Recently experts in education clearly expressed that the primary and secondary schools curriculum needs revisiting in light of the industrialization goal that has been adopted. The current curriculum gives a lot of prominence to marks obtained in examinations and those who get high marks are heroes and inadvertently there is characterization of students as toppers, failures or average. The current emphasis is on “what to learn” rather then “how to learn”.
In a skill driven world, high marks do not necessarily indicate creativity or competency. The current curriculum is producing crammers and rote learners and this eventually weakens higher education.
The best schools thrive to create a culture that supports creativity, compassion, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.
We need curriculum that promotes human interactions not memorizers who chase marks; instead we need minds that chase dreams of how to make Tanzania a middle-income country through an industrial revolution.
We need a curriculum that takes a student-centered approach to learning, allowing learners a level of independence designed to foster their creativity and help them learn more effectively.
As an example the program might include a comparison of two great novels, one ancient and another more contemporary. Through the comparison, students can learn more deeply and gain a better understanding of the language and its history. Students should take responsibility of the learning process and should be accountable for their work; this results into a well-educated group of young people ready to take on the trepidations of the 21st century.
I am not advocating nor demeaning examinations as useless, contrary the curriculum should include a series of measurable and achievable goals, each designed to build on what went before while preparing the student for their future work.
There should be focus on goals and achievements, and this ensures that both parents and children understand the progress they are making. This, in turn, allows each student to reach his or her full potential.
There are six important elements of education reforms: personalized learning for all students; quality teaching and learning; flexibility and choice; high standards; and learning powered by technology and a de-cluttered curriculum.
This has shown to give students and teachers flexibility to progress, academically and professionally.
We also have to understand that teachers need to be treated as professionals and provided with the flexibility to determine the best way to teach their kids.
There is adequate evidence and examples that a de-cluttered curriculum can leave more room for good teaching and learning.
When you look at some of the top performing education systems in the world and their curriculum documentation, it’s very short. These systems really focus on key competencies and skills rather than just the content.
I understand that changing the school curriculum is a major undertaking and it cannot be treated as a project, it is more a process and takes a lot of time and resources.
The question is do we have the luxury of time? Perhaps not because the industrial revolution has already taken off, and our aim is to become a middle-income country by 2025, nonetheless the curriculum change has to take place and better start now than later.
Ministry of education should now change its priority from quantity to quality and changing the curriculum is a major component of quality education.
I think there should be no debate about changing the curriculum, the discussion should be about how to change the curriculum and we have experts who should lead the process without any interference.
Overall, then, the single greatest obstacle to implementing curricular change and, over time, establishing a culture that values continuous reflection and improvement in a school, is the general predisposition of educators to resist change itself.
Most educators are risk-averse by temperament and they have entered the teaching profession because it promises a high degree of order, security, and stability. Organizational change, however, requires friction, disagreement, open conflict, anxiety, and disequilibrium and very likely teachers would wish to avoid this.
Honorable Madame Minister, the ball is now in your court, listen to the experts and act on this issue, you cannot continue working with the current curriculum, initiate the process of change and let the experts create a new relevant curriculum. Changing the curriculum is expected; desirable and inevitable thus do not resist change.