REPORT OF A MEDIA SURVEY THAT WAS CONDUCTED ON BEHALF OF HAKIELIMU ON WARD SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN SUMBAWANGA MUNICIPAL, RUKWA REGION
A media survey that was conducted in 17 ward secondary schools in two districts of the Sumbawanga Municipal namely; Urban Sumbawanga and Rural Sumbawanga Districts November 17 to 23, 2011
DAR ES SALAAM
Mr Joachim Ndunguru, Second Master
Unyiha Secondary School, his school has 300 students, seven teachers but no water, no laboratory, no library, no hostel it is located 36 kilometers from central Sumbawanga
Introduction and Acknowledgements
I would like to thank leaders of the Rukwa Press Club (RPC), for allowing me to use their office during the mentoring of their three members namely:
i. Joshua Joel who is a senior journalist with ITV and Radio One
ii. Ms Elizabeth Ntambala-senior reporter with Tanzania Daima and
iii. Mussa Mwangoka- senior reporter with Mwananchi and The Citizen.
The three together with other members of the RPC were of a crucial support during my whole survey in Rukwa.
Sumbawanga Municipal is one of the fast growing municipals in the Southern Highlands Zone, there are few industries belonging to the small business community of Tanzanian originating from Asian. The biggest population is made of the Christian denominations community, the Roman Catholic being the dominant. For quite sometime Sumbwanga and the whole of Rukwa region was lagging behind in education although missionaries had established Kaengesa Junior Seminary which remains a stronghold for the Roman Catholic Church. The current Premier Mizengo Pinda and the Dar es Salaam Arch Diocese, Archbishop Polycarp Cardinal Pengo are ex-seminarians of Kaengesa. Other prominent figures from the area are retired politicians Paul Kimiti, who is former MP and Cabinet Minister together with Chrisant Mzindakaya the two retired from active politics prior to the last years General Elections.
On the other hand very few schools were established by the Government for the past 50 years, so to the community of Sumbawanga both in the rural and urban area, the establishment of ward secondary schools were good news. However the main problem as it was observed during this survey is lack of push from parents, and lack of finances to run the schools efficiently. A good number of households belong to the natives of the area, the Fipa. In this survey 17 schools were visited where students, ordinary teachers headmasters and one headmistress were interviewed.
2.1. Advantages of the ward secondary schools
This survey has revealed that Sumbawanga is one area which has benefited a lot from the establishment of secondary schools regardless of the poor management and quality of education delivered so far. Mr Robert Mwaihojo the headmaster at Mafulala who originates from Mbeya but has lived for a number of years in Sumbawanga admits that now a good number of students particularly girls are enrolled in ward secondary school than it used to be previously. This view is seconded by Mr Mohamed Nanyanje the Sumbawanga Municipal Education Officer for secondary schools. However up to know some parents feel as if it is wastage of time and resources to send their daughters to secondary schools. This is because probably only few families have benefited by sending their daughters for higher education, thus a good number of parents would prefer their daughters to get married soon after they complete primary education. This is one source for many pregnancies as they will be revealed in this report. It has been established that even attempts to take legal action against those who have made students pregnant has become very difficult because of lack of co-operation from parents whom their daughters have fell victims.
Hence the main advantage of having ward secondary schools as it was observed in Sumbawanga Municipal is the fact that a good number of girls who could have remained idle, or could have migrated to urban centres and to big cities and work as barmaids and house girls. are now fully engaged in schooling which is beneficial both to them and their parents as well. Moreover education in itself has an advantage in transforming the mind set of students and fastens communication process and eventually development in general. Thus establishment of secondary schools have benefited boys and girls who would have otherwise migrated to urban centres hence causing problems as it has always been the case with street hawkers.
2.2. Challenges facing ward secondary schools
2.2.1. Problems facing teachers
Delays in payment of arrears
Previously one problem was that teachers in almost all school were complaining due to delays of payment of salaries for new teachers and even for those who are already in service, currently the main problem is delays in payment of arrears. Since secondary schools are now attended in municipal councils, the tendency has been to quicken payments of new teachers’ salaries. It can take up to three or four months before the first salary is paid, while arrears can also delay almost the same time, this in turn demoralizes the teachers, and at times it turns teachers into beggars at least temporarily. But headmasters say they always give such teachers loans whenever there are delays and the money can be recovered later when funds are availed at the municipals.
