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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Safarini Kigali!

Ndugu Wadadisi wa blogu hii kesho naelekea Kigali na Butare, Rwanda kwenda kujumuika, kuhuishwa na kudadisi. Kwa muda mrefu nimekuwa sana na hamu ya kuiona nchi hii ambayo ilijikita kwenye fikra zetu kwa namna ya pekee katikati ya miaka ya 90. Ni matumaini yangu kuwa nitapata mengi ya kusimulia kwenye blogu hii nikiwa huko au, Inshallah, nitakaporejea kutoka huko. Jalia na awabariki na kuwavusha salama salimini kuelekea mwaka mpya. Amen!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kulikoni kizazi cha MMEM/PEDP?

Matokeo ya darasa la 7 ya wale wanafunzi waliojiunga na darasa la kwanza mwaka ambao MMEM/PEDP ilianza rasmi, yaani 2001, yametolewa rasmi jana. Vyombo vya habari vimemkariri Waziri wa Elimu na Mafunzo ya Ufundi akitoa takwimu za matokeo hayo. Kwa kweli zinasikitisha. 54.18% ya wanafunzi 419,198 waliofanya mtihani ndio 'wamefaulu'. Inasemekana kuwa kiwango hiki kimeshuka kwa 16.3% kutoka kwenye kiwango cha 70.4% kilichorekodiwa mwaka jana.

Bila shaka wadadisi wa masuala ya elimu wameshaanza kugonganisha vichwa vyao kuhusu matokeo haya. Itakumbukwa kuwa kwa kipindi kirefu wadau wa Elimu kama vile TEN/MET na HAKIELIMU wamekuwa wakilivalia njuga suala la kuhakikisha kuwa 'Wingi wa wanafunzi'(Quantity)unaendana na 'Ubora wa Elimu '(Quality). Ni dhahiri kuwa matokeo haya ni uthibitisho tosha kuwa 'Elimu bora' ni muhimu kuliko 'Bora Elimu'.

Kwa uchambuzi wa changamoto/uwiano/ukinzani wa 'wingi na ubora' kwenye nyanja ya elimu soma makala ya 'Shall we address Mwalimu Nyerere's unanswered question' kwenye hifadhi ya blogu hii.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Utawitinesi kesi dhidi ya kiingereza kortini?

Kizazi kipya kinazidi kuingia deep katika kumuvuzisha maneno ya Kiingereza kwenye Kiswahili bila kujali kanuni za kutohoa. Ni dhahiri kuwa hali hii ndio 'imepelekea' ticha mmoja mdadisi aamue kutinga kortini kuinusuru jeneresheni hii ya bongo flava. Kwa mujibu wa gazeti la The Citizen la Jumatatu hii, mwalimu huyo ataishtaki Wizara ya Elimu na Mafunzo ya Ufundi kwa kukataa kwa makusudi kutumia lugha ya Kiswahili kufundishia katika ngazi zote za elimu nchini Tanzania. Amenukuliwa akisema kuwa watoto wetu na taifa 'limesafa sana' kutokana na hilo.

Inasemekana mwalimu huyu amefanya risechi mbalimbali na kuhojiana na wadau mbalimbali kupruvu athari zilizosababishwa na kufosi madenti wafundishwe kwa lugha ya Inglishi. Pia amefanya dibeti nyingi na madenti ambao wengi wao wamekiri kuwa wanapasi pepa kwa kuwa wanakremu. Ticha huyu aliyeritaya kufundisha sekondari anasisitiza kuwa ana sapoti ya nguvu kutoka kwa Baraza la Kiswahili (BAKITA).

Aironikali, gazeti la leo la The Citizen linaripoti kuwa Jaji mkuu wa Zanzibar ameishauri Serikali ikifanye Kiswahili kuwa lugha ya mawasiliano katika korti za Visiwani. Jaji huyo amekiri kuwa waendesha mashitaka wengi 'hawako vizuri' katika Kiingereza. Inasemekana kuwa advaisi yake iko paraleli na vyuz za Jaji mkuu wa Tanzania. Hakika chenchezi hizi zikitokea basi 'zitamwezesha' ticha kuishtaki vizuri Wizara husika kuhusu suala la lugha ya kufundishia. Mdadisi anauliza, je tutakwenda kuwa witinesi kwenye kesi hiyo au tutabakia kudadisi tu?

