the situation is slightly different. Most students are closer to the schools and can afford extra fees when needed.
- Usefulness of the subjects
Here also we do not see much variation between pupils from the two districts in the way they ranked the usefulness of the subjects they were taking, with 96% of them from Morogoro saying the subjects were useful and 92% of the pupils from Kilosa also being in agreement. It goes without saying why slightly fewer rural pupils should not see the subjects as useful: many rural pupils are not transiting smoothly to higher education or working life as their counterparts in the urban areas! In which case, they could have equal ranking of the usefulness of the subjects if they had equal opportunities when they complete school. There was not much variation in the way ward and government schools were ranked in this aspect: 97% of the pupils from ward secondary schools in Morogoro versus 100% of them from government schools and 88% of the pupils from ward secondary schools in Kilosa, as opposed to 100% from government.
- Teachers expertise
The way teachers’ expertise was ranked did not differ much between the two districts 96% of the pupils in Morogoro seeming teachers as having adequate expertise and 93% of the pupils from Kilosa. Of course, there is a small difference of 3% here which is explained by the fact that Morogoro Municipality was likely to have better teachers than Kilosa, which was rural. At that juncture, this also explains for the variation of pupil performance from the two districts, with Morogoro having a higher performance. It was evidenced that government schools will always tend to have better teachers because of many factors: they have accommodation for teachers and most of them are not so remotely situated, with very few teachers being likely to refuse being posted there.
- Career guidance
Career guidance was not ranked highly as teacher-student relationship or usefulness of the subjects, with 82% of the pupils from Morogoro being in agreement and 69% of the pupils from Kilosa, suggesting that there was a possibility for pupils not to receive though career guidance from many of these schools.
- Important outcome variables of SEDP
As mentioned before, the screening process, the classroom situation, availability of labs, library, teaching materials as well as teachers’ expertise, teacher- student relationship, assistance provided to students, and career guidance, all constitute major inputs in preparing pupils to continue with higher education or join working life. We now explore some of the outcome variables in this process though the link between these inputs and the outcome variables we examine may not be very direct in some cases.
Throughout the schools that were visited, data on progression one class to another were really difficult to get and where they were available, their reliability was somehow questionable. For that matter, we present only one case from one of schools in Kilosa whose data were consistently available for all classes and throughout the year. The data available portrayed a decline in progression of the students that were enrolled in form one from 96 to 38 between 2004 t0 2007, implying only 40% of the pupils from this intake managed to reach from form four. On the other hand, in 2004 total of 134 form one students enrolled, those managed to reach form four were 95 only suggesting that almost 71% of the students in this batch managed to reach form four. The data hint in mind that progression rate in as far as students moving from one class to another goes might not be that gloomy after all, signaling increased awareness on the need for education to our youths.
Conclusion and Policy Implication
Based on the research findings conclusions and the following recommendations were made. The findings of the study show a very rapid and big increase in secondary education expansion through the construction of ward secondary schools in Tanzania under the SEDP from 2004 to 2009. This expansion in secondary education has resulted into increased enrolment in Form one and in secondary education in general both at local and national levels. This has been partly because most such schools are within walking distance from students’ homes. Findings reflect some disparity between urban and rural settings. The findings show that stakeholders see many benefits of SEDP. These include the physical increase in number of secondary schools, employment creation, raising awareness about the importance of secondary education, enabling young people from low income families and the disabled to have access to secondary education as well as raising gender parity in access to education.
The findings indicated the challenges associated with SEDP, which includes shortage of desks, shortage of science teachers, lack of science laboratories, lack of libraries and teacher houses, lack of transport and many more of this nature. As far as education concern, all these challenges touch on the issue of quality as opposed to quantity. The findings also show that the education system does not prepare young people for working life thereby making them to have little or no prospects in the labour market. Basing on the findings of the study, the following policy implications are made: there is a need of putting more emphasis on technical secondary education to impart practical skills in young people; more realistic implementation of education programmes is required in order to ensure quality in the provision of education and decentralization by devolution not withstanding, adequate funding for education is necessary. In subsequent research studies the following questions are suggested to be addressed firsts: why is secondary education expansion through ward secondary schools allowed to continue while available data show that quality is poor? Whose children enroll in ward secondary schools and what are the implications for the nation?
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