The growing demand of secondary education in Tanzania

A missing link to quality

Essay 2012 25 Pages

Pedagogy - Job Education, Occupational Training, Further Education


Table of Contents



What is Secondary Education?

What is Secondary School?

What is Education?

What is quality?

In the context of education what does quality mean?

What is Quality Education?

Why focus on Quality?

Factors which influence Education Quality:

Other attributes of Quality Education:

Reasons for Expansion of Secondary Schools in Tanzania:

Key policy Challenges:

Policy challenge one: Establish clear targets

Policy challenge two: Focus on outcomes, not inputs

Policy challenge three: Teachers and teacher support over infrastructure

Policy challenge four: measuring success

Policy challenge five: language of instruction

Way forward:



The growing demand of secondary education in Tanzania: A missing link to quality


This paper is about the growing demand of secondary education in Tanzania and it shows a blink of a missing link to quality. It further defines the overlooked terms by many such as education quality and quality it self. It defines education and what a secondary school education mean and it tresses the growths of education in Tanzania. Just as preferred by (Samra and Rajan, 2006) in most cases in the context of this work primary and secondary education are treated together, because they are inextricably linked in so many ways, and because success at the secondary level is fundamentally dependent on getting the basics right at the primary level. In its briefest sense the work is divided into introduction, discussion of different factors influencing education quality in the context of Tanzania and it provides way forward to curb the withering factors to quality education and its conclusion is made forth.

Keywords: growing demand, secondary education, quality


The major aim of giving education to all Tanzanians is to provide them with a concrete and reliable basis for a self-reliant life. The education that can be guaranteed to all in Tanzania is primary education. Since independence in 1961, education has always been seen as the core of national development, although rapid expansion-especially of primary schools-came after the 1974 Universal Primary Education (U.P.E.) programme (Chonjo, 1994). Historically, immediately after independence in Tanzania, there were different measures undertaken by the government to provide education to Tanzanians, there was Act number 37 which stopped and cleared the religious and racial discrimination in education, whereby the syllabus were reformed to be one and all people were made accessible to education without racial and religious discrimination (Ishumi, 1978). Unfortunately, more emphasis was directed towards primary education as indicated by Universal Primary Education (UPE) of 1974 and Primary Education Development Program (PEDP) of 2001. For many years Secondary Education in Tanzania has received very little attention from the government in particular in terms of allocation of resources for expansion and secondary education served the purpose of producing manpower for different public services.

Following the above move, it has been noticed that very little was done to expand secondary education. Therefore several administrative and managerial decisions were however taken to waive school fees in 1964, also introduction of quarter system in 1964 to eradicate education disparities inherited from colonial legacy and the diversification and vocationalization of secondary education in 1973. Generally, secondary education has enjoyed little support from the government however from mid 1980s there has been a rapid expansion of secondary education like high enrolment, increase of structures like more schools and building of more classes (Chonjo, 1994). The proliferation of many schools is manifested in the establishment of community schools popularly know as ‘Shule za Kata’ (community schools).

In connection to the above trend, it is at this very beginning conceived that the act of the Tanzanian government to establish many schools especially the community secondary schools popularly known as “shule za kata” is particularly equated to the act of “homeostasis”. It was first coined as milieu intérieur meaning homeostasis by a French physiologist Claude Bernard.

According to Cannon, (1929) Homeostasis describes the organism’s tendency to maintain an optimal level of physiological requirement by attempting to restore any deviation from the optimal condition. It is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition of properties like temperature (Wikipedia, 2012). For example an animal like a dog when feels hot it always flicks out the tongue because of natural temperature balance of its body. From this act the dog is likely seeking homeostasis. The same applies to our daily lives when one feels hot and is in a jacket, one will tend to remove/takeoff the jacket to reduce hotness, this is also likely to seek homeostasis.

The government in this sense is equated to homeostasis, because dramatic changes have been experienced in Education system in Tanzania at all levels of Education due to the changing demand of the society. High pressure that has been exerted by this growing demand of education necessitated various education stakeholders to regulate and design some measures to address the situation. Currently, education is faced with various challenges at global level most of them being issues related to quality. This work therefore flourishes while bearing in mind the following basic question; Are these concerted efforts that produces acts which have been schematized rhetorically as homeostatic actions within government produces pleasant results or settled temperatures? Here temperature being other things that clings to quality education.

What is Secondary Education?

This is the stage of education following primary education. Except in countries where only primary or basic education is compulsory, secondary education includes the final stage of compulsory education and in many countries it is entirely compulsory. The next stage of education is usually college or university. Secondary education is characterized by transition from primary education for minors to tertiary, "post-secondary", or "higher" education (e.g., university, vocational school) for adults. Depending on the system, schools for this period or a part of it may be called secondary schools, high schools, gymnasia, lyceums, middle schools, sixth-form, sixth-form colleges, vocational schools and preparatory schools, and the exact meaning of any of these varies between the systems (Wikipedia, 2012).

What is Secondary School?

This is a place that provides secondary school education. Thus Tanzania Educational and Training Policy, (1995) in Mwenda, (2012) asserts that secondary school education refers to full program of education provided in accordance with Government approved curricula and availed to students who will have completed primary education. In Tanzania we have two sequential circles which are a four year Ordinary Level Secondary Education and a Two Year program of Advanced Level of Secondary Education.

What is Education?

Without preservation it is generally agreed that education is key to personal and community success. Nelson Mandela as cited in McCullum, (2005) contends that Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor that the son of a mineworker, can become the head of the mine, that the child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation.

