Tanzania celebrates 50 years of adult education

From 9 to 11 June 2021 the international conference marking 50 years of adult education in Tanzania was hosted at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzaniawith the theme “Revitalising Adult Education for Sustainable Development”.

“Adult Learning and education is a cross-cutting issue, it needs collaboration from different actors, governmental and non-governmental, to redefine the scope and target group for adult education programmes in Tanzania”, said the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency Kassim Majaliwa Majaliwa (MP), at the international conference marking 50 years of adult education in Tanzania.

Revitalising adult education

The conference was hosted at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania from 9 to 11 June 2021 with the theme “Revitalising Adult Education for Sustainable Development”. The idea originated with the first President of United Republic of Tanzania Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, who named the year 1970 as Adult Education Year in Tanzania. The conference offered the possibility for governmental officials, researchers, practitioners and international organisations from within and outside of Tanzania to reflect on the strong history of Tanzania in adult learning and education (ALE) and to discuss and share new approaches, challenges, and to put this into an international perspective.

Apart from the Prime Minister, the Minister for Education Science and Technology (MoEST) Her Excellency Joyce Ndalichako (MP), the Deputy Permanent Secretary President Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO RALG) Mr. Gerald Mweli, The Vice Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Professor William Andangisye and other key international representatives, like Frauke Heinze, the Regional Director East Africa DVV International, also attended the conference.

In his opening speech the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania highlighted key areas for improvement to strengthen the ALE System in Tanzania, among others to reinforce collaboration among stakeholders in Adult Leaning and Education, to strengthen ALE training programmes in colleges and institutions, including the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA), that are meeting the needs of the labour market, and to ensure that ALE programmes are implemented, managed and monitored sufficiently down to district level.

DVV International starts new programme in Tanzania

In her presentation, the Regional Director East Africa of DVV International, Frauke Heinze, highlighted the importance of ALE in light of the Sustainable Development Goals. “ALE contributes to personal, social and economic wellbeing. It contributes to enhancement of literacy and numeracy, equal access to education, income generation, education for sustainable development and training of teachers and makes sustainable contributions in areas such as health, poverty reduction, local economic development, climate change and promotion of equality. Therefore, it is essential for achieving Agenda 2030.”

Frauke Heinze presented DVV International’s new programme in Tanzania, which started in 2020. “This programme comes at the right time in order to tackle the key areas for improvement raised by the Prime Minister.” She asked the Government officials and stakeholders to engage and to collaborate in order to assess jointly the current status of the system, to analyse its challenges and to work on improvements.

Professor Herbert Hinzen, the former Director of DVV International, presented an historical paper that showed the contribution of Mwalimu Nyerere to the development of adult education in Tanzania and the world. Further, he highlighted that governments had committed themselves to the SDGs and to the International Human Rights Agenda as well as to ALE because it is an essential part of the whole.

The conference concluded with the University of Dar es Salaam handing over the conference’s resolution, comprising of 10 action points, to government officials.

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