Why Curriculum is regarded as a Political activity?

Curriculum is the term which can be defined from different perspectives; there
is no agreeable definition of curriculum. Willes and Bondi,(1984),Wrote that, curriculum is referred to the planned and guided learning experiences and intended outcomes, formulated through systematic reconstruction of knowledge and experience, under the auspices of the school, for the learners’ continuous and willful growth in personal-social competence. Also in Willes and Bondi the term curriculum is defined as a plan for providing sets of learning opportunities to achieve broad goals and related specific objectives for an identifiable population served by a single school center.

Since curriculum is the heart of education and education is the heart of a Nation, it encounters pressures from various directions; one of these factors is political intervention.

Politics  is defined as the science of government; that part of ethics which has to do with the regulation and government of a nation or state, the preservation of its safety, peace, and prosperity, the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest, the augmentation of its strength and resources, and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals (Source: Websters Revised unabridged dictionary, 1913).

Politics, political system and political relationships all refer to processes and institutions whereby binding choices are made for the collectively regarding the distribution or redistribution of resources and the propriety of conduct.

When politics extend its hands into education system (curriculum) is called politics of education. This means the study of how the distribution of power and the organization of decision making affect outcomes in education.

However with regard to the definition of politics we found that it has something to do with the government, whereby the government involves in various activities as a concern to its people and as its obligation. The totality of all activities done by the ruling power we can term it as political activities.

Political activities have influence in all spheres of the governmental sectors, including education system. In order for political activities to have influence on education system; they must affect the curriculum which is the core (blue-print) of any education. Curriculum is affected by political activities in many ways, right from curriculum development, planning/design, implementation, evaluation and changing of curriculum.

In curriculum development the first to be considered is the national policy. Policy
is a statement or brief description of how an intended activity should be conducted or practiced (MOEVT, June 2006). Educational policy is designated by
politicians which should go in hand with the national policy, this determines the kind of education we want to offer and the society we need to build. For instance in Tanzania it’s Education for Self-reliance (ESR), this derived from the national policy i.e. Socialism. The whole education system was dominated by socialism ideology. The education systems (schools) are used as a platform for passing political agenda. School have been influential in this way respect by conveying information about political personalities and the function of government both in classroom and in the informal aspects of school life (Abernethy,1969,p.194). Torsten and Neville,(1985,p.3974) stated that philosophies of education perceive political education as contradiction in terms, since education is considered to be an agency for fostering independent thinkin, free from any political bias.

The second area which is influenced by political activities is the issue of curriculum design; whereby the purpose, general objectives, contents, learning experiences, and evaluation tool in education is determined and defined by the politician. The main decision makers in curriculum are those who hold high position in education system (ministry of education) and the government itself. The government through the Ministry of Education defines and interprets the goals of education based on identified national policy. Then the curriculum maker devises methods for attaining those goals and the test constructor, devises instruments, to measure the extent to which the goals have been attained (Njabili, 1999, p.16). So teachers are not much involved in decision making, their main tasks is to implement the designed curriculum in the classroom.   Abernethy, (1969, p.192) articulated that “Goals beyond these basic ones are set by the people within the political system who participate in decision making”.

