Instead of building the capacity of solving problem confronting their societies, education in Tanzania and African in general has been for decades used as an instrument of oppression. Do you know why? If you happen to read the book by Paulo Freire, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” although reading is not our culture, you will overtly see how the education has become an instrument of oppression. Oppression in the sense that, our education system is suffering from narration sickness. The teacher narrates and the students receive without questioning. Freire says;
The outstanding characteristic of narrative education then is the sonority of words, not their transforming power. Four times four is sixteen; the Capital of Para is Belen”. The student records, memorizes and repeats these phrases without perceiving what four time four really means, or realizing the true significance of capital in the affirmation, ‘the capital Para is Belin, that is what Belem means for Para and what Para means for Brazil…(p.52).
Do you remember when you used to memorize, “Kilimo cha kakao…Ghana? Did you ever ask your teacher for example why in Ghana and not in Tanzania? Don’t you see if this is oppression of the minds? Teachers think on behalf of students. This is pure colonization of minds if I am to use the words by Steve Biko.
The logic behind is that memorization to pass examination with flying color and get good job remains the tenet of Tanzanian education system. Students don’t read books to learn new ideas but concentrating on past papers to pass exams. I remember one of my professors said: “The most stupid student is he who studies under the guidelines of past papers”. This is the culture and some students pay a lot of money to make copies of past exams and not books. Niccollo Machiavelli’s theory, “the end justifies the means” is highly used in Tanzania academic backyard because to get good job depends on the clean certificates one has. Today we have people with good certificates which don’t reflect their professional performance. Read the following discussion from Jamii Forum on “Sababu gani MBA ya Mzumbe inaitwa maharage ya Mbeya”. One discussant says;
Teh Teh Teh! (Laughing)
MBA ya Mzumbe inamajina mengi, wengine tumezoea kuisikia ikiitwa Voda Fasta, yaani ndani ya miezi sita hadi saba unakua na cheti tena mitihani yenyewe unapewa a list of questions (almost 20 or so) from which UE [examination] will be picked out of those questions, Shame on you Mzumbe, hata employers wameshaistukia long ago, yani mtu kamaliza MBA lakini hana analolijua, kama mtoto wa first year, Kuna rafiki yangu anasema akimaliza tu pale anatafuta MBA chuo kingine asome kwani katoka kapa!
Another discussant speaking from experience;
Kwa 7bu hakuna ufuatiliaji wa karibu katika usimamizi wa assignments, maks za test na mitihani zinatolewa kirahisi sana sometyms hata kwa ‘kubagein’ na lecturer, some courses za MBA lecturers wake ni Masters Holders, Katika suala zima la research au dissertation ambazo ni requirements za kukamilisha hizo MBA na masters nyingine, most of the time hazipiti kama hujamhonga supervisor wako. Utarudishiwa drafts zaweza hata kufika kumi mpaka utakapotoa kitu kidogo ndo zinapita. Speaking From Experience.
Some individual are unhappy with how the people analyze the MBA of Mzumbe. One discussant says:
Maharage ya Mbeya yana sifa ya kuiva haraka, utamu na wingi wa vitamini. Kwa hiyo kama MBA za Mzumbe zinaitwa Maharage ya Mbeya kwa sababu hiyo sina tatizo ila kuzibeza eti kwa kuwa wanafunzi wanafuzu haraka na wanakuwa hawajapikika vizuri siwezi kukubali. Kigezo pekee cha ubora wa MBA ni labour market yaani kukidhi mahitaji ya waajiri. Tatizo kama kuna lecturers wanatoa marks au maswali kwa wanafunzim kabla ya mtihani ni tatizo binafsi na wala siyo mwongozo wa Chuo Kikuu Mzumbe, na tatizohili linapingwa kwenye nyanja zote za akademia.Vilevile matatizo ya mwajiri aliyekataa kupa kazi graduate wa Mzumbe nayo ni personal weakness ya huyo candidate ambayo hayana uhusiano na chuo. Unahitaji kuwa kipofu kabisa na mbumbumbu ilim kubeza uwezo wa Mzumbe University katika fani za biashara, uhasibu, HR (afisa utumishi), Uchumi na katika nchi hii kwani kuna tafiti zilikwisha fanywa na taasisi kama ESAURP kuonyesha ubora wa wahitimu wa Mzumbe katika soko la ajira. Ukiangalia demand tu ya wanaotaka kusoma Mzumbe Universitykwenye campus ya Dar es Salaam itakushawishi tu kuona kuwa hiyo ni hot cake.
Another discussant responds:
we nae cjui hata umetokea wapi,kuna chuo kinatoa wanafunzi ambao hawajui lolote kama mzumbe hapa tz?unakuta m2 ana masterz lakin hana tofauti na 1st year student…peleka huu ujinga wako huko huko mzumbe na co hapa kwa jukwaa la great thinkers.
