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THE CHALLENGES FACING THE PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS IN THEIR TEACHING CAREER IN TANZANIA. A CASE OF MBOGWE DISTRICT, GEITA REGION
1.1Background of the Problem
In Tanzania, majority of teachers in government schools are suffering from various challenges. One among those challenges is concerning with payments. Teachers are entitled to be paid salary, leave allowances and arrears when they get promotion.
Teachers’ payment problem emerged since the government started to implement Structural Adjustment Programme (SAPs) conditional ties particularly in the mid of 1980s. Prior to the implement action of SAPs conditional ties teachers were paid salaries, leave allowances, transport allowance, rent allowance and teaching allowance. One of the conditional ties imposed by World Bank and IMF through SAPS was the reduction in public spending on social services including education at all levels (Brock Utne, 2006). The reduction of public social services affected teachers’ payments which lead to the challenges to the teachers as follow, rent allowance; motivation, transport allowance and teaching allowances were no longer provided.
The removal of the above mentioned allowances led to financial constraint to teachers, they were forced to depend solely on their salary. This situation affected their standard of living and causes multiple socio-economic problems which have adverse result on students’ learning. Millman (1985) argues that when the teachers who arrive at schools and are insecure about health protection, financial security for their families, and work in poor and cramped working conditions, they are in poor condition to demonstrate their highest level of proficiency. Similarly, Bakahwemama (2010) noted that the motivation for teaching comes from good payment. A good salary helps teachers to meet their basic needs and concentrate on teaching activities while low salary discourages teachers to teach effectively.
In a study done by Sylvia and Hutchinson (1985) in the USA, among 167 teachers, found that teacher motivation is due to freedom to try out new ideas, assignment of appropriate responsibility levels and intrinsic work elements. The study shows that true job satisfaction is derived from the gratification of higher-order needs rather than lower-order needs that lead to handle their various problems.
According to United Nations (1948) Human rights article 26 of the universal Declaration states that “Everyone has equal right to education regardless of his/her sex, race color, religion and nation”. This statement seemed to be meaningless with the absence of motivation to teachers. Teachers are not paid enough salaries compared to the workload and the duration they stay in the office as the result their morale decline and hence failure of fulfilling educational objectives as well as education policies. When the problems become acute teachers decide to boycott and withdraw entering in the classrooms.
Studies conducted by Glewwe et al (2003) indicate that absenteeism of teachers in
Kenya ranks 20%. Uganda’s absenteeism of teachers is as higher as 26% and Madagascar suffers from the same difficulties. Teacher motivation has become an essential issue given their responsibility to impart knowledge and skills to learners.
Studies revealed that the performance of teachers was good regardless of the fact that their motivation was inadequate.
In addition, a number of teachers do their activities with high morale such as reporting early to school, regular testing and examination of pupils and high turn up of teachers in staff meetings and school occasions mention a few. In order to improve teacher challenges and performance at work, the study recommended the increase of salary for primary school teachers to match with the increasing cost of living standard of life, providing of accommodation to teachers, strengthening of management as well as giving prizes for good performance among teachers.
Sumra (2003) who claims that “teachers are facing many and complex problems in
Tanzania. These problems range from low salaries to low status”. Teachers feel that their concerns are not addressed. Since these concerns remain uncertain then teachers feel demoralized and the quality of education including students’ leaning is bound to suffer.
John (2010) indicates that: Government schools do not offer quality education because teachers are demoralized to work effectively due to low salaries they get, uncertainty system for promotion and poor treatment they are getting from the government. Also the school environment does not motivate students to learn, and the status of the classrooms is not attractive at all this implies that teachers’ commitment to teach effectively is much affected by their payments. However, Fry
(2003), researched on ‘What makes teachers Tick’ his findings revealed that the expenditure of teachers per month are not equal to their salary. HakiElimu and TTU
(2004) conducted a study to investigate teachers’ payment in Tanzania and realized the teachers are earning less than what is required for their human survival. On the other hand John (2010), Bakahwemama (2010) and Davidson, (2005), pointed out the issue of teachers’ payment is one among the factors which motivated teachers to work effectively.
Moreover, the initiatives of Education Training Policy (ETP) in 1995, Education
Sector Development Programme (ESDP) in 2001 and Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP) in 2002 aimed to assist to offer formal education for Tanzania children, improving teaching and learning environment and improving teacher’s motivation (MOEVT, 2009). Generally, structure of teacher’s payment shares most of the pervasive characteristics of public sector payment systems in developing countries. In particular, formal education and professional education mainly determine salary levels. The salary scales for both primary and secondary schools teachers are often very flat with very small salary increments awarded on the basis of seniority or experience, with little or no link with actual job performance
(Akyeampong et al., 2007).
To address the problem of teachers and education in the country, some national efforts and strategies have been put in place; for example, in the years 1999, 2005 and 2010 the government implemented Salary/Pay Reform which aimed at increasing salaries among the servants (Lambert, 2004; Mutahaba, 2005; United
Republic of Tanzania [URT], 2010). It was hoped that an increase of salary would lead to the improvement of performance in the education sector (World Bank, 1990). In 2007, the Teacher Development and Management Strategy (TDMS) was also developed to provide a comprehensive, holistic, and an all-encompassing strategy to deal with, among other issues, teachers’ training and recruitment, deployment and motivation (TDMS, 2007). Moreover, in 1997 Education Sector Development
Programme (ESDP) was developed, and also Secondary Education Development
Plan (SEDP) for the period 2004 – 2009 and Primary Education Development Plan (PEDP) for the period 2001 – 2006, 2007 – 2011 were also developed, all with the same purpose of improving the education sector by increasing access, improve equity and quality of primary and secondary schools in Tanzania (URT, 2007).
Under these programmes, the emphasis has been on increasing enrollment,
construction of school buildings as well as teaching and learning facilities schools. In order to cater for the evident shortage of teachers in schools, the government made an initiative to increase the number of teachers in both primary and secondary schools. But the means of accommodating Teachers’ problems were not well affirmed (HakiElimu, 2007).
Therefore, this study seeks to assess thechallenges facing the public primary school teachers in their teaching career together with the ways it affects teaching profession as well as students’ learning in Tanzania, a case of Mbogwe district in Geita.