The third area which is influenced by political activities is the issue of curriculum implementation; it means simply putting into effect the curriculum that was produced by the construction and development processes (Zais, 1976, p.18).This process involves infrastructure(building),human resource(hiring, recruitment and retention of personnel),funding, administration and monitoring so as to achieve the intended goal. All the mentioned above issues have the hand of politics (government). In the implementation of the constructed curriculum, buildings are required where learner will be gathered for training, this need the support from the government, for instance currently we have political campaigns in building class like MEM and MES. The issue of human resource the government have the mandate of training and hiring new personnel like teacher, it determine how many teacher have to be employed each year e.g. it has ordered  all the public University to train teachers so as to cut down the shortage of teachers, not only that but also the introduction of licensed teachers trained for one month, also it has the obligation to retain the employees by motivating them and offering them attractive remuneration. All these are done under the influence of political motives. The education system has a lot of activities and many departments which all of these need large amount of money to operate, the money are supplied by the government after have been approved by the legislature. So the government is responsible to fund the education system.  Abernethy,(1969,p.220) said that, a governments’ financial resources depend in part or the condition  of the economy; in part of the government’s ability to obtain funds for its own use, both domestically and in the form of foreign aid; and in part on its freedom to allocate funds in accordance with its own changing priorities. Currently there have been a rapid rise in educational expenditure due to increase in school, colleges and universities, hence high enrollment rate, which lead into failure for the government to supply enough fund. Lastly is the issue of administration and monitoring; during curriculum implementation always the government exerts its influence to the education system through school boards, inspectorate directorate, district and regional education officers, and education agencies which are government appointees, including the minister. All these fix their eye on schools and institutions, administering and monitoring the instructors (teachers). Recently we witnessed the political influence on the curriculum implementation when the minister for education ordered the omission of school biases and merging of physics and chemistry without consulting the beneficiaries. It didn’t just end there, the current minister for education decided to remove the effect of form two national examinations, now it is no longer obstacle for crossing from form two to form three. All these are done to suit the interests of politicians.

The fourth area which is influenced by political activities is the issue of evaluation of curriculum; this is concerning with process of finding out whether the intended outcomes   have been achieved. The assessments of the actual outcomes go together with the assessment of the process or the means to an end. It is advised that curriculum evaluation should involve both formative and summative evaluation. The examination is the main tool for evaluation. Now the government through the ministry of education and vocational training has founded National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA) for the purpose of handling the issues concerning with examination in the country. Here the political interventions comes on the point, the minister have the mandate to interfere with this board either by resolving the board or appointing another leadership. The government has ability to instruct NECTA on the nature and effect of the examination e.g. form two examination will have no effect as it used to be, but the NECTA has nopower to oppose this order from politicians. Another issue is on the certificates offered by NECTA; are use as qualification to certify somebody’s competence and education level while in reality is not true at all. For that case the
government has fallen in the same track of using NECTA results as criteria for  admission on high learning institutions as well as obtaining sponsorship from  Loan Board (i.e. students with division 1 and 2 will be sponsored by the Loan  Board). Also used as a criteria in recruiting new employees. As a result schools and institutions are coaching students to pass examination only, they don’t put munch emphasis on understanding the concept, and this issue is destroying our education quality.

The fifth area which is influenced by political activities is the issue of changing curriculum, after the curriculum evaluation is over, the next thing is to judge whether the curriculum is appropriate or not; if not then it has to be changed or modified. The one with the mandate to change the curriculum is the government through the ministry of education. Sometimes this takes place  without proper notification to all stakeholders like teachers and parents.

Conclusion:

Curriculum is like an architectural work or a blue-print to direct the nature of education of a certain society or nation. While education is considered to be the heart of any country, that it aim at transferring knowledge skills and norms of a certain society from one generation to another generation. Political  activities is the totality of all duties done by the ruling power (class) for  the sake of its people .For that case there is no way that politics can be separated from education system. Simply because politicians consider themselves to be oversee of everything taking place in the society. Due to such intervention of politician in all curriculum processes, it became difficult to see the demarcations between curriculum processes and political activities. Thus why it is generalized that curriculum is a political activities. 

Reference:

Abernethy, D.B. (1969).The political dilemma of popular education: An African case. California: Stanford  University Press.

Akker, J, et al. (2003). Curriculum landscapes and trends.Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

MOEVT, (2006).Introduction  course for licensed secondary school teachers: School organization and management. Dar-Es-Salaam: Unpublished.

Njabili, A.F. (1999). Public examinations: A tool for curriculum evaluation.Dar-es-Salaam: Mture Educational Publishers.

Torsten, H.T, and Neville, P. (1985).The international encyclopedia of education:
Research studies vol 7 P-R. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Wiles, J and Bondi, J.C. (1984).Curriculum development: A guide to practice. London: A Bell and Howell Company.

