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RISE Tanzania: How can we turn schools into learning communities?

For the past five years, Uwezo Tanzania has consistently found that children aged 7-16 are unable to master Grade 2 level literacy and numeracy skills. In response, Twaweza has begun exploring possible solutions or leverage areas in the education sector that could have a strong effect on learning outcomes if addressed. Our research areas include the curriculum, teacher motivation, and school leadership.

At the same time, a consortium of international partners have come together and created Research in Improving Systems of Education (RISE). RISE is a new, multi-year program to build an understanding of the design and implementation of successful education reforms through rigorous, primary research spanning multiple developing countries. The initiative is a partnership between CGD, Oxford Policy Management, and the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University with funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Its focus is on systems—governance, accountability, information, financing, management, and the politics of reform.

In Tanzania, Twaweza is part of the RISE country team.

On 14 July at COSTECH, a Stakeholder Reference Group meeting took place to explore areas of interest for research. Chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST), Dr. Leonard Akwilapo, the meeting saw participants put forward a number of recommendations centred on turning schools into learning communities.

  • The government should make information on learning outcomes and performance of schools more available to parents.
  • Disseminate information on the existing accountability mechanisms in terms of delivering learning outcomes.
  • Make sure that the school ranking system and how the ranking is decided is known to the public
  • Teacher motivation needs to look beyond cash incentives

Recommendations for research areas

  • The research should reflect how Competency-based Curriculum (CBC) reform can be implemented and used to improve learning outcomes, otherwise, it risks becoming irrelevant.
  • The research should include a quality assurance aspect, as well as assessing if CBC can realistically be implemented in a learning environment that is over-crowded and under-resourced.
  • The research should broaden the stakeholders and actors in the delivery chain of CBC, including the role of the university itself, particularly in training teachers and curriculum research.
  • The research should look into how the curriculum at teacher training colleges is aligned with CBC. The research should also consider the role of classroom environment, can CBC be implemented well given current classroom environments?

Participants included: Twaweza, Georgetown University, the University of Dar es salaam, COSTECH, Tusome pamoja, EQUIP Tanzania, GPE-LANES, MOEST and NECTA.

Read more: learning outcomes RISE what works in education

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