Scarcity of teachers and low motivation
Mr Japhet Nzalamte the headmaster of Katuma Secondary School says one main problem is that the Government has not yet designed a workable teacher’s retention scheme because a good number of them lack the morale due to underpayments and for the fact that the few that remain in schools are overburdened by the teaching tasks. This survey revealed that schools have been turned to dumping sites of fresh graduates who are neglected completely in the hands of headmasters once they are posted to new schools.
Once new teachers discovers that there is very little care for them from the Government a good number of fresh graduates are never settled in the teaching career as they are always ambitious of going for greener pastures elsewhere. For instance in Katuma Secondary there are 15 teachers who are supposed to teach more than 700 students. Within the past three years five teachers have left the school in order to seek for juicy jobs. Thus the decision to establish ward secondary schools good as it is was a political decision which did not take into serious consideration the technical aspects of the teaching and learning process. Teachers also complain that it is very frustrating for teachers when they deal with classes whereby more than 80 percent of the students are slow learners.
Location of many of these schools is a discouragement due to long distances or scarcity of essential services like water and electricity. Teachers and students have to travel on daily basis. For instance at Mafulala Secondary School there are three houses for teachers but due to scarcity of water teachers have decided to abandon the houses. On the other hand scarcity of science teachers has forced a good number of students to switch from science to art subjects; this in turn increases the teaching burden to teachers of art subjects.
Teachers complain that they can not meet family demands out of the meager salaries that they are getting. Some have now ventured into other small projects to support their families at times there are conflicts of interest caused by this trend whereby teachers are forced to abscond classes in order to make sure that their projects goes on. A good number of the interviewee teachers said that they have projects like food vending which are conducted by their wives and a few others have motorbikes “boda boda” for the same purpose.
Land conflicts with villagers
One school which has fell victim of such conflicts leading to threats by some unscrupulous villagers is Kichema Secondary School, in Kichema Ward where teachers have been reduced into refugees in their own country. Teachers said they have been subjected into constant threats of being bewitched or killed one after another from some villagers who say that the school has grabbed from them a big portion of land which they used to own for a number of years before the school was established there in 2008. The school already has two houses for teachers but the teachers are scared to move in due to security threat. This problem further have created many other problems like delays in attending classes or absence due to some difficulties in teaching the school on daily basis. Teachers have been very much demoralized by such nasty incidents from villagers who were supposed to appreciate for the fact that the Government has established a school within their own location.
2.2.2. Problems facing students
Scarcity of teachers
Students are forced to pay for tuitions simply because the few available teachers can not teach effectively. The case is even more serious for science teachers who are scarcely found in ward secondary school. At times they have to pay form six leavers who unfortunately do not have any formal training on the teaching methodology a fact that might cause the lowering of the quality of education which is provided.
Culture the main course of early pregnancies
Statistics shows that 202 school girls got pregnant in the Sumbawanga Municipal in the past five years. The rate of pregnancies was more than 40 per year, while Mtipe Secondary School in Kasense Ward was leading by having 49 pregnancies alone. The survey learnt that it was very challenging for the teachers to handle girls who at their homes are being treated as a grown up ready for marriage and any close follow up by teachers is seen as interference to the customs of the people.
It was revealed that pregnancies are also caused due to poverty and illiteracy of a good number of parents in the rural locations, girls undergo customary preparations for future lives as housewives a practice which is incompatible to the wishes of the Governemnt which wants such girls in the first hand, to pursue further education. A sad episode however is the fact that in the municipal no single culprit was apprehended due to lack of cooperation from the victim girls and parents, according to the municipal officials. Some parents collude with criminals who have made their daughters pregnant.
According to school girls that were interviewed girls are seduced along their ways to schools by adults who promises to support them financially and for the bicycles transportation. Some students who walk as far as seven kilometers daily to and from the school are caught up in this treachery, it has been established that in many circles some unscrupulous adults prefer to have sexual relations with young girls in a belief that adults are amenable to HIV/Aids infections.
