Thursday, February 28, 2013

Schools as State Apparatuses for Failing Students

Schools as Dominant Ideological State Apparatuses for Failing Students

“But no other Ideological State Apparatus has the obligatory (and not least, free) audience of the totality of the children in the capitalist social formation, eight hours a day for five or six days out of seven.” – Louis Althusser

Chambi Chachage

Louis Althusser’s ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Toward an Investigation)', written in 1970, is still relevant in analyzing the state of education in the context of global capitalism. It provides a theoretical framework for understanding the dominant function of schools in a capitalist social formation. As such it enables one to aptly explain the seemingly contradictory outcomes of its education system.

Althusser asserts that the school is the dominant Ideological State Apparatus in a capitalist society. This is especially the case in what he refers to as mature capitalist social formations. By an Ideological State Apparatus he means those institutions of the state that rely less on (physical) repression to wield state power. In other words, he defines them in terms of what they are not, that is, in contrast to “the Government, the Administration, the Army, the Police, the Courts, the Prisons” (p. 110). As the main instruments of the state’s monopoly of (physical) violence, they tend to rely, relatively more, on repression. It is in this Marxist sense that they constitute what Althusser calls the Repressive State Apparatus whereby the term “Repressive suggests that the State Apparatus in question 'functions by violence' — at least ultimately (since repression, e.g. administrative repression, may take non-physical forms” (Ibid.)

The distinction is thus simply a matter of degree. A school, as an Ideological State Apparatus in Althusser’s sense, functions massively and predominantly by ideology and only minimally and secondarily by repression. It primarily socializes students into class relations through the systematic provision of an education that is ideologically tailored for capitalism. While doing so it may “use suitable methods of punishment, expulsion, selection, etc., to 'discipline'” (p. 112) but this is only a secondary resort.

Pre-capitalist and Post-socialist countries that had either been inserted into the globalizing world capitalist economy or have been undergoing a capitalist social formation are not immune to this function of schools. If one takes the example of my country, Tanzania, he/she can also easily observe, albeit analogously, this class impact of such schooling:

“It takes children from every class at infant-school age, and then for years, the years in which the child is most 'vulnerable', squeezed between the family State apparatus and the educational State apparatus, it drums into them, whether it uses new or old methods, a certain amount of 'know-how' wrapped in the ruling ideology (French, arithmetic, natural history, the sciences, literature) or simply the ruling ideology in its pure state (ethics, civic instruction, philosophy). Somewhere around the age of sixteen, a huge mass of children are ejected 'into production': these are the workers or small peasants. Another portion of scholastically adapted youth carries on: and, for better or worse, it goes somewhat further, until it falls by the wayside and fills the posts of small and middle technicians, white-collar workers, small and middle executives, petty bourgeois of all kinds. A last portion reaches the summit, either to fall into intellectual semi-employment, or to provide, as well as the 'intellectuals of the collective labourer', the agents of exploitation (capitalists, managers), the agents of repression (soldiers, policemen, politicians, administrators, etc.) and the professional ideologists (priests of all sorts, most of whom are convinced' laymen). Each mass ejected en route is practically provided with the ideology which suits the role it has to fulfill in class society: the role of the exploited (with a 'highly developed', 'professional', 'ethical', 'civic', 'national' and apolitical consciousness); the role of the agent of exploitation (ability to give the workers orders and speak to them: 'human relations'), of the agent of repression (ability to give orders and enforce obedience 'without discussion', or ability to manipulate the demagogy of a political leader's rhetoric), or of the professional ideologist (ability to treat consciousnesses with the respect, i.e. with the contempt, blackmail and demagogy they deserve, adapted to the accents of Morality, of Virtue, or 'Transcendence', of the Nation, of France's World Role, etc.) (p. 118-119).

We, in Tanzania, may justifiably lament the recent pathetic results in the National Secondary Education Examinations that determines who would continue with further studies. Indeed we may plausible put the blame on the lack of sufficient educational inputs – books, laboratories, and teachers, among others – but, ultimately, it is the whole “topography” of the system – its infrastructure and ideology – that produces and reproduces such classed results. As Althusser’s analysis eloquently reminds us, this setup is all about the securing of the reproduction of class relations of production.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Targeting Young Voters the CCM Youth Wing's Way?


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mwalimu's Unanswered Question on Education

Shall we Address Mwalimu Nyerere’s Unanswered Question?

Chambi Chachage

14 October 2007

14 October 2007 marks the eighth Nyerere Day. Once again we commemorate the life and times of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the founding President of Tanzania. It is an opportunity for our society to reflect on the thoughts of one of its key social thinkers.

This week we rethink Nyerere’s passion. One of the things that Nyerere, fondly called Mwalimu i.e. Teacher, had a lifelong passion for was primary education. He endlessly thought about it, talked about it, wrote about it and probably dreamt about it. It is not surprising then that two volumes of ‘Nyerere on Education’ are attributed to him.

