The Situation in Tanzania
We’ve just published a situational analysis of Tanzania’s ICT in Education landscape for the purpose of problem identification. This analysis has helped us to understand the main education issues and to determine the country’s interest in using ICT for Education, as well as progress made in deploying and using ICT in the Education sector. In Tanzania, 43.5% of the population is between 0-14 years. This very young population coupled with the fact that literacy stands at 69.4% means that the education system bears an enormous responsibility for the country’s immediate future.
The importance of education for Tanzania’s development is highlighted in the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP) of 2005 which regards education as one of the keys to over reduction and improvement of quality of life and social well-being, and ICT is being recognized as a major driving force for the realization of Vision 2025. The successful use and integration of ICT in Education depends on a number of critical factors including a favorable external environment which includes government commitment to ICT in general and ICT in Education specifically, national ICT infrastructure, enabling policies and strategies and concomitant practical actions by the governments to promote ICT in development in general and specifically in education. Successful integration also depends upon a holistic approach to ICT integration which goes beyond the technological dimension to include aspects of policy and planning, curriculum and content, teacher training, maintenance and technical support and continuous monitoring and evaluation. Adequate institutional capacities from the Ministries in charge of education and training down to the school level are also key levers of change and transformation.
We concluded from the situational analysis that there are several weaknesses and challenges in the education and training sector that hinder the exploitation of ICT to address key education challenges of access, relevance, equity and quality. At the same time, there are great opportunities to leverage the potential of ICT to address these challenges. The analysis attests to the fact that the government has a high commitment to improve the state of education in general and also recognizes the role that ICT can play in development and in education. This is evident in the various policy documents and national plans. A number of initiatives have already been taken which include the removal of duty from computers, the computerization of the Teachers Colleges, the development of the ICT Policy for Basic Education and the National ICT Policy and the development of ICT syllabi for the various levels of education.
On the other hand, this analysis also shows that the challenges in education in Tanzania need to be addressed in a holistic manner. There is widespread lack of coordination of activities and initiatives related to ICT in education, lack of structure at the Ministry level to champion and own ICT integration in education, lack of explicit budgetary allocation for ICT integration, lack of baseline data on the state of ICT in education institutions which is not being factored in the EMIS database (other that teachers colleges), and lack of definitive and deliberate steps to use ICT in teaching and learning.