Unfriendly environment for students
Many of the ward secondary schools are located to unfriendly environment. In some cases as it was for Mpui which is located 55 kilometers from central Sumbawanga, and Mzindakaya secondary school which is located 48 kilometers from central Sumbwanga some labourers from road construction companies have been involving in sexual affairs with school girls, this is because these schools are located closer to the roads where construction activities are going on. Some labourers use a lot of money to seduce school girls by taking advantage of poverty in their homes.
Although the trend of school pregnancies is slowing down but parents are not cooperative enough in protecting their daughters, for instance they do not respond when they are asked to participate in the construction of fences. For those located in urban centres some lack areas for further expansion as it is for Kanda School which is squeezed from both angles.
Shortage of school libraries and laboratories
Out of the 17 schools that were surveyed only three schools has libraries while only two have laboratories namely; Mtipe and Mpui but these were already existing prior to the establishment of Ward secondary school they were later transformed in ward schools due to scarcity of schools in those areas. But even in those two schools there are no chemicals and other implements for experiments.
Steps that have been taken to ameliorate the situation
3.1. Managerial improvements
According to the Acting Municipal Director Abdul Maulid, the Government has delegated by devolution the management of schools, but there are some financial discrepancies which affects the long term programmes. He also admits that the decision to introduce ward secondary schools was done without enough consultation, but currently there are many efforts to improve the situation. He admits that there are steps to merge the administrative issues with academic ones in order to avoid discrepancies which have been affecting these schools for a number of years since the establishment of ward secondary schools.
Maulid says the steps in improving provision of education follows a certain line of command in order to eventually maintain quality, the steps are as follows:
He maintains that this line of implementation was meant ensure that a big number of students is enrolled but without affecting quality. Tanzania is a signatory to a number of international protocols, it has strived to maintain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and there are many stakeholders like UNICEF who are supporting education initiatives in Tanzania. He also admits that introduction of ward secondary schools was conducted as a crush programme due to the pressure from stakeholders after seeing that a good number of primary school leavers were going without education.
The Sumbawanga Municipal Education Officer for Secondary Education Mohamed Nanyanje says that the problem of management is largely caused by scarcity of funds. He admits that this is a big challenge but promises that things will be good soon. The goal is to improve the dissemination of education by ensuring that the provision of primary education is conducted by 100 percent, in O-level secondary 75 percent, A-level 50 percent, and 25 percent in tertiary education. He further narrates that in order
The conclusion one can draw from this survey is of mixed grill, in the first place it must be admitted that a good number of boys and girls remained without getting secondary education, this in the end had severe repercussions because it also denied them quality life, a good number of boys were denied access to opportunities leading to a productive life and for that matter they were denied opportunities to find answers to their problems. Educational benefits are multifaceted since one can not reduce the component of education to future employment only but also for the fact that education is a contributor to peace let alone the socialization aspect.
Any argument against these ideals will be centred on the fact that the construction of ward secondary schools did not take into serious consideration the identification of the realities for education, and the barriers to the provision of quality education, especially in many of the developing countries – issues such as the lack of laboratories, libraries, books, and teachers, all these have severe effect in the final product of the education process, for instance, enrolment in tertiary education, opportunities for employment, and eventually competition for tertiary education inside Tanzania and abroad. What is needed therefore is to introduce a curriculum which is adequate for a globalized world. The Government should subsidize costs of education via the provision of buildings and facilities, teaching and learning resources. There must be a provision of suitable learning environments and financially rewards to teachers who have volunteered to work in remote areas.
There must be dialogue on quality education, engaging educational institutions, government, employers and the community to assess the needs of society and the part that quality education contributes to meeting those needs. For instance, in the case of school pregnancies parents should not collude with culprits simply because these are people that they know, or simply because they shy away form exposing the culprits. Professionals should form coalitions to advocate for more government schools, better teacher training, multi media centers or tele-centers so that teachers can have access to the internet
There must be fundraising activities to deserving children from poor backgrounds and orphans of HIV. All parents should be encouraged to be first teachers, mentors, and contribute to character building in their children. There should be more collaboration between parents and teachers and eventually with NGOs like HakiElimu which deals with education matters more precisely.