Zais, R.S. (1976). Curriculum: Principles and foundations. New York: Harper & Row Publishers

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ANTHONY MATHIAS KAYEJI

Welcome to anthomata43.blog.com. The host of this blog is a man of God, anointed by GOD to preach the gospel to all creature. Also is an educator in the field of Education science. The author posses a Diploma in education science(2000) from Monduli T.C, Bachelor of Science with Education (2006) from University of Dar es Salaam and Master of Education Science(2010) from the University of Dar es Salaam. Currently is an Education Officer I, teaching at Mzumbe Secondary School which is special school for gifted and talented learners. The author is a prominent chemistry and biology teacher. Also he is capable of teaching educational courses at the university levels such as Curriculum and teaching, Research methods, Assessment, measurements and evaluation. Therefore you are free to contact him for any consultation. Thank you very much for visting this blog. Science and technology is the key for development, and science should be inhereted to the gifted and talented students of this country (Tanzania)

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KEYS ISSUES IN CURRICULUM DESIGNING

PRINCIPLES FOR CURRICULUM DESIGN

Curriculum Definitions

 

What is “curriculum?”

The four commonplaces of education are that someone teaches something to someone somewhere (Schwab, 1978). Some people define the “something,” the curriculum, as what is found in the textbook or teacher’s guide. Others broaden the definition of curriculum to mean everything that happens with the support of the school.

Here are several other definitions:

  1. The curriculum defines for teachers the skills that students should learn established by the state or developed by a committee (McGinn and Borden, 1995).
  2. Curriculum, simply put, is a way of talking about what we want students to learn (Furniss, 1999).
  3. Curriculum is the organization of teaching and learning. (Moyles,Hargreaves, and Moyle, 1998)
  4. Curriculum is a planned, composite effort of a school to guide students toward predetermined learning outcomes (Inlow, n.d.).
  5. Miller and Seller (1985, p. 3) place the various definitions of curriculum along a spectrum:
  6.  At one end, curriculum is seen merely as a course of study; at the other end, curriculum is more broadly defined as everything that occurs under the auspices of the school.
  7. The word “curriculum” is derived from the Latin word curriculum meaning “the course or circuit that a race is to follow, [it] implies the path or track to be followed or the course of study to be undertaken” (Barrow, 1982, p. 3). Some people understand curriculum as everything that runs or occurs under the auspices of the school.
  8.  In the middle of the spectrum, curriculum is viewed as an interaction between students and teachers that is designed to achieve specific educational goals. . . [emphasis ours]
  9. Curriculum, then, is much more than what we see in curriculum guides, textbooks, and teachers’ guides. To show the interconnectedness of written materials with teaching, learning, and learning outcomes, this paper will discuss three areas of curriculum emphasis: the intended curriculum, the taught curriculum, and the learned curriculum. In addition, we will consider the hidden curriculum and the null curriculum.

 

Since curriculum is a process, not just textbooks and other learning materials. It includes intended, taught and learned curriculum. In the course of designing the following are of paramount;

«    National goals (philosophy) for education need to be linked with national assessment, pupils’ learning outcomes, school curriculum, and teacher training curricula.

«    Curriculum needs to extend beyond an emphasis on acquiring fact-based knowledge to include skills, attitudes, and values.

«    Curriculum must specify adequate instruction time for basic subjects, especially language development and mathematics in primary grades.

«    Professionals with current teaching experience need to be involved at all levels of writing, developing, and evaluating curriculum.

«    Curriculum should be widely validated by parents, community members, teachers, and ministries across sectors and the business community. This will build understanding, support and confidence in schools and teachers.

Textbooks and Materials

Key issues to be considered are;

a)      Textbooks need to follow the clear, well-organized scope and sequence of the curriculum and to be available when a new official curriculum is published.

b)      Textbooks and materials need to be piloted before they are distributed widely.

c)      National investments need to make provision for updates and changes to textbooks and learning materials.

Curriculum Review and Evaluation

The curriculum review and development cycle must proceed expeditiously to ensure that the curriculum is relevant and current. For example, a ten-year cycle is too long. Effective curriculum evaluation examines and makes judgments on the value of intended, taught, and learned curriculum according to pre-set standards. Summative evaluation should precede curriculum revision.

