Child care provisions

Published:

A Comparative Study Of Child Care Provisions In England And Tanzania.

Introduction

Much remains unknown about the status of early child development and care in Tanzania and the little information available has never been put together to provide a holistic picture of the progress so far made in this important area. As Mtahabwa (2009) points out, although concerns about early child development and care in Tanzania could be traced from as far back as 1961 when the country attained independence, serious government commitment to cater for children's learning and development needs is a relatively recent development. Major government initiatives happened in the mid 1990s in response to internal and external demands and forces. Since then, early child development and care has gradually been receiving attention from the government, private sector, religious organisations, donor agencies and communities.

History Of Early Child Development And Care In Tanzania

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Tanzania has two separate policies catering for young children's well-being, the Pre-Primary Educational Policy (MOEC 1995) and the Child Development Policy (MCDWCA 1996). Due to their timing they could be attributed more to global forces than to internal demands. This is evident is the historical account of early child development and care in the country (Mtahabwa, 2009).

Colonial Period

Mbise (1996) reports before independence Missionaries established ‘Bush Schools' where they taught the 3Rs and Biblical truth. Along the coast, the Arabs established Madrasa Schools where they concentrated on teaching the Quoran and reading and writing of the Arabic script. However, no written policy is reported to have existed during this time and little is known about the advocated pedagogy, curriculum evaluation and other types of services (Mtahabwa, 2009).

The Period From Independence (1961) To 1981

Mtahabwa (2009) states that, after independence, Tanzania adopted an open door policy where various stakeholders were invited to establish early childhood programmes (Mbise, 1996). Significant development was made in the 1979 International Year of the Child. In a speech to welcome this year, the first president, the late Julius K. Nyerere, paid special attention to children and mothers' well being in Tanzania (Chama Cha Mapinduzi, 1978). He understood that children needed special attention and care because they were central to national development and some of the issues he stressed were good education, healthy, nutrition, water, clean environment and care. However, despite this promising position statement practice virtually remained unaltered. One key feature that characterised efforts in the provision of early child development and care services in this period was the lack of specific custodian. The management of early child development and care oscillated between several ministries without clear coordination and strategies for quality services (Mbise, 2001).

The Period From 1982 To 1994

Mtahabwa (2009) suggests that the Makweta Presidential Commission on Education (URT, 1982) could be used to mark this period as it was assigned the task of evaluating the entire education system and to propose what was needed to be done towards the year 2000. This was the first time in the history of education in Tanzania that it was stated that preschool education had to be treated seriously. By then there was neither policy nor aims and objectives of preschool education. It recommended that the Ministry of Education start preparing pre school teachers to cater for teaching demands in the preschools. It also stipulated that the Ministry of Work and Community Development and the Ministry of Health had to cater for the development and educational needs of the preschool children aged from zero to three years. The Ministry of Education were entrusted children aged three to primary age (URT, 1982). However, no nationally recognised teacher preparation institutions were established in response to this Commission. Furthermore, during this period Tanzania ratified the UNCRC (1989) and the World Declaration on Education for all (1990). As a result in 1990 the government formed the National Task Force to review the Education system and propose one suitable in the twenty-first century (MOEC, 1995). Immediately, a preschool syllabus was developed (Wizara ya Elimu, 1990).

The Period From 1995 To Date

Political And Ideological Rationales

As cited in Therkildsen (2000), Political and ideological rationales have significant influence on public sector reforms, including those of education and decentralization (Carnoy and Samoff, 1990). In Tanzania, the political support for education has been strong since well before independence (Government of Tanzania, 1998). When nationalist movements emerged, their mass mobilization depended upon the promise of a better life, involving struggles against colonial regimes that provided services along racial lines. People were promised free services, such as primary education, in return for political support. After independence, policies emphasized education's role in skills development and modernization, self-reliance and Tanzanian socialism. A key characteristic of policy implementation has been centralized decision making, yet most of the primary education infrastructure existing today was built through co-production between community-based village organisations and government. Another feature has been the shift in political priorities, over the last 20 years, from primary and adult education towards secondary, vocational, technical and tertiary education. This shift is linked to the lack of resource in the primary education sector. This led to dwindling public funds for basic education, and to a growing degree of parental payment. Nevertheless, Tanzania resisted the drastic cuts in education expenditures demanded by the international financial institutions in the late 1980s. Although expenditures on education are still far below the levels of the late 1970s, they actually grew slowly from 1985 to 1994- contrary to the claims of many observers. Lately, government allocations to primary education have fallen again, while donor funding for all levels of education is growing.

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Significant changes in decentralization policies have also occurred over the years (Civil Service Reform Secretariat, 1996). The local government system inherited at Independence-with racial discrimination removed- continued until 1972 when it was then replaced by a system of sub-national administration in which Regional Development Directorates headed by presidentially appointed Regional Commissioners became the focal point. The abolition of local government reflected the leadership's strong belief that technical expertise rather than political participation was necessary for development. This 1972 system, labelled ‘Decentralization' gradually lacked resources, inefficient administration and declining political legitimacy. In 1984 a local government system with elected councils was reintroduced and councils remained highly dependent on more meagre public grants and regional administrations were left intact (Therkildsen, 2000).