Mwalimu raised significant questions about primary education. He also attempted to provide answers or at least chart out solutions. His mind particularly wrestled with that old problem that has assailed educationalists since independence. That is, the problem of balancing quantity and quality in primary education.

How does a country with limited educational resources provide education services in large quantity without compromising the quality of the services? Quantity or quality, which one do you choose when it seems you cannot have both? The question has proved to be stably divisive.

There are those who, in line with one World Bank representative, would rather wrestle with the issue of quality when school-aged children are in schools and not out of schools. Thus, one does not have to put on hold the large ‘quantity’ of school-aged children who need to be enrolled in schools until the provision of quality education is assured.

Then there are those who, as Mwalimu said, would argue that “when public resources are scant, it is absurd for a government to continue wasting money on pretence of educating everyone and thus being unable to give a good education to anyone.”

To do away with this absurdity, the argument continues, we should mainly focus on quality. Quantitatively, it means providing education to a reasonable number of children. Qualitatively, this translates to minimizing student-teacher ratios, increasing student-book ratios and improving other qualitative aspects. And all this is at the expense of ensuring that primary education, whether of good quality or not, is available to every child.

How do we balance these contending views and get a win-win situation? While we celebrate our quantitative strides toward achieving Universal Primary Education (UPE), we better ask ourselves: How do we ensure that the Primary Education Development Plan (PEDP) is not only about numbers of classrooms built and children enrolled? How can we make PEDP pays equal, or even more, attention to the provision of adequate quality books, qualified teachers and teaching equipment?

‘What has been Achieved in Primary Education? Key Findings from Government Review October 2007’ reveals the way we address Nyerere’s concern. One disturbing revelation is the wide variation in the percent of PEDP funds released from the approved budget amounts in the financial year 2005/2006 for its various strategic components. This is particularly disturbing because only 89.4 percent of the approved funds were released.

When it comes to the personnel emolument component of PEDP, 100 percent of Tsh 237,377,962,000 was released. In terms of percent, this is not very far from the 98. 9 percent of Tsh 33,370,210,800 released for other charges/admin. However, for quality improvement only 60.5 percent of Tsh 95,023,895,400 was released. This percent is a far cry from the 96.5 percent of Tsh 33, 616, 453, 970 released for enrolment expansion.

To add quantity of salt to the injury of quality we are told that a government report stated that the funding gap “was due to non fulfillment of commitments made by Development Partners.” So much for shelving Mwalimu’s policy of ‘Education for Self-Reliance’!

Mwalimu did not claim to have answers to the quality vis-à-vis quantity problematic. He attempted to address it again in ‘Education and Development in Africa’. But, alas, he ended putting it in more dilemmatic terms:

“And in Africa if every child does not go to school those to be left out will be mostly the girls. Yet primary education for all, at least in Africa, requires full commitment from the state. The fact remain, however, it is possible for government to choose only between evils. A pretence of universal education – whether it be primary or secondary – is itself evil: is it any better than finding some way of giving a modern education to a few through some system of selection?”

Mwalimu’s question remains unanswered. The search for answers, he insisted, will have to continue.  And to plan is to choose, he kept reminding us. As we rethink PEDP and our ‘Education and Training Policy’ we ought to keep in mind the urgent need to balance quantity and quality in education.

Elimu ni suala la kisiasa au kitaaluma?

Elimu ni suala la Kisiasa au Kitaaluma?

Chambi Chachage

23 Julai 2008

Siasa ni taaluma. Kama ilivyo kwa taaluma yoyote, siasa ina wataalamu wake. Lakini si kila mtaalamu wa siasa ni mwanasiasa. Na si kila mwanasiasa ni mtaalamu wa siasa.

Pengine utata huu ndio uliomfanya Rais wa kwanza wa Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, ajaribu kumpatia elimu ya siasa kila mwanasiasa wa serikali yake. Ili kutimiza lengo hilo wanasiasa walipelekwa katika chuo cha Kivukoni kupata mafunzo ya taaluma ya siasa na itikadi.

Pamoja na jitihada hizo bado nchi yetu ilijikuta ikifanya maamuzi mengi kwa kuzingatia utashi wa kisiasa badala ya kuzingatia ushauri wa kitaaluma. Kwa mfano, mwaka 1981 Mwalimu Nyerere aliunda tume iliyoongozwa na aliyekuwa Waziri wa Elimu, Jackson Makwetta. Tume hiyo iligundua kuwa wanafunzi wengi wa sekondari hawapati elimu stahiki kwa sababu lugha inayotumika kuwafundishia haileweki kwa wanafunzi walio wengi achilia mbali walimu wao.

