Are Our Children Learning? Uwezo Tanzania Sixth Learning Assessment Report

Among children aged 9 to 13, many are unable to complete Standard 2 work and the differences between districts are huge. In Iringa Urban, the best performing district, 74% of children aged 9 to 13 are able to pass basic literacy tests in English and Kiswahili and basic numeracy tests, while the corresponding figure in Sikonge is 15%.

Regionally, 64% of children in Dar es Salaam aged 9 to 13 years are able to pass the three tests while 23% of their peers in Katavi can do the same.

Four out of ten children (42%)  in ultra-poor households passed all three tests compared to close to six out of ten (58%) of their counterparts in non-poor households. These differences show that locational factors exert a far greater influence on learning outcomes than poverty and other variables often thought to be linked to educational achievement.

These findings were released by Uwezo Tanzania at Twaweza in a report entitled Are our children learning? The Sixth Uwezo Tanzania Annual Learning Assessment Report 2017. The report is based on data collected by Uwezo Tanzania which is part of Africa’s largest citizen-led assessment of learning outcomes implemented in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. In the sixth round of data collection by Uwezo Tanzania in 2015, a total of 197,451 children were assessed from 68,588 households. Data were also collected from 4,750 primary schools.

Overall learning outcomes remain low against curriculum expectations in all three subjects tested, at Standard 2 level, for the Uwezo Annual Learning Assessment. Among pupils in Standards 3 and 7:

  • 1 out of 10 (13%) Standard 3 pupils could read English story, 5 out of 10 (48%) Standard 7 pupils could do the same.
  • 6 out of 10 (56%) Standard 3 pupils could read a Kiswahili story, 9 out of 10 (89%) Standard 7 could do the same.
  • 3 out of 10 (35%) Standard 3 pupils were able to do multiplication, 9 out of 10 (78%) Standard 7 pupils were able to do the same 

However there are some positive findings: between 2011 and 2015 the pass rates for Kiswahili among Standard 3 pupils almost doubled from 29% to 56%. In Standard 7, the pass rate has increased from 76% to 89% during the same period. Although this still indicates that many pupils especially in lower grades are falling behind of curriculum expectations, there is cause for optimism. There is an indication that concerted efforts of government, including the support of donor partners, to focus on early grade literacy skills through a range of programs, are beginning to pay off.

Similarly the pupil to textbook ratio has seen rapid improvements moving from 30 pupils sharing a book in 2013, to 8 pupils sharing one book in 2014, down to 3 pupils sharing a book in 2015. These data clearly show the rate of change that is possible with strong and well-managed interventions.

On the other hand, this Uwezo report provides strong indications that enrolments are declining, especially in rural areas. In 2011, 77% of pupils aged 7 were enrolled in primary school compared to 55% in 2015. When considering enrolment of the same age group in any educational institution (including pre-school), the figures have dropped from 86% in 2011 to 81% in 2015. Further analysis shows that these declines are happening almost exclusively in rural areas: the enrolment among pupils aged 7, in any educational institution (including pre-school) dropped from 84% in 2011 to 78% in 2015. In urban areas the corresponding figures are 94% (2011) and 93% (2015). Similarly rural enrolment rates show declines among all age groups while urban enrolments have remained stable.

Overall one out of four teachers (25%) were absent from school on the day of the assessment. Similarly, three out of ten pupils (29%) were absent from school on the same day. This limits pupil -teacher contact hours and can limit learning.

Read more: annual learning assessment



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