Kwa udadisi zaidi soma makala ya 'Can we teach what we don't know?' iliyohifadhiwa katika blogu hii - bado blogu ina changamoto ya kiteknolojia mambo yakiwa supa basi linki za makala hizi n.k. zitakuwa zinasetiwa humu humu ili msomaji uweze kuzibofya izili, yaani, kiurahisi.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wadadisi wa Nyamagana kutinga kortini!

Lile sakata la Nyamagana ambalo lidadisiwa jana katika blogu hii inasemekana limechukua sura mpya. Kwa mujibu wa The Citizen la leo wakazi wapatao 8 wa Mwanza watatinga kortini kesho ili kuzuia ujenzi wa hoteli ya 'nyota tano' inayotaka kujengwa na wawekezaji katika uwanja huu wa umma.

Kama ilivyokuwa enzi za mkoloni wa kale ambapo kwa namna moja au nyingine wananchi walipambana ili kulinda rasilimali zao hasa rasilimali 'mama', yaani ardhi, basi ndivyo ilivyo leo katika enzi za ukoloni mamboleo. Wakati wapo watu wanaoamini kuwa hakuna linalowezekana bado wapo wananchi ambao wanaamini kuwa hakuna lisilowezekana. Imani hii wameijenga kutokana na jinsi ambavyo historia ya kale na ya leo inavyoonesha kuwa inawezekana.

Kwa mfano kundi hili la wakazi wa Mwanza linanunukuliwa likisema kuwa licha ya kwenda kortini pia litatumia 'Nadharia ya Msitu wa Mabira' wakati wa mapambano ya kundi lao linalojiita 'Okoa Uwanja wa Nyamagana'. Kwa wale wafuatiliaji wa harakati za kulinda rasilimali basi watakumbuka kilichotokea mwaka huu huko Uganda ambapo wananchi wenye uchungu na nchi yao walisimama kidete kupinga jaribio la kuuza eneo la msitu wa Mabira kwa mwekezaji wa kigeni.

Wakati huohuo mahakama ya rufaa imeizuia kampuni ya simenti kuzihamisha familia 1,000 kutoka kwenye kijiji cha Chasimba. Hii nayo inathibitisha kuwa mapambano ya haki huzaa matunda. Hakika huu ni wakati wa wadadisi kuudadisi mfumo wa mgawanyo wa madaraka nchini na kupambana ili mahakama iwe na uhuru na nguvu ya kuhakikisha maamuzi yake yanatekelezwa bila kutoingiliwa na zile nguzo zingine' mbili za utawala, yaani 'Bunge' na 'Serikali'!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Heri Mkoloni wa Nyamagana?

Hayawi hayawi sasa tunaambiwa yamekuwa. Kwa mujibu wa gazeti la leo la The Citizen, uamuzi wa kuvunja uwanja wa kihistoria wa Nyamagana uliopo mjini Mwanza ili kuwapisha wawekezaji umekwishafikiwa. Uwanja huo ulisanifiwa enzi za mkoloni na Dokta John Thoburn Williamson wa Williamson Diamonds Limited. Uwanja huo ulijengwa mahsusi kwa ajili ya wakazi wa Mwanza ambao mababu na mabibi zao walipoteza maisha yao kwa ajili ya wakoloni kwenye Vita Kuu ya Pili. Hivyo, kwa kipindi kirefu wakazi wa mji huo, wakiwamo watoto, walikuwa na uhuru wa kuutumia uwanja huu. Je, sasa wataipata fursa hiyo lini, wapi, na vipi?

Katika dunia ya leo ya 'utandawazi' ambayo inahubiri kuwa wawekezaji wana wajibu kwa jamii (corporate social responsibility) kunakuwa na utata pale wawekezaji wanapowezeshwa kwa nguvu za dola kutoiwajibikia jamii. Mkoloni mmoja aliwahi kusisitiza kuwa hakuna kitu chochote kinachoweza kumfidia mwafrika aliyenyang'anywa ardhi yake. Kama wakoloni na ubaya wao wote waliweza kufikiria walau kidogo kuhusu wajibu kwa jamii waliyoitawala je tunapata picha gani kuhusu ukoloni mamboleo pale tunaposhuhudia ukikiuka hata misingi ya huduma kwa jamii iliyoachwa na ukoloni wa kale? Je, 'Heri Mkoloni kuliko Mkoloni Mamboleo'?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Imagine!