Curriculum Integration

Curriculum needs to be responsive to emerging issues as they arise, for example, Life Skills approaches, whether they relate to HIV/AIDS prevention, ICT application, Environment Education, Peace Education or Education for Development. It will often be necessary to incorporate new agendas into curriculum.

 

Teaching and Teacher Education

Pupil achievement is enhanced if pupils first become literate in their mother tongue, but investments in first language texts of increasing complexity may be prohibitively expensive. However, whatever the languages policy may be, teaching must be effective for pupils to achieve.

Curriculum also consists of how the teacher teaches and makes links with what children already know. Direct improvement of teaching and learning at the classroom level can contribute to better learning outcomes, even in the face of a less than optimal curriculum.

Teacher education and professional development need to include a curriculum development focus that helps teachers understand both curricula content and the processes involved in supporting learning (e.g., how to teach using competence based syllabus and how to assess student learning).

 

Learning Outcomes

The curriculum development process is most effective when learning outcomes and performance standards are established first and then linked to what teachers must do to ensure that learning takes place.

Learning outcomes should describe what children should know and can do, and they should be observable in the course of classroom life through a variety of mechanisms.

Learning outcomes, not written tests, should drive the curriculum.

Establishing clear learning outcomes provides the context for practical assessment.

Assessment

Assessing student ability to perform specific learning outcomes needs to be viewed as a tool which helps teachers to know whether learning is occurring or not. Assessment is more than testing children’s understanding. It also involves assessing the entire educational system’s ability to provide learning opportunities for children. Apart from that assessment should involve summative and continuous.

Curriculum Change

System-wide support is necessary for true curriculum change, especially for change at the most important level, the classroom.

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Competence based curriculum

Recently Tanzania had introduce competence based curriculum for primary and secondary school. At the same time the country is running shortage teachers, teaching materials like books, science laboratories and computers. Now on your opinions do you think the implementation of this curriculum  will result into expected outcomes? Give your coments

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Science and Politics

African countries are poor due to neglecting science and technology. We always pay attention on politics thinking that we can progess economically. My argument is that “It is a hard that for Africans to change the way of thinking and focus on investing on science and technology instead of politics and propaganda.

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USHAURI WANGU

Naomba wadau wote wa elimu tutilie mkazo masomo ya sayansi na hesabu. Kwa sasa hesabu na sayansi inasomwa na watu wachache sana kwa vijana wengi wanakimbilia masomo ya sanaa(art subjects)

Hivyo walimu, wazazi na watunga sera wote k.m NECTA, TIE, INSEPECTORATE CADRE AND TEA lazima tushirikiana kuinua kiwango cha upenzi na ufaulu katika masomo ya hesabu na sayansi ambayo ni ufunguo wa maendeleo ya nchi yoyote.

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Science in the Development of the country.

There is no way a country can make progress without putting much effort in science and technology. Currently Tanzania is suffering from shortage of scientists and technologists. This contributed by neglecting science  improvement and worshipped politician. Now it is a hard time for Tanzania to watch the politician and decide to invest in science and technology.

The following are the ways we can opt

1. To train more science teacher.

2. To conduct more in-service training for science teachers on the competence bassed curriculum

3. To pay higher renumeration to science teachers compared to the art teachers.

4. Motivate students to study science especially the female  students who always lagg behind.

5. To introduce science centers including science schools

6. To improve and buld science labortories to each school.

7. To set enough fund for research work and consultancy.

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ANALYSIS OF TANZANIAN A-LEVEL CHEMISTRY SYLLABUS.

By ANTHONY MATHIAS KAYEJI

ANALYSIS OF TANZANIAN  A-LEVEL CHEMISTRY SYLLABUS.

A).Element of continuity, sequence and integration in an A’level chemistry syllabus.