Nations all over the world are struggling to educate their people. Much pressure has been given from the International organizations to assist these countries accomplish this desire. The Millennium goals in education requires that by 2015 nations ensure that children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary education (Millennium Development Goals, 2000). To meet this goal, countries worldwide initiated some programmes to respond to the goal requirements.

What is quality?

Galabawa, (2000) maintains that quality is the level of excellence performance measured by establishing acceptable benchmarks or criteria and standards of good performance. Pearsall, (2002) considers that quality as the standard of something as measured against other things of similar kind. In educational context, quality may be explained in regard with worthiness of education system to learners. Quality education is the type of education which should be able to bring about change in learners.

In the context of education what does quality mean?

According to Adams, (1993) many definitions of quality in education exist, testifying to the complexity and multifaceted nature of the concept, the terms efficiency, effectiveness, equity and quality have often been used synonymously. Rasheed, (2000) observes that considerable consensus exists around the basic dimensions of quality education today, however quality education includes:

- Learners who are healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate and learn, and supported in learning by their families and communities;
- Environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities;
- Content that is reflected in relevant curricular and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention and peace;
- Processes through which trained teachers use child-centred teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skilful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities;
- Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.

What is Quality Education?

As seen earlier in Galabawa, (2000) refers to quality as the level of excellence performance measured by establishing acceptable benchmarks or criteria and standards of good performance. Also Pearsall, (2002) considers that quality as the standard of something as measured against other things of similar kind. In educational context, quality may be explained in regard to worthiness of education system to learners. Quality education is the type of education which should be able to bring about change in learners.

Qorro, (2007:70) think that quality education should do the following to learners:

- Change them from less knowledgeable to more knowledgeable individuals.
- Change them from less confident to more confident individuals.
- Change them from dependent to independent individuals
- Change them from job seekers to job creators.

She added that; this change requires education that encourages learners to take active part in the learning process allowing and actually fostering creative learning and creative thinking and giving them the responsibility to construct and generate knowledge through discussion, rather than through rote learning. Generally to speak, quality education refers to the value or worth of curriculum or education system in bringing positive changes to learners in their entire life. Currently in Tanzania and the globe at large, education is performing to the lowest standards contrary to the expectations of the beneficiaries. Kellaghan, (2004:3) clearly points that, parents, however, did notice, questioning the value of education for their children as quality dropped sharply, less qualified teachers are employed, classes become larger, facilities deteriorated and textbooks fell into short supply.

Why focus on Quality?

Although some of the international treaties, by specifying the need to provide education on human rights, reproductive health, sports and gender awareness, touched on educational quality (EFA global monitoring report, 2005:28). It seems that the achievement of universal participation in education will be fundamentally dependent upon the quality of education available. For example, how well pupils are taught and how much they learn, can have a crucial impact on how long they stay in school and how regularly they attend. Furthermore, whether parents send their children to school at all is likely to depend on judgements they make about the quality of teaching and learning provided upon whether attending school is worth the time and cost for their children and for themselves (EFA global monitoring report, 2005:28).

Factors which influence Education Quality:

To help simplify the understanding of the relationship among the most commonly-cited quality related factors in the education system the following are several key variables which are;

The context:

Organizations operate within a given context or environment. Hall, (1977) in Galabawa et al, (2000) posits that there are two types of environment from which an organization like the educational institution get their inputs and to which the organization supplies output. These are the general and specific environment. The general environment includes;

Political conditions:

These are the ones that bring about new laws, policies and regulations which exert influence on education institutions. Although Tanzania boasts itself about presence of civil peace, the nature of the political culture, the policy environment of education, leaves much to be desired.

Economic Conditions:

These deal with the wealth and resilience of the nation economy in which educations are operating. Changing economic conditions served as an important constrain on any organization (Hall, 1977 in Galabawa et al, 2000). Thus economic distress result into budgetary-cutbacks, under funding and ad hoc funding of educational institutions and this affects the quality of teaching and learning and limiting research activity.

Legal conditions:

These deal with laws and regulations that guide education institutions. Many of the statutes that guide general and higher education institutions in particular especially universities are said to be inadequate and outdated to guide operations effectively. Sometimes regulations are not enforced leading to lowering of standards (admission of students in non transparent criteria).

Demographic conditions:

Hall, (1977) in Galabawa et al, (2000) regards demographic conditions as those that relates to the number of people served and their and their age and distribution the rapid expansion of primary education for instance has resulted into massive enrolments in very poorly staffed and resourced schools because there has not been planned growth and development of education to match population growth.

Cultural conditions:

These include the values and behaviours of the indigenous populations. A predominantly semi literate society will rarely realize the need for quality education. Hence / might not be very willing to support it. Cultural norms and taboos lead to early withdraw of1 pupils from school to assume roles of heardsmen, freshmen, or to get married.

International conditions:

The education system in Tanzania and in many developing countries is directly influenced by international community and organizations. Substantial resources for development of infrastructure, provision of basic equipment, supply of books and other teaching and learning materials and staff development have come from the external source. Excessive external influence when not effectively monitored and checked can mess-up an entire education system through conflicting advice especially on priorities and critical areas where most efforts should be targeted.

Others are external inputs:

These includes financing, lack of adequate financial resources to support education system and its institution is one of the key factors leading to conflicts and crises in schools, colleges, institutes and universities leading to wastage of teaching and learning time. Quality students’ education institution can only teach to their required levels if students enter with recognizable and adequate qualifications. If their quality will be poor in their entrance to these institutions their output will be poor as well.


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Title: The growing demand of secondary education in Tanzania