The media should raise awareness to the general public, especially in rural communities, on the value of education, particularly girls who are lagging far behind. There must be improvement of the rural communities in the areas of power provision, water, health facilities and adequate roads to reduce the need for child labour. There is a need to establish effective management of schools and proper information flow systems between government, schools and the community, and finally there is a need to create more entrepreneurial schools and adult schools which can deliver well on self-reliance learning and wealth creation
5.1. From Elizabeth Ntambala
• There is a need to increase hostels for girls
• Parents need to fend for the needs of their children particularly girls in
order to avoid them to be seduced by unscrupulous adults
• Teachers who live away from schools should get loans in order to buy motorbikes
• All schools that were constructed in very problematic areas should be
transferred but it should be done gradually in order to reduce the burden
of long distances to students.
5.2. Mussa Mwangoka
• Parents to be drawn more closer when discussing issues pertaining
to the provision of education to their children
• The Government to introduce a series of measures to increase a number of
• Culprits of student pregnancies to be taken to task more seriously
5.3. From Joshua Joel
• Some schools are overburdened by students who can be shifted to nearby schools
• Buildings which have been abandoned should be improved immediately
by providing them with reliable water and solar panel so that teachers
can use them
• Politicians should advice parents to contribute regularly to ward schools
which have been neglected in the hands of headmasters
5.4. My recommendations
• Teaching methodology to introduced in all compulsory subjects like
civics, general studies and development studies
• Conflicts which are related to land to be resolved immediately so as to allow
teachers to continue with their work more comfortably
• All fresh graduates to be undergo thorough counseling before they join
the teaching career
• Religious institutions to play their role vigorously to avoid school pregnancies
List of schools which were visited
1. Kanda Secondary School
Head master Erony Mwakonya
Contacts: tel: 0764-707541
2. Mafulala Secondary School
Headmaster Robert Mwaihojo
3. Katuma Secondary School
Headmaster Japhet Nzalamte
4. Mbizi Secondary School
5. Muhama Secondary School
6. Mtipe Secondary School
7. Kichema Secondary School
8. Unyiha Secondary School
Msanga Muuungano Ward
9. Makuzani Secondary School
10. Mpui Secondary School
11. Mzindakaya Secondary School
12. Itwelele Secondary School
Interviewee- Second Master Robert Kasitu
13. Kalangasa Secondary School
Headmaster- Gabriel Hokororo
14. Ipepa Secondary School
Interviewee- Second Master, Mr Raines Simwela
15. Lukangao Secondary School
16. Chanji Secondary School
Headmistress –Mshagulwa Shemdoe
17. Kilimani Secondary School
TV and Radio Interviewees
Sumbawanga TV and Radio Report
Presented by Joshua Joel ITV and Radio One Representative Sumbawanga
1. Kanda Secondary School, interviews with
a) Ms Neema Anosisye
b) Mr Justine Malala
c) Mr Abdalla Mbega
2. Mfulala Secondary School, interviews with
a) Mr Robert Mwaihojo (headmaster)
b) Mr David Mwimanzi
c) A video clip of teachers houses
3. Ipepa Secondary School, interview with
a) Mr Raines Simwela (second master)
b) Ms Daines Shitindi
4. Kalangasa Secondary School
a) Mr Gabriel Hokororo (headmaster)
b) Mr Michael Said
5. Chanji Secondary School
a) Ms Mshaghulwa Shemdoe (headmistress)
b) Mr Owenga Ogoye
Picture of the school
6. Hon Sumbawanga Mayor-Mr Sabas katepa
7. Municipal Eduucation Officer for Secondary Schools
Mr Mohamed Nanyanje
8. Kilimani Secondary School
Mr Gwakisa Mwandumbya-Teacher
9. Itwelele Secondary School
a) Mast Ezra Mwanandeke-student
b) Isack Sichone –student
10. Miss Lydia Ruliho
A friend of Education in Rukwa.