Subject syllabus; is defined as a plan for an entire course of study. The plan typically includes the goals and rationale for the course, topics covered, resources used, assignments given and evaluation strategies recommended (Posner, 1995, p.7)

Continuity; is refers to the vertical reiteration (recurrence, repetition) of major curriculum elements (Tyler, 1949, p.84). This implies that overtime the same kinds of skills will be brought into continuing operation. For example the concept of chemical bonding is found in form two, form four and also appear again in A’ level syllabus. It is important that this concept is dealt with again and again in various levels of the chemistry subject.

Sequence; is more less the same as continuity but goes beyond that. Sequence as a criterion emphasizes the importance of having each successive experience build upon the preceding one but to go more broadly and deeply into the matters involved (Tyler, 1949, p.85).For example sequence in chemistry subject; atomic structure is taught in form two, and in form five, but keeps increasing in term of complexity, breadth and depth. So sequence should not be perceived as duplication but rather higher levels of treatment with each successive learning experience.

Integration (linkages among subject matters); this refers to the horizontal relationship of curriculum experience. Tyler (1949, p.85) he articulated that “the organisation of these experiences should be such that they help the learners increasingly to get a unified view and to unify their behaviour in relation to the element dealt with.” Consider; in developing the skill about movement of molecules (chemical kinetics) in chemistry, it is important to consider the ways in which skills can be effectively used in other discipline like in biology when studying osmosis and diffusion, in industry when making perfumes and spray, in physics when dealing with expansion and contraction process.

However to experience the continuity of particular concept learners need to go into greater detail each time a concept is reintroduced within the sequenced curriculum; as they do so, they will be increasing able to attain deeper levels of understanding of the concept by integrating new details (Marsh and Willis, 2003, p.17).

The careful survey of an A’level chemistry syllabus reflected many elements of continuity, sequence and integration. An A’ level chemistry syllabus it contains four main topics which are; General chemistry, Physical chemistry, Inorganic chemistry, Organic chemistry.

General chemistry consists of the following sub-topics; i).atomic structure ii).atomic spectrum iii).modern quantum theory iv).bonding.

Physical chemistry consists of the following sub-topics; i).gas law ii).relative molecular masses and density of gases iii).relative molar masses in solutions iv).two liquid mixture v).energetics vi).chemical equilibrium   vii).chemical kinetics viii).reduction-oxidation and electrochemistry ix) acids bases and salts x).solubility and solubility product

Inorganic chemistry consists of the following sub-topics; i).periodicity ii).chemistry of selected elements iii).transition elements

Organic chemistry consists of the following sub-topics; i).hydrocarbon ii).derivatives of hydrocarbons iii).hydroxyl compounds iv).carbonyl compound v).carboxylic acids and derivatives vi).amines vii).polymers

The contents listed above show vivid evidence of continuity, sequence and integration.

Commencing with continuity; is the vertical reiteration of major curriculum elements. Most of the topics recur at different level of study because are seems to have an important concepts or skills to be perpetuated, to list few are; energetics, chemical equilibrium and chemical kinetics in O’level are taught in form three but here we find them again in an A’ level syllabus. Consider the sequence; the term is more less the same as continuity but the difference is that the recurring concept or skills in the successive level are dealt more broadly and deeply so as to avoid duplication. For instance the topic like organic chemistry, chemical kinetics and periodicity are present in an O’ level chemistry but are still reappearing in an A’ level syllabus .The different here is, in an A’ level syllabus are dealt more deeply, broadly and in complex way. Lastly is integration (linkage among subject matter); Let us consider first intra-disciplines integration, in the A’level syllabus the first topic is general chemistry; it act as a fundamental part for all other topics. The skills obtained in general chemistry are applicable in physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry. For example organic chemistry can not be taught effectively unless bonding and atomic structures are covered first in general chemistry. In addition to that integration can play role in inter-discipline connection. For example skills obtained from atomic spectrum, modern quantum theory and gas law can be applied also in physics since related concepts are also found in it. The skills from energetics in chemistry can be applied in biology, physics and geography. Another good example in biology there is the topic called biochemistry. This portrays interdependence between different disciplines.

