Friday, October 15, 2010

"Is our Children learning?"

Shanta Devarajan interviews Rakesh Rajani from Sense Film Production on Vimeo.

I assume many of you by now have already read or learned about the Twaweza's report "Are our Children Learning?" released last month. Above is an excellent interview on this report given by Rakesh Rajani of "Twaweza" and conducted by the Chief Economist for Africa, World Bank, Shanta Devarajan.

Rakesh shares the sobering picture of quality of education in Tanzania despite the country dramatically increasing primary school enrollment and recently receiving an MDG award for the achievement.

Some key findings showing that all this "quantitative success is hollow":

  • About 20 percent of the children who had completed seven years of primary school could not read their own language, Kiswahili, at the Grade 2 level;
  • Half of them could not read English, which is the medium of instruction in secondary education;
  • And about 30 percent could not do a simple (Grade 2) multiplication problem.

So what do we do now? His suggestions:

1) We need to make sure money (budgetary allocation) reaches the schools.

2) A social compact with Teachers to improve their conditions in exchange for better results.

3) Reforming the education system to add more incentives that reward what matters eg cash on delivery.

Other key findings in the report can be read here.

What are your suggestions?