Imagine you are staying in a green house, imagine all the houses around you are green, and so are all the trees and flowers around. Just keep on imagining. Imagine you are also green and everyone around you is green. Now imagine your name is Green and everyone else is your namesake-no Mr., Mrs., Miss or baby Green, everyone one is just called Green! Come on stretch your literate mind! But dear reader you may ask, ‘what’s the point of this mental exercise?’ After all, what’s the use of imagining the unimaginable? What does this have to do with my life? Just bear with me because I hope at the end of this uncomfortable ‘imagination’ tour we would wake up from our comfortable corners and work hard to make our world a more comfortable place.

You would agree with me that the above ‘green’ world is unrealistic, and even if it would be realistic, then it would be totally chaotic! It would be indeed chaotic because everyone will always be stepping on other people’s toes! Someone once said that we only realize the importance of something when it is no longer there. In other words, we can just take things for granted. Some or most of us take for granted our diversity and some of us even go one step further in abusing this gift of diversity. That’s why I’ve invited you to just sit down for a moment and imagine a world without diversity!

But what exactly is diversity? Is it all about diverting us due to our differences or is it about finding harmony in complementary varieties? While not ignoring or denying the former, I opt for the latter. I strongly believe that diversity is meant to unite us more than divide us. I believe it’s there to bring perfection and not chaos. I don’t know which model of the ‘origin of life’ you subscribe to, but according to the one I subscribe to, i.e. the “Creation model,’ a Master Designer created varieties for the good of humanity. Just imagine all roses being yellow- who would love a date without a red rose? Just imagine all mountains were volcanic-who would tell the beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro? Just imagine all humans were adults-who would sing a sweet lullaby to that cute baby? Just imagine a world with men only, just imagine a world with women only-what a monotonous world that would be! Just imagine!

I don’t want to live in that chaotic and monotonous world. I believe it’s the same to you. I guess you don’t even want to think about it, save alone imagine it! But I would like to ask you, aren’t we living in that world? If not, why do we keep on hearing alarming statistics all the time; Children are abused many a times; women are raped day and night; people are racially discriminated everyday; various languages, arts, animals and even plants are getting extinct at an shocking rate! Aren’t we getting more and more selfish, or to be politically correct, more ‘individualistic?’ What is happening to the old adage, “united we stand, divided we fall’? Of course I mean united in a good cause for many a people throughout history have done harm in the name of unity! Are we doing something, and if not, can we do something?

Can something be done? I don’t want to be a mere optimist; neither do I want to sound as a total pessimist here. I only want to be as realistic as possible. I strongly believe that you and I can do something. Note I said ‘something’ and not ‘everything’, that’s what I mean by not being a mere optimist! We can do our part in making use of diversity as a stepping-stone in making our world a better place. This not a time to let the rule of the jungle governs. This is not a time to sit down and say, “what can one person do?” neither is it a time to say, “I, even I, can do everything by myself!” This is the time to stand up as realists and do something-Colonies stood up against colonialism in their time, and something was done; Women right activists stood against disfranchisement in their time, and something was done; yes, it’s a historical fact that, when people stand up for a good cause in their time, something is done-it’s time to stand up in our time and make a difference.

One President once told the youth of his nation not to ask what their nation can do for them but to ask what they can do for their nation. I believe this injunction is still valid to us today, but in a bigger context: what can we do for humanity? What can we do to help our sick world? Is there anything good we can do to break the stereotypes we have internalized as defense mechanisms for shutting out those we consider not of our kind from us? I have to admit that I also don’t know which model you use to describe our “human nature,” but according to the model I subscribe to, we as humans are fallen and thus not self-sufficient in this business of doing something good for humanity and being unconditionally good to humanity. We often do good things with wrong motives. That’s why we don’t only need

Author: Chambi Chachage
Source: Miscellaneous Student Magazines, 2002-2005
Acknowledgement: I owe this title to the late John Lennon

Whither African Universities?

Ranking universities has become a universal yearly ritual. This is particularly true in a highly globalizing world that promotes competitiveness. Almost everything, from beauty to mediocrity, is comparatively paraded in global stages.