 

B).As a curriculum developer the following are suggestions to be done in the A’level chemistry syllabus. First there are very few experiments indicated to be done, even those which are suggested some can not be conducted in real situation, are just taken from the books which written in other countries. The suggestion is to indicate more practical works that reflects our real environments. Second suggestion is to reduce the contents, because the currently content is overloaded to be covered within only two years of A’level. This leads into partial and ineffective coverage of the syllabus.

C).Curriculum development: it is basically a plan of structuring the environment to coordinate in an orderly manner the element of time, space, materials, equipment and personnel. The function of curriculum development is to research design, and engineer the working relationships of the curriculum elements that will be employed during the instructional phase in order to achieve desired outcomes (Wiles and Bondi, 1984, p.10).

The process of curriculum development involves several steps and different scholars had tried to outline those steps. Taba,(1962,pp.456-459) he explained five steps which are; producing pilot units, testing experimental units ,revising and consolidating, developing a framework and installing and disseminating new units. While Wiles and Bondi, (2984, p.18) pointed out four steps namely; analysis, design, implementation and evaluation. Almost both scholars are more less the same, for that case Wiles and Bondi’s explanations will be adopted. The following are steps according to Wiles and Bondi;

1. Analysis; before the curriculum is developed or any curriculum change is done; critical analysis should be conducted to find out the need of the society. In the need analysis all stakeholders are involved that is learners, teacher, parents, academicians, and employers. The process of clarifying values and setting goals should be carried out regardless of its regularity, without such a basic operation, curriculum development remains largely unstructured and directionless. Therefore situation must be analyzed and the ultimate goals identified.

Advantages; this stage come up with reliable information to be used in curriculum design, they are reliable in the sense that all groups in the society are represented. Also help to make clear and correct decision in planning curriculum development. Disadvantages; it is time-consuming and very costly since it need fund and go around collecting information

2. Design; once the intentions of the curriculum development or change efforts are clear, relevant data about desired changes are obtained from the stakeholders, they must be organized and placed into the form of an action plan (synopsis).Such a plan clearly identifies what is to be done, the order of changes to be made, a time estimated for implementation of various responsibilities for part of the plan and anticipated results of these efforts. All the considerations and suggestions might be assembled in a handbook explaining the use of curriculum guide. This consideration is the task for the supervisors, the coordinators of curricula and the curriculum specialist.

Advantages; there is high possibility of coming up with good product simply because the process involves only experts of curriculum. Disadvantages; this process requires to be done by experts only. Still the process is costly in terms of time and money.

3. Implementation; this involves installing and dissemination processes which include training of stakeholder who are involved directly in the implementation. The training can be accomplished through intensive workshop, a series of in-service courses, and other in-service training devices; to develop the necessary skills and an understanding of the theory underlying the new program. To achieve this stage there is a need of intervention from administrators to play role in training personnel and supply resources and materials required.

Advantages; it build capacity for the implementers of program because they are trained on how to accommodate and assimilate the new curriculum materials. Disadvantages; much money are required to run orientation to the implementers and supply resource materials necessary for running the program. Also it is time consuming since it need close supervision and support.

4. Evaluation; the stages of currriculum development are finalized by evaluation process, which monitors and assess the progress of the effort toward achievement of desired goals. Actually this stage is usually a ‘validation’ of progress rather than an evaluation  or judgment of results to make sure that changes are occurring as desired, that the improvements are directional , and that the results are as anticipated by designed curriculum.

Advantages; it ascertain the effectiveness and achievement of the program designed and give room for change or innovations. Disadvantages; it is very difficult to make effective evaluation since the implementation is done at a wide range, therefore what is taking place in the field is not necessary to be the planed one.

 

D).Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) is a parastatal organization under the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) charged with the responsibility of ensuring the quality of education in Tanzania at the pre-school, primary, secondary and teachers training levels source: www.tie.go.tz.

According to the conversation held on Wednesday 07/01/2009 at the TIE’s offices, during the interview with one officer, the following were steps used by TIE during curriculum development. Need assessment; this involves finding out the views and suggestions of various stakeholders. The group to be consulted are, Ministry of education and vocational training officials, NECTA, teachers, students, parents, academician and any other groups that are interested  in education issues like HakiElimu.

