Education stakeholders made an appeal to the government of the United Republic of Tanzania at the Policy Forum breakfast debate held on May 27, 2022, expressing the need to increase the budget of the education sector for an inclusive and equitable implementation of the Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP III).
The government should adhere to its commitment to the international benchmark of 20 percent allocation of the national budget to the education sector and 6 percent of GDP to the education sector.
Highlighting an analysis of the sector budget, HakiElimu’s Policy Analyst, Makumba Mwemezi stated that the budget proposal presented recently in the parliament indicates an allocation of Sh5.635 trillion in the education sector out of the Sh41.1 trillion overall national budget.
Makumba further specified that the amount allocated is insufficient to boost the quality of education in the country itemizing several priorities set by the government which includes reviewing the Education and Training Policy 2014, Laws, Guidelines and Education Curriculum, enrolment of school-age children, including those with special needs and increasing opportunities and quality education for primary, secondary, and high learning education.
These priorities may not be realized if the education budget continues to be below the required 20 percent of the national budget.
Moreover, a renowned education practitioner Dr. Richard Shukia also drew attention the demand for teachers in the country in primary and secondary schools is 437,623 but only 259,808 are available, making a deficit of 40.6 percent.
The government in the next financial year starting in July 2022 is planning to employ a total of 10,000 teachers for primary and secondary schools. This will reduce the deficit by just 2.3 percent. To solve the teacher shortage crisis, stakeholders want the government to employ at least 20,000 teachers in primary schools and 15,000 teachers in secondary schools per year.
Dr. John Kallage, Executive Director of HakiElimu stated that although the government has good intentions in employing new teachers, the sector has been in turmoil as the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has recently reported that 80 percent of teachers in primary and secondary schools have not attended on-job training due to lack of funds for the last five years.
This is also a call for the Ministry of Education to invest more in technology to bridge the teacher-student interaction gap.
Other identified challenges facing the sector in Tanzania include the unrealistic capitation grant rate provided to the primary and secondary school students, which currently stands at the rate of TZS 10,000 and TZS 25,000 per student in primary and secondary schools respectively per year.
Karoli Kadege from ActionAid Tanzania stressed on the loss of revenue through several loopholes like Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) increase setbacks in the development of the education sector. He insisted that the government should deploy mechanisms to curb such losses.
Significantly, stakeholders recommend the improvement of Capitation Grant rates and approval of the new Capitation Grant Formula to TZS 25,000 per student primary and TZS 55,000 per student in secondary respectively putting into consideration the different special needs that exist amongst students to ensure equity.
In closing remarks, HakiElimu’s Dr. Kallage recapped the use of Swahili as a medium of instructions at both primary and secondary schools to prompt the students’ level of understanding. HakiElimu’s analysis indicates approximately 65 percent of form four students fail their examinations due to the abrupt switch of language from Swahili to English.