Kutokana na utafiti huo, wataalamu hao walipendekeza kuwa wanafunzi wafundishwe kwa lugha ambayo wanaitumia katika maisha yao ya kila siku. Cha ajabu dakika ya mwisho siasa iliingilia kati. Pendekezo hilo likatupwa kapuni. Wataalamu kutoka Uingereza wakaletwa. Wakafanya utafiti. Wakagundua kilekile ambacho wataalamu wetu walikigundua. Lakini wataalamu hao wa Kiingereza wakatoa pendekezo tofauti. Wakasema tuongeze bidii katika kufundisha Kiingereza.

Naam pendekezo la wataalamu kutoka katika nchi inayozungumza ‘Kiingereza cha Malkia’ likaonekana ni la kitaaluma zaidi. Lakini kumbe lilikuwa ni pendekezo la kisiasa tu. Ndio, lilikuwa la kisiasa maana nyuma ya pazia kulikuwa na mkakati kabambe wa kutupatia msaada wa kuchapa vitabu mbalimbali vya Kiingereza na kuleta wataalamu kutoka Uingereza kuja kutufundisha Kiingereza eti ili tuweze kukitumia kufundishia. Mkakati huu wa kisiasa ulilenga kuendeleza utegemezi wetu kwa Uingereza, utegemezi ambao haujawahi kuvunjika kikamilifu toka siku tulipojitwalia uhuru wetu wa kisiasa kutoka kwa Waingereza mnamo mwaka 1961.

Hivyo, misaada ikamwaga. Vitabu vikachapishwa. Tukasoma ‘Kalulu the Hare’ na ‘Hawa the Bus Driver’. Picha za sungura mwitu aitwaye Kalulu na dereva wa basi aitwaye Hawa zikatuvutia. Lakini je elimu iliyowasilishwa na hadithi hizo ilitufikia? Au vitabu hivi vilikuwa ni zana tu ya kutufundisha Kiingereza? Je, tulikuwa tunajifunza lugha ya Kiingereza au tulikuwa tunajifunza mada halisi zinazohusu jamii yetu? Lo mpaka leo najiuliza ni nini hasa nilijifunza!

Miaka mingi imepita sasa toka tufanye uamuzi huo wa kisiasa na kuubatiza kuwa ni wa kitaaluma. Lakini taaluma ya ufundishaji inaendelea kutudhihirishia kuwa sekta yetu ya elimu bado inadorora hasa katika suala la ubora wa elimu japokuwa tumekuwa na mipango mingi ya kuiendeleza. Baadhi ya wataalamu wetu wanaendelea kutukumbusha kuhusu baadhi ya yale mapendekezo ya tume ya Makwetta. Je, tunawasikiliza? Au tunatumia majukwaa ya kisiasa kutoa matamko ambayo yanakinzana na hali halisi kama inavyoainishwa na tafiti za kitaaluma?

Lakini siasa ni nini hasa? Kwa ufupi siasa ni taaluma au shughuli inayohusiana na mamlaka. Na tunapozungumzia mamlaka tunaongelea suala zima la mgawanyo wa madaraka na rasilimali. Hapa tunajiuliza nani ana mamlaka juu ya suala fulani au rasilimali fulani, kwa nini na kwa ajili ya manufaa ya nani? Pa tunajiuliza nani anadhibiti mamlaka hayo na kwa namna gani?

Hivyo, mwanasiasa mwenye taaluma ya siasa anategemewa kuwa na uwezo wa kutumia mamlaka yake kufanya maamuzi yanayozingatia utaalamu husika. Kwa mfano, mwanasiasa ambaye hana taaluma ya ualimu anaweza kutumia utalaamu wake wa kisiasa kuupima ushauri wa watalaamu wa elimu na kuutumia ushauri huu kufanya maamuzi sahihi. Si lazima ajue kila kitu kuhusu elimu lakini taaluma yake ya kisiasa inapaswa kumuandaa kuwa na uwezo wa kutafakari, kuhoji, na kutumia taaluma zingine kwa manufaa ya jamii iliyompa mamlaka yake.

Yule mwanasiasa mahiri wa Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, alilitambua hilo. Pamoja na kuwa na taaluma ya ualimu bado aliona ni vyema ampeleke msaidizi wake, Joan Wicken, katika Kijiji cha Ujamaa Litowa ili ajifunze namna ya kuendesha shule ya msingi inayojitegemea. Shule hiyo ilikuwa imeanzishwa na wanakijiji wenyewe ambao baada ya kujifunza hali na mahitaji ya mazingira yao walijiundia mfumo wao wenyewe wa elimu unaokidhi hali na mahitaji yao halisi.

