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 Friday, December 13, 2013
ICT can transform the way that education is delivered and open the way to a new pedagogy. It can make it easier for teachers to plan and find high quality materials, and it can help pupils to find out more about the subjects that they are studying. Critically, new technology can enable teachers to tailor their teaching more closely to the abilities of individual pupils.

This article is going to explore some initiatives taken by Tanzanian government in providing conducive environment for utilisation of ICT in the education sector. There are several projects at the national level, projects that have now been included as part of the national ICT policy for education.

(a) ICT Implementation in Teachers’ Colleges: This was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education and SIDA aimed at introducing ICT in all teacher-training colleges in the country. The project was initiated in 2005 when a proposal was developed by Schools Online, an NGO based in the US and with offices in Tanzania at the time, and sold to the ministry as an initiative to improve access and quality of education in the country. The programme’s main goal is to improve the quality of teacher education by using ICTs in pre-service and in-service sessions. Tutors were expected to become ICT literate and able to use ICT as a tool for teaching and learning as well as for management and administration. The benefits of preparing ICT-literate teachers are expected to spill over to schools when implementing initiatives like e-school or e-learning.

(b) ICT Development in Secondary Education: The eSchool Forum which was formed after the education stakeholders workshop organized by the ministry of education in 2005, has submitted a programme proposal to the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. The proposal recommended the introduction of ICT in secondary education, in phases starting with 200 schools in phase 1 (2006 to 2008), a large scale rollout covering 2,000 schools in phase 2 (within five years), and nationwide coverage by 2015. The proposal covered a wide range of activities that need to be undertaken within the programme, including ICT infrastructure development in the schools, technical resources, student management at school levels (integrated EMIS), content and curriculum development, e-learning, sensitisation, human resources, and programme co-ordination and funding.

(c) Education Management Information System (EMIS): The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training is implementing a nationwide education management information system (EMIS) to produce and manage educational data and information. The EMIS is expected to collect, process, utilise, and disseminate education data to educational stakeholders on a timely basis. This project is currently being implemented at the ministry headquarters, however some regional and districts offices have been provided with computers and printers. Computer training has taken place for 19 regional education officers, 19 regional academic officers, 35 district education officers, and 34 statistical and logistics officers.

(d) Computer Procurement and Refurbishment for Schools: This project was managed by the Tanzania Computer Literacy for Secondary Schools Trust Fund, a local NGO based in Dar es Salaam. The project procured used computers and received donations from donors and other organisations, refurbishes these computers and uses them to equip computer labs in secondary schools. The project also train students in basic computer maintenance so that they can become the first-level support for the labs. This project was supported by IICD.

(e) Tanzania Education Services Web site: This Web site publishes information on the education sector in Tanzania, including information about schools, examination results, and school administration. There is a wealth of information including contact information for 1,060 schools and 47 teacher colleges. This project was supported by IICD.

(f) Barclays/Digital Links/TEA Computer for Schools Project: Barclays Bank and Digital Links International have formed a partnership to spur the growth of ICT in schools across East Africa. A three-year programme has set targets to place 10,000 computers in approximately 500 schools.

Implementation of the programme is through collaborative partnerships with organisations in each country. For Tanzania, the Barclays ICT project for schools is implemented by Tanzania Education Authority (TEA), Tanzania Commission of Science and Technology (COSTECH), and Mkombozi Centre for Street Children.

We are now living in an information age whereby transformation has been happening around the world with the ubiquity of ICT. It is natural that this transformation must be reflected in the way we teach and the way we learn. Todate, such a transformation has not much been taken up by the government in an effort to offer a wide range of ICT services to the citizens especially primary schools.

In Tanzania most of schools have not gone through this technological process and very few have been equipped with an ICT infrastructure. In primary schools in Tanzania, ICT has been included in curriculum while in the secondary sector it has been started to be regarded as a different subject and geared towards a skills-based exam but for few private secondary schools.

ICT can be a powerful resource for supporting school-directed change. Funding for ICT in Schools will influence the direction and the speed of innovation over the next four years. It is our recommendation that resources are targeted to areas that will drive the priorities and strategies to make transforming the way we learn into a reality.

(Source: IPP Media)