Duh! Makubwa! Kama shule za Msingi Tanzania zitafundishwa kwa Kiingereza (English) itawasaidia wanafunzi wakienda kusoma shule za sekondari na vyuo. Kwa sasa waTanzania wanaosoma kwa kiswahili halafu ghafla wanatupwa katika shule ya kiingereza wanapata taabu sana. Matokeo yake ni kuwa sisi WaTannzania tuna kipaji kidogo katika English ukilinganisha na wenzetu kutoka Kenya na Uganda.
Use of Kiswahili will be consolidated and that of English expanded
The proposed new education policy has highlighted the importance of using English language as a medium of instruction in primary schools in the country, ‘The Guardian’ has authoritatively learnt.
A draft of the policy, whose copy was obtained by this newspaper this week from impeccable sources, also indicates that the government has given the green light to a section of private primary schools to use English as a medium of instruction due to requests from parents who favoured their children to be taught in English instead of Kiswahili.
The government notes in the report that the use of English had increased due to globalisation, thus necessitating making it a medium of instruction in primary schools in future.
However, the policy points to the heated debate in the country on whether English or Kiswahili be used as a language of instructions at primary school level.
“So there is need to consolidate the use of Kiswahili and expand the use of English as a medium of instruction in primary schools,” reads the policy in part.
It maintains that the languages of instruction would be both English and Kiswahili, but that English would only be used as a medium of instruction in private schools and taught as a subject in most of the public primary schools.
Kiswahili became the medium of instruction at primary schools shortly after independence while English is taught as a subject and used as a medium of instruction in secondary and tertiary education.
However, proponents of Kiswahili as a medium of instruction argue that using English as a medium of instruction would lead to giving the language more emphasis at the expense of Kiswahili.
This school of thought wants Kiswahili to become a medium of instruction from primary school to higher learning institutions.
The policy will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval in two months time before the final draft is relayed to the Parliamentary Social Services Committee for review, after which the Attorney General will prepare a bill from the national policy on education to amend the 1978 National Education Act.
The proposed policy will replace the current Education and Training Policy which has been in use since 1995.
The general secretary of Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non Governmental Schools and Colleges (TAMONGSCO), Benjamin Nkonya welcomed the proposed policy, but said it was unjust for the policy to recommend the use of Kiswahili and English as mediums of instruction at primary school level but limit secondary schools to using English alone.
Nkonya said non-government schools had advised the government to endorse a system which would allow students to use one language as a medium of instruction from pre-school to tertiary level.
“We will make the problem worse if students who are taught in Kiswahili at primary level abruptly switch to English as a medium of instruction in secondary school. The decision will weaken the students’ creativity and their ability to learn new concepts.
“We want the two languages as mediums of instruction to be introduced at the secondary school level so that students may decide which way to go. A student who learned in Kiswahili in primary school should be given a choice to continue learning in the same language until he or she finishes the university,” said Nkonya.
Following failure to include such provision in the draft policy, Nkonya vowed that non-government schools through their coalition would make sure the provision is included before the policy is endorsed by the ministry of education.
Elizabeth Missokia, the Executive Director of Hakielimu, an educational NGO said in a telephone interview this week that NGOs dedicated to education would meet at the end of next week under the Tanzania Education Network (TenMet), a national network of more than 200 members to discuss the proposed policy and give their recommendations.
She said Hakielimu does not favour any of the languages being used as a medium of instruction but said there was need to distinguish between a language of instruction and language of communication.
The country needed English as a language of communication but Tanzanians needed to ask themselves if there were enough competent teachers to teach English as a medium of instruction or as a subject, she said.
“Teachers need to master the language they are using to teach. The quality of education is going down in Tanzania and Africa in general so we need to redefine and reflect what we want to achieve otherwise we will never get anywhere,” said Missokia.
Tanzanians always developed the best policies, but Missokia reckoned that the problem was the implementation of such policies, saying the education policy needed to put special emphasis on improving quality of education and teachers’ welfare rather than focusing on infrastructure development.
“It is important we start enrolling students who score division one and two into teachers’ colleges instead of those with division four…” she said.
According to the draft policy, English will remain the medium of instruction at secondary school level, but a research that was conducted by Martha Qorro, a senior lecturer in languages and linguistics at the University of Dar es Salaam titled: “Does Language of Instruction Affect Quality of Education?” says teachers and students at all education levels are able to debate and discuss and ask and answer questions and therefore generate knowledge when they understand the language of instruction.
“In Tanzania the language of instruction factor has been ignored for a long time and this has had a negative impact on the quality of education…..insisting on using English as the language of instruction in Tanzanian secondary schools and institutions of higher learning does more harm than good towards the provision of quality education as well as language teaching,” she concludes in her research.
CHANZO: THE GUARDIAN