Namtumbo District launches incentive fund for teachers

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Namtumbo district authorities in Ruvuma region have established a special fund aimed at motivating teachers to enable them lead better lives in their workplace.

“Currently we are preparing a draft of the law which will govern this fund,” Namtumbo District Executive Director Musa Zungiza told this paper in an interview.

“The aim of this fund is to improve the living conditions of teachers and create a conducive working environment and, possibly, to attract more teachers to work here,” he said.

He said to boost the fund, the district authorities will involve all education stakeholders and the entire population (currently estimated at more than 600,000 people) to ensure that it succeeds in its endeavour of improving the education sector in the district, which is endowed with fertile virgin land and uranium deposits.

“We want to involve all ordinary citizens to ensure they also play a cardinal role in improving education for the future of their children,” Zungiza said.

The envisaged fund, he said, is expected to have many sources of soliciting money to supplement government efforts in revamping the ailing education sector.

Like other areas in Tanzania, Namtumbo district secondary schools experience an acute shortage of teachers, especially in science subjects.

According to Lydia Herbert, the District Secondary School Academic Officer, the district, with a secondary school student population of 9,812, needs 315 teachers compared to the current figure of 208 teachers.

“We’re experiencing a shortage of science teachers. Now we have 35 science teachers compared to our target of 75 to satisfy the requirements of each of the 24 government-run secondary schools,” she said.

She said to solve the problem, Ruvuma regional authorities have formulated a strategy of training such group of teachers at the Mbinga district training centre where lessons are offered to enable selected candidates adopt a teaching methodology without the use of such gadgets as test tubes.

“These are the deliberate efforts we’re taking to ensure that science teachers are available in our secondary schools. We’re also promoting and encouraging students to study science subjects as a way of preparing them for the teaching profession,” Herbert said.

Apart from shortage of teachers, Namtumbo also exfaces a housing crisis of this cadre of professionals in secondary schools.

About 124 of the 208 secondary school teachers in the district are staying in rented houses while 84 are accommodated in the few school buildings available.

Selected heads of secondary of secondary schools interviewed by this paper said the housing crisis demoralises teachers being posted to the district, some of whom abscond upon experiencing harsh living conditions.

“We appeal to government and other education stakeholders to consider the plight of teachers as far as the housing crisis is concerned,” the academic master of Narwi Secondary School Michael Kabogo appealed.

“Some teachers spent a substantial amount of money from their meagre salaries just for paying rent and travelling expenses. Do you think such teachers lead better lives when they are in a financial crisis,” he queried.

Some education stakeholders interviewed here said “teachers need a better deal” if Tanzania is serious in facing the challenges of the emerging new world of science and technology.

“We must honour our teachers if we’re serious in revitalising our ailing education sector. Teachers are the root of our education system… if they live in deplorable conditions our education system is in shambles,” said 70-year-old Yassin Reha, a resident in Namtumbo town.

Source The Guardian

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