A teacher in Lindi who received training from the SESEA project engages with his students.
To celebrate World Teachers Day today, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is focusing on the professors, teachers, researchers and others who otherwise provide educational services to students at institutions of higher learning. The
"Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers" is the theme of this year's World Teachers' Day, celebrated around the world since 1994. According to a statement from UNESCO, the empowerment of teachers emerged as a priority when the United Nations adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for Education.
In Tanzania, the Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development in East Africa (IED, EA) is at the forefront in advancing teacher education. Whilst the scope and quality of education remains the single most important prerequisite to the attainment of Vision 2025 and the 17 SDGs Tanzania continues to strive towards the improvement of education within its means.
The country has witnessed a great change in the education system after the new government of his Excellency President Dr. John Magufuli introduced the free education which targets children studying in public schools from standard one to lower secondary schools and aims at giving an opportunity to children from low income families to have access to free education.
In order to support the Government initiatives; IED, EA has continued to provide graduate and professional development courses to education stakeholders and conduct research in different areas in education for the purposes of improving the teaching and learning processes at classroom level. Its outreach programs, over the last five years, have concentrated on teachers’ professional development to enhance literacy and numeracy among early year’s learners.
IED EA’s aim is to improve the quality of education in East African countries.
Since its establishment in 2007, IED has so far trained and graduated 100 Tanzanian teachers of which 53 are males and 47 are females through its Master of Education Degree Program which offers teacher training in a variety of specialist pathways. The graduates are currently working in different parts of Tanzania as Education Leaders in Primary and Secondary Schools as well as Teacher Training Colleges.
IED, EA is working with other agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network on a five-year project called Strengthening Education Systems in East Africa, a joint initiative between Global Affairs Canada and Aga Khan Foundation Canada. The project aims at enhancing and sustaining the learning outcomes of pre-primary and primary girls and boys in marginalized communities within Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. In Tanzania, more than 1,017 educators have received training.
Through its Centre for Continuing Education and Life Long Learning (CELL), which is the outreach arm of the Institute, IED- EA has trained 1,635 primary school teachers in its short certificate courses and workshops in education. The Strengthening Education Systems in East Africa Project (SESEA) stems in East Africa (SESEA) and other projects like Strengthening Teaching and Raising Achievements in Primary Schools (STRAPS) and Fursa kwa Watoto (FkW) (Opportunities for Children), a total of 143,060 children so far (71, 845 girls and 71, 215 boys) have benefitted from IED-EA outreach activities.
Additionally, it is currently implementing a School-wide Literacy Development Project in Dar-es-Salaam and Dodoma regions to motivate and establish a reading culture in Tanzania. The Institute in collaboration with regional and district education offices have introduced Reading Clubs Project in various public schools in the two regions (16 schools in Dodoma region-2 schools in each district and 8 schools in Dar-es-Salaam region). To date, through this project, IED, EA has reached out to 21,341 beneficiaries; these include 12,533 students; 298 teachers; and 8,510 parents.
IED, EA has also published 10 Literacy Books (70,000 copies) that are currently being used in several primary schools in Lindi and Mtwara regions. Seven of these books are in Kiswahili language and 3 are in English. Three titles of these books have been printed in braille so that children who are blind can enjoy reading the story books.
To support dissemination of research and reaching out to the wider community, IED, EA has been able to organize key conferences in Dar-es-Salaam as well as outside Dar-es-Salaam. In 2016, IED, EA organized two conferences through the Annual Research Institute (ARI) with the themes “Early Years’ Education as the Basis for Sustainable Development” and “Education Challenges and Opportunities in Tanzania in the Era of Globalization”. In 2017 another conference was organized under the umbrella of Annual Research Institute (ARI) with a theme on “Education Leadership that Makes a Difference in the 21st Century”. In October 2017, IED, EA will host a conference with a theme “Re-thinking Teacher Education: Improvement, Innovation and Change”, in Kampala, Uganda from October 23rd–25th, 2017.
Achievements in the area of broadening access have challenged the Aga Khan University to ensure that IED, EA are ambassadors for quality education.
Building a strong capacity for educational management is a response to the needs and changing contexts of Tanzania. In line with its vision to serve the developing world, IED, EA has tailored its projects and services to address the obstacles in education which hinder the progress of society. After years of dedicated involvement in Tanzania- IED, EA has established its presence as advocates for literacy, gender inclusiveness, resource development, community developers, research leaders and educational pioneers in East Africa.