By Dickson Straitony – Art in Tanzania internship
Pre-school education involves education and care Early childhood period is the crucial and sensitive time for children development holistically including social, physical, emotional and cognitive development. The child need positive with the environment as they are very active to learn everything they interact with by imitation and experience. Child’s learning and development occurs in multiple contexts from home to school context that should be well prepared, stimulating and supportive for learning and development holistically (Sestini, 1985). Play is the best method of learning for children in this age group. All activities must be arranged on the basis of play and all activities should be planed and organized based on the interest of the child where the process of learning should start from what the child know that is bottom-up approach.
Preschool education considers the needs of children and individual differences, should support the psychomotor, social-emotional, linguistic and cognitive development of the child, build in self-care skills and prepare the child for school continuity as it should impart in children self-respect, self-confidence and self-control.
To respond to the needs of children, preschool education institutions should provide education environments in compliance with an understanding of democratic education.
The process of education should start from what children already know and provide a room for learning by trying and experimenting. Education given in preschool phase should be contributory to the development of children in terms of affection, respect, cooperation, responsibility, tolerance, solidarity and sharing.
Tanzania is the country found in East Africa in Sub-saharan Africa with 59.7 Million number of population where 77% of population lives in rural area and only 23% lives in urban with the area of about 945,087 km2. According to UNESCO (2015), Tanzania has an adult literacy rate of 77.8% where the male literacy rate is 83.2% and for females is 73.09%.
According to Education for All (EFA) of 1990 as an international initiative for making education to benefits every citizen in every society the first goal out of six is to “Expand and improve comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for most vulnerable and disadvantaged children”. Tanzania adopted Pre-primary Education Policy in 1995 as the part of Education and Training Policy where all primary schools where established pre-primary education program as the part of formal education program for two years that included children with age from five to six are enrolled before join to primary school but not mandatory to that age where it depends the parents. According to Mtahabwa and Rao (2009), currently young children in Tanzania attend programmes in child care centre nursery schools, Montessori or other preschools and pre-primary classes which are affiliated to primary schools. Children attend different programs that are nursery, Day care, Kindergarten, Montessori and pre-primary school. Pre-school educational program is considered as the preparation for primary education and it is the period of transition from home to school environment where parents and teachers a have to prepare the transition environments for child school readiness.
Total Enrolment in Pre-Primary Education has increased by 46.1% from 1,069,823 in 2015 to 1,562,770 in 2016. The increase is a result of community sensitization as well as a prevailing strong partnership of the government and parents, faith-based organizations (FBOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) in providing Pre-Primary Education. (URT 2016) Pre-primary, Primary and Secondary Education Statistics in brief. In 2019 Prep-primary school enrolment was reported at 41.59%, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators and this indicated the drop of number of enrolment from 46.1% in 2016 to 41.59% in 2019. Different private sectors provide education and care for children below five years as the part of preschool program.
Problems facing the accessibility of preschool education in Tanzania
The success of the Early Childhood program has been the effort of both public and private sectors linking together although not all Tanzanians have been able to access it.
Low social-economic status of parents. This is the challenge poor families faces in access to education, the charging fees in private schools is not affordable to many parents in that case they fail to send their children to preschool centers where they opt to remain them at home helping different domestic works as the number of household are involving in agricultural activities and they become street children.
Education quality and resources constraints in public schools. (UNICEF Tanzania, 2018). Compared to private schools in Tanzania the government has not invested much to make sure there is quality early childhood education where mostly children who attend to public preschools they do not achieve satisfactorily basic learning skills for school continuity. The challenge of resources for teaching and learning to public preschools like stimulating learning materials and supportive environment but also we found that preschool and primary schools they share the same classes learning by shifts.
Low parents’ awareness towards early childhood education. In Tanzania there is existing of large number of parents who are not aware of the need and the importance of early childhood education to their children specifically in villages and remote areas. The value of education still low in Tanzania villages where other they don’t send them to school totally neither preschool nor primary school and they believe in workforce (Pambas, 2010).. So children from this group of parents get affected and if they get enrolled at primary school they have limited fundamental learning skills.
Public preschools are located far away from home environment. In some regions children have to walk for a miles to school no passenger vehicles and if they are available some parents may fail to afford daily fare with other expenses. Parents fear the security of their children hence they do not enroll them to preschools.
Inadequate of preschool teachers has become a challenge to public primary and secondary schools but also preschools. Primary school teachers they take the role of teaching due to lack of professional preschool teachers at the same time they teach primary schools as a result they had a heavy workload that reduce efficiency of work and sometimes volunteers nonprofessional teacher they teacher those preschool children in private centers. They don’t have professional knowledge and skill about teaching and learning to those preschool children and leads to poor quality education and those are qualified they don’t get in-service training as the apart of professional development (Kitta, 2004).
Traditional norms, cultural values and gender discrimination. Gender inequalities due to discriminatory norm has the negative effect to children access to education from early childhood education and above as the families cannot afford to fully educate all children girls they are not given much importance and treated inferior to boys children especially in rural areas within Tanzania (Mligo 2018). In some societies with norms around marriageability norms related to gender division of labour all these affect girls’ education. Children with disabilities also the face challenges in access to education due to negative perception on their ability to learn.
Involving Parents and community as active participants in early childhood education and care intervention program. The involvement of these two actors to children educational experience as the parents they participate to children’s education by actively supporting, encouraging, and providing supportive home learning environment, when parents are involved in they become an expert to their child and reinforce the development of preschool program The child and his/her family should actively take part in the process of education as it is urged that when parents are involved in child education the possibility of that child to school achievements is higher
Provision of fund from government to preschools. Due to preschool settings being not conducive and supportive for children the government should provide funds from different sources can be internal or external sources thereafter preschool education should have its own budget for better investment and improvement in the provision and aces of quality education and for all. Enough preschool classes with supportive infrastructures for both children including disadvantaged children
The government has to increase the number of preschool center. In some area of Tanzania the number of children is over the school facilities as the results the indoor activities are all done outside. But also the limited number of preschools results to long distance from home to school and few are able to attend hence dropouts and truancy increase
Tanzania as the among of developing countries investing in early childhood education is the crucial step towards development that will ensure public provision of high quality early childhood education by establishing clear policy, and work to ensure the increase in enrolment, registration and curriculum development as well as producing large number of quality early childhood teachers. The government should work more on sensitizing community and parents the value of preschool education and set the suitable environment to raise their social-economic status.
Kitta S. (2004). Enhancing mathematics teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge and skills in Tanzania. Enschede: University of Twente.
Mligo I. (2018). Enhancing Young Childrens Acces to Early Childhood Education and Care in Tanzania. Contemprary perspective on Child Psychology and Education,
Pambas, T. (2010). Stakeholders’ conception of young children’s readiness for primary schooling in Tanzania.Unpublished M.A Thesis, University of Dodoma.
Sestini, E. (1985). Preschool Education: Recent Developments in Preschool Policies and Provision in Developing Countries and in the UK. In Lillis, K. M. (Ed.). School, and Community in Less Developed Countries. Biddles Limited, Guiford King’s Lynn, Greatain
UNICEF Tanzania. 2018. Education :The Situation