The Tanzania Teachers' Professional Board Bill | Analysis

The idea of a Teachers’ Professional Board is an important step in terms of the further professionalization of teaching, bringing this sector in line with others. An independent, impartial and professional board could help to transform the profession and ensure continued high standards. 

1. The objects and reasons for the bill:

In the document presented, the objects and reasons for the bill are at the end of the document.

(i) We recommend that these should be placed at the front of the document bringing it in line with the format of other bills and leading with the reasons for the proposal of this bill and the purpose it seeks to achieve.

(ii) We further recommend that a rationale for the creation of the proposed board be included in the introductory section.

(iii) Questions we asked ourselves that need to be clarified are:

  • Is the proposed board taking on functions that were previously managed elsewhere or are they new?
  • What will be its relationship with existing institutions of teacher professional management, particularly the Teachers’ Service Commission and the teacher registration function which are currently performed by the Inspectorate or School Quality Assurance Department?

2. In the interest of gender sensitivity, we propose that the word he throughout this document be replaced with he/she or s/he and the term his be replaced with his/her.

3. Definitions: Tertiary education needs to be defined further. We propose, in particular, that lecturers and professors are not covered by this bill. They are not, and have not been trained as teachers and there is already a rigorous system to ensure quality and standards in place within universities and colleges.

4. The composition of the Board

In order to fulfil its mission and retain independence and integrity, the board should be selected with professionalism and diversity in mind. Rather than every member being selected by the Minister, we propose that the different institutions select their own representatives to the board, in line with other professions in the country, including among engineers and pharmacists. We also propose that the full spectrum of the teaching profession, covering both governmental and non-governmental providers of education, is represented.

In addition, the Board is silent on term limits or even duration of service for board members, on any disciplinary action for any misconduct and under what circumstances representatives must cease to be board members.

Proposed changes

  • (5)(1)(b) eight qualified members to be selected by and to come from the following institutions
  • (5)(1)(b)(iii) Education professional associations need to be defined. We interpreted this to mean the Tanzania Teachers’ Union. If this is not the case, we propose the inclusion of a representative from the union.
  • (5)(1)(b)(viii) We recommend that a representative from non-governmental/private education providers be included.
  • (5)(1)(b)(ix ->) We propose the inclusion of more representatives from independent institutions and from among teachers themselves on the board.

The addition of sub-articles under Article 5 to cover term limits, disciplinary procedures and the causes and process for removal of board members.

6. Functions of Board

Teacher professional development is coordinated by a number of different government institutions. The proposed board cannot be expected to exert a management function over all of these.

Proposed changes

  • (6)(1)(d) promote and regulate continuing professional development for teachers (we have removed the word control)

7. Powers of Board

The deregistration of teachers and any other disciplinary actions need to be managed carefully and done based on open and fair criteria. Teachers themselves need to have a clear idea of what they can and cannot be de-registered or otherwise sanctioned for. Criminal activities, failure to comply with the conditions of registration and breaches of professional conduct cover a wide spectrum of improper teacher conduct while being specific and clear enough to provide guidelines for teachers and minimize subjectivity from the proposed board.

Proposed changes

Article 7 (c) should be removed because it is unclear and all important reasons for deregistration have been covered by other articles.

8. Appointment of Registrar of Board

The Registrar presents the administrative and executive face of the proposed board. His/her integrity and independence are critical to the successful functioning of the proposed board and to co-operation from teachers. The Act proposes that the Registrar be appointed by the Minister.

Proposed changes

  • (10)(1) A competitive application process shall be put in place among senior professional teachers to select the Registrar of the Board. The Board, in consultation with the Minister, shall have final endorsement rights over the selected candidate.
  • If this proposal is accepted, some work is required to define the parameters of this process. We would be willing to provide inputs and ideas for the management of that process.
  • However, if this is not possible we propose the following change.
  • (10)(1) The Board, in consultation with the Minister, shall appoint from the public service a senior professional teacher to be a Registrar of the Board.

Read the full Twaweza's Analysis on the Tanzania Teachers’ Professional Board Bill here. 

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