What do you expect from a graduate who is a product from this education system? Can this person demonstrate mastery in science? Science in the sense that capacity to explain a phenomenon in terms of its causes, the testing of these explanations by repeated experiments in order to have predictable results and the ability to apply this exact knowledge of causes and results to the solution of human capacity. Science needs one to conduct researches and publish them for diffusions of knowledge to the people. People should be reading these publications and find intellectual answers to their problems. Can science be demonstrated if research marks are provided out through burgeoning kama njugu. Students know that there are ways to gain marks why should they engage in trouble to study hard. One discussant above says, “Katika suala zima la research au dissertation ambazo ni requirements za kukamilisha hizo MBA na masters nyingine, most of the time hazipiti kama hujamhonga supervisor wako”. This tells us that most of the theses are a result of kitu kidogo.
Research is the engine of any university that is why developed countries governments rely on universities to solve their problems but African governments don’t bring problems in universities. Do you know why? Many governments’ leaders in African are graduates from African universities so probably they know all the ways. For example road accident is claiming to cause the death of ten people every day. In 1998 and 2007 scholars from university of Dar es Salaam conducted research on the issues and provided the recommendations on how to solve the problem but no any implementation was shown up.
It is true that our education system has failed to show up. Do you know why? 50 years after independence our universities have been producing medical doctors, but heart surgeries are done in India. Business and economic courses are offered in many Tanzania’s universities and colleges, but our economic situation remains terrible. People are graduating from journalism institutions and universities of which are expected to work as watch dog of the government, champions of democracy, rule of law as well as voice of the voiceless but a lot of injustices are going on all over the country unreported or rarely reported.
We train engineers of every kind, civil to mechanic but 50 years of independence we have not seen the Tanzania made cars like Japan Made Toyota. Something even worse there is no dream that one day we shall consume the made in Tanzania car, mobile phone, music system etc. Probably efforts are being done, let me not despair, because despair is for the defeated. Fifty years of independence the country goes without umeme although we have hundreds of electronic engineers graduating each year. Today if the day passes without power cut people should ask kulikoni?
The tender for road constructions are secured by foreigners while our native engineers wanashangaashangaa with their clean certificates. Tanzania Board of Engineering is doing nothing rather than collecting of membership fees. Toothless or their engineers are poor. “Our Engineers have no facilities” is often a response when asked why they don’t secure construction tenders. Why can’t they use their skills to manufacture theirs? We should not be going to colleges and spend a lot of money learning how to use the technology that was invented by others, rather we need to invent ours.
“Nachukua computer course nimemaliza Microsoft” are popularly words from many Tanzania paying a lot of money learning how to consume the product of Bill Gates and get certificates for completing computer course. Who should be rewarded this certificate if not Bill Gates? ICT condition in Tanzania is under Intensive Care Unit although people are attending ICT courses and graduate with clean certificates. We need to know that lack of internet in this age of information technology makes we Tanzania remain losers in this Global Village or Flat World. Do you know why? Almost everything we do, in our everyday life, is influenced or controlled by ICT system. The ICT has guaranteed freedom to people for collecting, handling and distributing information all over the world through emails, blogs, Face book, cell phones, voice mail, teleconferencing and video conferencing.
Sokoine University for Agriculture has been there for decades but the tale of Tanzanians to go without food is very common. Something even worse is that some local agriculture products are very expensive that the exported ones. Agree? “mayai ya kuku wa kienyeji yanabei kweli kuliko ya kuku wa kizungu” is a popular statement that is found among akinamama wa kitanzania.
Nyama na Maziwa for significant majority of Tanzanians kwao ni kitoweo. This shows that we are doing nothing to widen agriculture sector in the country. The tale of Kilimo Kwanza is even very interesting because the project benefit people in Dar es Salaam where there is no mashamba.
Geologists’ graduates are happy to be employed and work under the supervisions of foreigners. “Nafukuzia kazi mgodini bwana, ila sijui kama hawa wazungu wataniajri, maana ninavyeti na nimepiga fresh” are phrases often from geology graduates. What do you expect the colonizer of yesterday would do for you today?
Now we are buying contaminated fishes from Japan although we are surrounded by water bodies. To test whether the fishes are contaminated we have taken samples to where the fish had come from. What should we expect? Hivi what is mwanakemia mkuu wa serikali doing?
Study hard and get good grades and you will find a high- paying job with great benefit”
Are you studying to get employment, adjust your salary or upate pesheni kubwa utakapostaafu?…
“Only the Educated are Free”.
Epictetus (55 AD – 135 AD), Discourses