Baada ya Joan Wicken kutoa mrejesho wa uzoefu wake huko, Mwalimu Nyerere aliunda sera ya ‘Elimu ya Kujitegemea’. Inasemekana kuwa kwa kiasi kikubwa sera hii ilitokana na taaluma asilia ambayo Joan aliipata katika Shule ya Msingi ya Litowa. Pamoja na mapungufu yake, hii ilikuwa ni jitihada ya aina yake ya kuoanisha maamuzi ya kisiasa na maamuzi ya kitaaluma.

Je, mapendekezo ya kamati maalumu iliyoundwa hivi karibuni na Wizara ya Elimu na Mafunzo ya Ufundi ili kuipitia upya sekta ye elimu yatazingatiwa na wanasiasa wetu? Waziri na Naibu Waziri wa wizara hii wameshanukuliwa wakisema kuwa katika kipindi cha miaka mitano ijayo tutaanza kutumia lugha ya Kiingereza  kufundishia katika ngazi zote za elimu. Je, matamshi yao yanamaanisha kuwa wameshafanya maamuzi yao ya kisiasa hata kabla tume waliyoiunda wao wenyewe haijalifanyia utafiti wa kitaaluma suala hili? Je, utoaji wa elimu ni mchezo wa kuigiza?

Kila kitu ni siasa. Hivyo, changamoto iliyo mbele yetu ni kuhakikisha hatutenganishi maamuzi ya kisiasa na maamuzi ya kitaaluma. Yanategemeana. Tukifanya maamuzi ya kisiasa bila kuzingatia ya kitaaluma tutaishia kujiuliza ‘bora elimu au elimu bora?’ Na tukifanya maamuzi ya kitaaluma bila kuzingatia ya kisiasa tutabaki tunauliza 'sera poa lakini utekelezaji mmh?’

© Chambi Chachage

Interactive Tanzania Mining Cadastre Map

Athari za Matokeo ya Kidato cha Nne

Uchambuzi Huu Unapatikana Katika Faili la PDF Kwenye Linki Hii: 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Free Book: An Enterprise Map of Tanzania

Download your free copy of the book An Enterprise Map of Tanzania from:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mtwara, Dar es Salaam & the Southern Question

Comments on the City and the Countryside in the Southern Question

“It is well known what kind of ideology has been disseminated in innumerable ways by the propagandists of the bourgeoisie among the masses of the North: the South is the ball and chains that prevents a more rapid progress in the civil development of Italy; Southerners are biologically inferior beings, either semi-barbarians or out and out barbarians by natural destiny; if the South is underdeveloped it is nor the fault o the capitalist system, or any other historical cause, but of the nature that has made Southerners lazy, incapable, criminal and barbaric.” – Antonio Gramsci on ‘The Southern Question’

Chambi Chachage

Antonio Gramsci provides an analysis of four dichotomies that are of particular interest in my work – the North/South, City/Countryside, Workers/Peasants and Bourgeoisie/Proletariats divides. For him, the then relatively industrialized Italian North and its bourgeoisie and cities exploited the Italian South and its peasants and their countryside that were predominantly agrarian. In his view it needed the workers, as a vanguard, to unite with peasants to lead the revolution against the bourgeoisie.

Such a revolution, however, is not anti-industry or even anti-state. Rather, it aims at reorienting industry and the state in line with agricultural production for the benefits of peasants. To that end Gramsci and his fellow Communists called for a replacement of the “capitalist State” with the  “workers’ State” through the ousting of the ruling bourgeoisie from state power. This reorientation, they contended, would bring peace between the city and the countryside as well as between the North and the South.

My country – Tanzania – attempted to create a socialist state and society in the 1960s that would be based on an alliance between workers and peasants. Even though it did not claim that the workers would be the vanguard, it privileged them more than the peasants. It also concentrated it powers on the then capital city – Dar es Salaam – although its rhetoric focused on rural development. As a result the bourgeoisie tended to be located in the capital city and other cities. This urban primacy made the countryside poor. In a way the country also became divided, even if in imaginary terms, between the North and the South. Recent protests against the construction of a pipeline to distribute gas from the Southern region of Mtwara to Dar es Salaam attests to this. It would be interesting to apply Gramsci’s analysis to this situation given that the attempts at uniting the workers and peasants in Tanzania failed by the early 1990s.

Gramsci assertion – that the peasant question in Italy is historically determined with respect to the specificity of Italian history, as predicated on the Southern and Vatican questions, instead of the peasant and agrarian questions in general – notwithstanding, the following general questions emerge: What unite impoverished people? Is it regional or class affiliations? When and if it is both, how do they reconcile their differences with people of the same class in other regions? In Gramsci’s case of the poor of Sardegna, they opted for national class solidarity instead of a regional alliance with the Sardinian gentry. Could the same be said of Mtwara? Was it the poor or/and gentry of Mtwara who came together on a regional basis? Who supported them in Dar es Salaam and elsewhere? Was it the bourgeoisie and/or the poor in the cities that are benefitting, in varying ways, from urban primacy at the expense of the countryside?

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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