Thus, we had to be treated with another list of the world’s top universities lest we celebrate a new year without putting our universities in their proper place. This time Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) stole the show. Its fourth edition of ‘World University Rankings’ “confirms the message of earlier editions: the world’s top universities, on a number of measures, are in the English-speaking world.”

The phrase ‘English-speaking world’ could tempt you to think the list has a number of universities from ‘Anglophone Africa.’ But, alas, when you scroll down the list of the top 100 university you won’t encounter such a university. You will have to consult an expanded list of top 200 universities. Even this one will keep you scrolling down until you reach the end. There you will find the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Interestingly, the outgoing Vice Chancellor of UCT asserts that “international rankings are becoming increasingly important in a global education market". He believes that the rating bears out UCT’s “mission to be an African university of international repute.” His Deputy Vice-Chancellor is equally jubilant. To her, the ranking reflects UCT’s “international reputation for academic excellence.”

I can hardly tell if there was a moment of critical reflection on this ranking with respect to the state of African universities. Here I am not referring to a complex critique of its universalistic methodology. Neither am I referring to a convoluted critique of its global theoretical viewpoint. I am simply referring to a reflection on why, relatively, many African countries are not investing heavily on university education.

Interestingly, THES give us one of the keys to success. “Although heavily dependent on state funding”, its editorial declares, the world’s top “university are independent of governments”. Herein lie obscured the paradox of neo-liberal reforms of education in Africa. Ironically, our critical scholars did their homework of unmasking this obscurity while we were contemplating reforms. But did we hearken to them?

In the 1980s these scholars argued against reforms that aimed at reducing the role of the state in providing social services such as education. They foresaw that cost-sharing would transform education from an accessible public right to an exclusive private accessory. Hence they questioned studies that called for a restructuring of education according to the dictates of International Financial Institutions. One notable critic reminds us that these studies included World Bank ones such as ‘Issues Related to Higher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa’ and ‘Financing Education in Developing Countries’.

As they rummaged through these studies, the critics discovered that the “World Bank envisioned a stage whereby ‘programs or centres of excellence’ would replace the present university systems.” No wonder, Mwalimu Nyerere lamented that “they do not allow their firms to die out so why should they wish that ours collapse!” One can only imagine what went on the critics’ minds as they observed donors pumping in money to set up think tank institutions as prototypes of such centres. I wonder how they felt when their fellow academicians flocked to these technocratic centres in search of greener pastures.

The cyclic crises in Tanzanian universities are tied to that tragic historical legacy of ignoring our critical African scholars. You can see it through this official response regarding the issue of Ardhi University students who boycotted classes to demands for project allowances: “the allowance issue should have been directed to the Higher Education Loans Board” (The Citizen 28/11/2007).

The legacy is at work when a deputy vice chancellor attributes poor examination results to the admission of science students with poor qualification: “We have problems with science teachers in the country, so even when enrolling students in the faculty of science we consider that aspect” (The Citizen 24/08/2007)

You can also see this legacy through the concern of a respected legislator who told the parliament that he “was shocked too see in the prospectus of one of our universities half of its senior lecturers with degree qualifications from suspect online institutions” (The Citizen 19/04/2007).

A great thinker observed that “no prophet is accepted in his country”. Perhaps we take this statement as a credo and ignore prophetic critiques of our reforms. It could be that in doing so we forget that the thinker did not imply that we should not accept prophets from our countries.

As far as African universities are concerned our critics as still offering us evidence-based prophecies. Two volumes entitled ‘African Universities in the Twenty-First Century’ subtitled ‘Liberalisation and Internationalisation’ and ‘Knowledge and Society’ respectively attest to this. We don’t have to be like the king who did not want to listen to a prophet just because his prophecies were not too good to be true.

Let us fulfill this prophecy from ‘Beyond Afropessimism: Historical Accounting of African Universities’: “The challenges facing African universities are serious and disquieting, but higher education in Africa has a long history and will have a long future. And the onus for ensuring that such a future is a healthy and productive one lies primarily with African leaders, educators, and scholars, who cannot afford the morbid indulgence of Afropessimism.”

Author: Chambi Chachage
Source: The Citizen 30/11/07

Karibu kwenye ulingo wa kutafakari kuhusu tunapotoka,tulipo,tuendako na namna ambavyo tutafika huko tuendako/Welcome to a platform for reflecting on where we are coming from, where we are, where we are going and how we will get there

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