Master Rose Ephraim Matete
Title of dissertation:
How have decentralization and school-based decision-making policies and practices improved and/ or hindered accountability and performance management in the provision of educational services in Tanzania?..
This study investigated whether the decentralisation of primary school management under school committees can contribute to teacher accountability in terms of their teaching. Data was collected from ten primary schools in Kinondoni Municipality in Dar es Salaam and Mbeya City in Mbeya region at five schools in each district through open-ended questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, focus-group discussions (FGDs) and documentary analysis. The study involved 108 informants, of whom 90 were primary school classroom teachers, 10 were headteachers, 6 were school committee members and 2 were district education officers (DEOs).
The key findings are as follows:
- The school committees’ main responsibility relates to controlling pupil truancy. The school committees concentrate their attention on standard-VII leaving-examination results rather than on ensuring that schools improve performance at all levels from standards I to VII.
- The ward education coordinators (WECs) and the headteachers’ focus in supervising the work of the teachers includes checking lesson plans, schemes of work, teachers’ attendance and pupils’ work.
- Teachers would like to see the school committee members deal with all matters pertaining to school-development plans except for the classroom, and feel that supervision should be left to WECs, school inspectors and headteachers, as they are members of the educational profession.
- The provision of capitation grants (CGs) and development grants (DGs) has been reduced and that schools are not receiving funds in accordance with pupils’ enrolment. This adversely affects the environment in which education is provided.
- The Open Performance Review and Appraisal System (OPRAS), which was introduced as a mechanism to enforce teachers’ accountability for their teaching, was abandoned after a few years of implementation in both the Kinondoni Municipality of Dar es Salaam and in Mbeya City.
- Teachers held the view that using OPRAS forms to evaluate their work was impractical in Tanzanian primary schools due to congested classrooms, a massive shortage of desks, and shortages of both teaching and learning materials.
The study concludes that although the involvement of communities in school-development plans is important, it remains the government’s responsibility to intervene and safeguard schools where there seems to be problems. The situation observed in the visited schools points to the deterioration in the quality of the basic conditions for education and is a major reason why teachers cannot be held solely accountable for their pupils’ weak performance. The government needs to respond urgently through the provision of desks and with measures to control the congestion in order to improve the environment in which education is provided in the country.