The current local government reform has various aims. Regional Administrations will be reduced considerably in size, function and powers and will be left with only monitoring and technical support functions. Councils will be given a clear non-subordinate role in relation to ministries, so that councils will appoint and employ their own teachers and make their own plans, budgets and bye-laws within a national policy and legal framework, while ministries will be left with the responsibility for policy, the setting of standards, and monitoring of sector development. Finally, a new block grant system will allow councils to use public subsidies for local priorities, and this will be supplemented with equalization grants for poorer districts with below average tax bases and infrastructure (Therkildsen, 2000).

Services And Service Providers

Overall, the type, quantity and quality of services delivered to young children in Tanzania tend to differ according to programme ownership, location of programmes and children's ages.

Mtahabwa (2009) states that in the pre-primary educational policy, pre-primary education refers to education for the five to six year olds (MOEC, 1995). Within this age range are nursery schools, daycare centres, kindergartens and Montessori schools but it is not currently clear how these programmes differ in the nature of their operation. The few studies carried out have consistently shown that most of these programmes are academic oriented (Mtahabwa, 2001).

Bibliography

Carnoy, M., & Samoff, J. (1990) Education and Social Transition in the Third World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. As cited in: Therkildsen, O. (2000) ‘Contextual issues in decentralization of primary education in Tanzania'. Internal Journal of Educational Development. Vol. 20, pp. 407-421.

Civil Service Reform Secretariat. (1996) Civil Service Reform Programme: The Local Government Reform Agenda, 1996-2000. Civil Service Department, President's Office, Dar es Salaam. As cited in: Therkildsen, O. (2000) ‘Contextual issues in decentralization of primary education in Tanzania'. Internal Journal of Educational Development. Vol. 20, pp. 407-421.

Chama Cha Mapinduzi. (1978) Mwaka wa watoto mataifa yote 1979: Risala ya Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere kwa Mwaka wa Watoto Desemba 31. Dodoma. Tanzania. As cited in: Mtahabwa, L. (2009) ‘Early child development and care in Tanzania: challenges for the future'. Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 179, (1) pp. 55-67.

Convention on the Rights of the Child. (1989) Available online at: www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm (accessed 11 January 2006) As cited in: Mtahabwa, L. (2009) ‘Early child development and care in Tanzania: challenges for the future'. Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 179, (1) pp. 55-67.

Government of Tanzania. (1998) Public Expenditure Review. Vol. 1, Main Report. World Bank. Dar es Salaam. As cited in: Therkildsen, O. (2000) ‘Contextual issues in decentralization of primary education in Tanzania'. Internal Journal of Educational Development. Vol. 20, pp. 407-421.

Mbise, A. S. (1996) ‘Pre-primary education versus primary education'. Papers of Education and Development. Vol. 16, pp. 39-51. As cited in: Mtahabwa, L. (2009) ‘Early child development and care in Tanzania: challenges for the future'. Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 179, (1) pp. 55-67.

Mbise, A. S. (2001) The multidimensional crisis of education in Tanzania: focus on the pre-primary education, paper presented at the Multidimensional crisis of education in Tanzania: debate and action, conference organised by the Convention of the University of Dar ed Salaam, Convocation Office, October. As cited in: Mtahabwa, L. (2009) ‘Early child development and care in Tanzania: challenges for the future'. Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 179, (1) pp. 55-67.

Ministry of Community Development, Women Affair and Children. (1996) Child Development Policy. Dar es Salaam. As cited in: Mtahabwa, L. (2009) ‘Early child development and care in Tanzania: challenges for the future'. Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 179, (1) pp. 55-67.

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Ministry of Education and Culture. (1995) Education and Training Policy. Dar es Salaam. As cited in: Mtahabwa, L. (2009) ‘Early child development and care in Tanzania: challenges for the future'. Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 179, (1) pp. 55-67.

Mtahabwa, L. (2001) Strategies for promoting family-preschool partnership in Tanzania: focus on holistic preschool education. M.A dissertation, Faculty of Education. University of Dar es Salaam. As cited in: Mtahabwa, L. (2009) ‘Early child development and care in Tanzania: challenges for the future'. Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 179, (1) pp. 55-67.

Mtahabwa, L. (2009) ‘Early child development and care in Tanzania: challenges for the future'. Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 179, (1) pp. 55-67.

Therkildsen, O. (2000) ‘Contextual issues in decentralization of primary education in Tanzania'. Internal Journal of Educational Development. Vol. 20, pp. 407-421.

United Republic Of Tanzania. (1982) Educational system in Tanzania towards the year 2000. Recommendations of the 1982 Presidential Commission on Education as Approved by the Party and Government (Makweta Report). Dar es Salaam. As cited in: Mtahabwa, L. (2009) ‘Early child development and care in Tanzania: challenges for the future'. Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 179, (1) pp. 55-67.

Wizara ya Elimu. (1990) Muhtasari wa elimu ya awali. Dar es Salaam. As cited in: Mtahabwa, L. (2009) ‘Early child development and care in Tanzania: challenges for the future'. Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 179, (1) pp. 55-67.

World Declaration on Education for All. (1990) Available online at: www.unesco.org/education/efa/ed_for_all/background/world_conference_jomtien.shtml (accessed 5 May 2006). As cited in: Mtahabwa, L. (2009) ‘Early child development and care in Tanzania: challenges for the future'. Early Child Development and Care. Vol. 179, (1) pp. 55-67.

ECLES3003 Independent Inquiry 11/12/2009 - 1 -