Designing and developing the syllabus for a particular level or program (as prototype).This will include all the suggestions contributed by various stakeholders. This task is done by curriculum specialists and panelist for the particular program.

Preparation of synopsis from the prototype suggested by panelist .Writing the syllabus as a draft and validation of the draft by involving the panelist. The syllabus is disseminated to the stakeholders who will be gathered somewhere to discuss the syllabus, so as to see whether their suggestions are presented well. Then the final draft is sent to Chief Educational Officer (MoEVT) for approval.

Implementation; this stage involves dissemination of syllabus, teacher guide and curriculum guides to teachers and conduction of orientation on how to adopt the new curriculum materials.

 

REFERENCES:

Marsh, C.J and Willis, G. (2003).Curriculum: Alternative, Approaches, Ongoing Issues. New Jersey: Pearson Education.

Posner, G.J. (1995).Analyzing the curriculum.New York: McGraw-Hill.

Taba, H. (1962).Curriculum Development: Theory and Practice. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Tyler, R.W. (1949).Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Wiles, J and Bondi, J.C. (1984).Curriculum development: Guide to practice. London: A Bell & Howell Company.

Website: www.tie.go.tz

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OZONE LAYER DEPLETION

By ANTHONY MATHIAS KAYJI

OZONE LAYER DEPLETION

CONTENTS                                                                                                                Page

  1. Introduction………………………………………………………….…………….2
  2. Ozone………………………………………………………………………………2
    1. Meaning of ozone…………………………………………………………2
    2. Formation of ozone……………………………………………………….3
  3. Ozone layer………………………………………………………….…………….4
    1. Meaning of ozone layer …………………………………..………..……..5
    2. Distribution or location of ozone layer ………………………………..….6
    3. Importance of ozone layer……………………………………….………..6
  4. Ozone layer depletion…………………………………………………….……….7
    1. Meaning of ozone layer depletion…………………………………..….….7
    2. Ozone hole…………………………………………………….………..…9
  5. Consequences of ozone layer depletion or hole………………………..…………11
  6. Public Policy in response to the ozone hole (depletion)…………………………13
  7. Concern of Tanzania on ozone layer depletion………………………….……….15
  8. Conclusion………………………………………………………………………..18
  9. Reference……………………………………………………..………………….19

 

Introduction

Ozone layer depletion is an issue of concerned to the whole world because it touches life of human beings and other creatures found on our planet. In other word it’s a global challenge simply because no one nation which is free from the detrimental effects of ozone layer depletion. The only solution is to join our efforts together and combat with sources which lead into the destruction of the ozone in the atmosphere.

Ozone

Meaning of ozone

Ozone is a molecule containing three oxygen atoms (O3). It is blue in colour and has a strong odour.

While normal oxygen (O2) we breathe has two oxygen atoms and colourless and odourless. The ozone is much less common than normal oxygen. It is estimated that for each 10 million air molecules 2 million are normal oxygen but only 3 are ozone.

In order for scientists to evaluate how much ozone is in the layer, a unit of measurement called the Dobson Unit is employed. A Dobson Unit is a measurement of how thick a specific portion of the ozone layer would be if it were compressed into a single layer at zero degrees Celsius with one unit of atmospheric pressure acting on it (standard temperature and pressure – STP). Thus, one Dobson Unit (DU) is defined as 0.01 mm thickness at standard temperature and pressure. 

 

 

 

Formation of ozone

Ozone is formed through photochemical processes. The photochemical mechanisms that give rise to the ozone layer were discovered by the British physicist Sidney Chapman in1930

There are three forms (or allotropes) of oxygen which are involved in the ozone-oxygen cycle: 1. oxygen atoms (O or atomic oxygen), 2.oxygen gas (O2 or diatomic oxygen), and 3. Ozone gas (O3 or diatomic oxygen).

