Tanzanian Culture: The Happy Faces of Tanzanian Pupils under the Compulsory Education

On August 16, 2016, after having launched the ceremony of the agricultural demonstration villages in Dakawa township, in order to carry out the preparatory work for the 5 demonstration villages projects, we visited the 5 villages one by one.

When we reached Milama village, we were just passing a village primary school. In Tanzania, many villages have got a small primary school. It was the time of recess, a group of students were standing in the playground outside the classroom.

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When I saw this group of pupils from local primary school, I immediately pick up my iphone, patted photos of them in a long distance away. The group of pupils found us taking photos with camera or cell phone, they started to running over towards us, and they looked very cute. They were very fond of facing to the camera, by scrambling to put pose and show off in front of my iphone.

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They stood together for a while to let me take a group photo; then approached and stood closer around my cell phone, faced close towards the iphone camera to show their faces.

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They have given a variety of expressions in front of mobile phone lens. Especially, the close face photos belong to specific shows.

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The most impressive thing was that the children here, the primary school pupils here, were always smiling in front of the camera lens. Their smile was very bright, very sunny. Their small faces, bit of black features, were laughing like black roses in full bloom. In the open laughing mouth, two rows of silver-like teeth exposed, with snow white color. Some child was in the stage of changing teeth. When he opened mouth to smile, it exposed a missed tooth, which showed the virginity.

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Tanzanian natives, especially those in rural areas, are very simple by their very nature. They are naturally optimistic, carefree. When they meet strangers, they like smiling to show friendship, with their white teeth exposed. This feature is mostly shown in the local children, in the local primary school pupils.

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Nowadays, Tanzanian children are happy. Except to some Maasai children who are grazing cattle and sheep, the vast majority of Tanzanian children have the chance to go school.

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Primary and secondary schools in Tanzania are compulsory. The children at the age of 7-13 years old get education in primary school. The local schools take the seven-year primary education system, that is, from the first grade to seventh grade. Since 2002, primary school students have been exempted from tuition fees by the Tanzanian government, but parents have to pay some additional miscellaneous fees for their children in the school.

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In 2008, 8.4 million children were enrolled in primary school in Tanzania. By estimate, the current enrollment data for children should be more than 10 million. According to the statistics in year 2010, the ratio of students with qualified teachers was 54: 1.

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In 2010, all the students were taught in Swahili in 15,816 public primary schools except 8 public primary schools. As to the 551 private primary schools registered in the country, the students were taught in English in 539 private primary schools. The curricula of primary school include: Swahili, mathematics, natural sciences, geography, civil knowledge, history, English, vocational subjects, religion, information and communication technology, and sports, etc.

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The students at grade 7 need to participate in and pass the graduation exam in order to get a diploma as well as to enter the secondary school. In 2009, only 49.4% of the students passed the exam among the 1 million students enrolled in the primary school graduation exam,. The rate of pass varied from region to region, with the figure being 69.8% in Dar es Salaam, compared to the 31.9 % in the remote Shinyanga. As far as the gender differences is concerned, the pass rate for boys was 55.6%, while the pass rate for girls was 43.2%. There were also differences between the subjects, the pass rate for Swahili language was the highest 69.1%, while the one for mathematics was the lowest 20.0%. No wonder that the local people were a little poor in mathematics. About 90.4% of the students who passed the primary school entrance exam entered the public secondary school.

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As a result of the compulsory education in primary and secondary schools, 80% of all adults in Tanzania are literacy who have ability to read and write, and the literacy rate in Tanzania is higher than in other African countries.

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