high school blues

I’m alive, I can speak Kiswahili a little better this week than last week, and everything is going well. I also started teaching this past week, which has been both really cool and really frustrating. So I thought I’d fill you in on my basic frustrations with the Tanzanian school system.

So at the end of primary school the students take a national test which will determine whether or not they go on to secondary school, they also take a test at the end of form 2, form 4 and form 6 in secondary school. If they don’t pass the test with high enough marks they can’t go on past form 4, they get one try. Similarly with form 6, without high enough marks they can’t go on to University (nevermind the issue of paying for university). Now the problem with these tests is that they cover a ridiculous amount of information in every subject, they are frequently riddled with spelling errors and other mistakes making them difficult to dicipher, and cheating is rampant. Also the students are expected to understand many experiments in the science fields that they have never seen or had the materials to perform. The system seems doomed to fail the students from the beginning.

I know this isn’t explained the clearest, hopefully I’ll have time to fully explain it later.

Comments: 2 Comments

2 Comments on “high school blues”

  1. Larry Clemens Says:

    The academic form system sound a lot like it was inappropriately borrowed from Euro countries like Germany and Great Britan (and likely many others). In these countries students have relatively equal access to quality education and the form system limits the pressure on higher education to take on too many applicants.

  2. M Says:

    It sounds like it creates a lot of pressure and frustration for teachers. Which level are you teaching? How big are classroom sizes? Do you get to see what is on these tests?


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