Could do (much) better

I’ve already written here about the language of instruction in Tanzania, but recently developed those ideas in an article for the Washington Times.

When I called the Ministry of Education’s spokesperson, she told me that they are not considering changing the language of instruction while English remains so important globally. Ironically, her own level of English was not great, but she didn’t seem to see the irony in defending a system that isn’t doing what it’s supposed to.

As usual, I discovered many more aspects to the issue than could be explored in a 900-word piece. Like the fact that overall quality of education here has actually got worse since the last generation (still trying to pinpoint why).

Or that recently-opened government schools are known generally as “yebo yebo schools” (yebo yebo refers to cheap, poor quality sandals that fall apart quickly), and kids are taught by teachers who’ve been trained for just a few months.

And then there’s the role of international partners: should donors like the UK, USA etc. be doing more to support education through a language kids can actually understand? Or is it first up to the Tanzanian government do something? When will Tanzanians leave school with a decent education – and the communication and analytical skills that so many recruiters and internationals say are still missing?

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