Ozone is formed in the stratosphere when oxygen molecules photodissociate after absorbing an ultraviolet photon whose wavelength is shorter than 240 nm. This produces two oxygen atoms. The atomic oxygen then combines with O2 to create O3. Ozone molecules absorb UV light between 310 and 200 nm, following which ozone splits into a molecule of O2 and an oxygen atom. The oxygen atom then joins up with an oxygen molecule to regenerate ozone. This is a continuing process which terminates when an oxygen atom “recombines” with an ozone molecule to make two O2 molecules: Stages are as follows;

Oxygen molecules are photolysed, yielding two oxygen atoms (slow)

UV light + O2 → O. + O. ———————– (1)

The atomic oxygen then combines with unbroken oxygen molecule (O2)

O. + O2 → O3——————————— (2)

The ozone molecule is also unstable (although in the stratosphere, long-lived) when ultraviolet light hits ozone it splits into a molecule of O2 and an atomic oxygen (faster)

UV light + O3 → O2 + O. —————– (3)

Ozone is also destroyed by the following reaction (too slow)

O. + O3 → 2O2—————————– (4)

This is a continuous process called the ozone-oxygen cycle.

Ozone layer

Meaning of ozone layer is a portion of earth’s atmosphere that contains high levels of ozone. 

The atmosphere is divided into five layers: 

The troposphere is the layer closest to earth and is where all weather happenings occur and starts from zero to 10 Km 

The stratosphere is located directly above the troposphere, about 10-50 kilometers above the planet, and houses the ozone layer at an altitude of 20-30 kilometers. 

The mesosphere is located approximately 50-80 kilometers above the earth.

The thermosphere rests at an altitude of approximately 100-200 kilometers above the earth’s surface. 

Finally, the boundary of the outermost layer, the exosphere, extends roughly to 960-1000 kilometers above the earth. 

 

Figure 1:  Earth’s atmosphere is divided into layers, which have various characteristics.

Source: British Antarctic Survey (BAS), 1985

Our concern will be limited to the only two layers, in which ozone layer is found; the layers are as shown in figure 1 below.

 

 

Figure 2:  Earth’s atmosphere is divided into layers, which have various characteristics.

Source:  NOAA Aeronomy Laboratory, 1998

Location of ozone layer; most atmospheric ozone is concentrated in a layer in the stratosphere about 15-30 Km above the Earth’s surface, it is approximate to 90% of ozone. About ten percent (10%) of atmospheric ozone is found in troposphere region.

Importance of ozone layer;

Although the concentration of the ozone in the ozone layer is very small, it is vitally important to life because it absorbs biologically harmful ultraviolet UV (radiation) emitted from the sun.

Categories of UV-radiation based on their wavelengths.

  • UV-A (400-315) nm; most reaches the surface; but has significantly less harmful, although it can potentially cause genetic damage.
  • UV-B (315-280) nm; this can be harmful to the skin and is the main cause of sunburn, excessive exposure can cause genetic damage, resulting in problems such as skin cancer. The ozone layer is very effective at screening out UV-B; for radiation with a wavelength of 290 nm, the intensity at Earth’s surface is 350 billion times weaker than at the top of the atmosphere. Nevertheless, some UV-B reaches the surface
  • UV-C (280-100) nm; Ultraviolet C would be very harmful to humans, is entirely screened out by ozone at around 35 Km altitude.

The ozone layer is essential for human life.  It is able to absorb much harmful ultraviolet radiation, preventing penetration to the earth’s surface.  Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is defined as radiation with wavelengths between 290-320 nm, which are harmful to life because this radiation can enter cells and destroy the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of many life forms on planet earth.  In a sense, the ozone layer can be thought of as a UV filter or our planet’s built in sunscreen (Geocities.com, 1998).  Without the ozone layer, UV radiation would not be filtered as it reached the surface of the earth.  If this happened, cancer would break out and all of the living civilizations and all species on earth would be in jeopardy (Geocities.com, 1998).  Thus, the ozone layer essentially allows life, as we know it, to exist.

Ozone layer depletion

Meaning of ozone layer depletion

Refers to destruction of the upper atmospheric layer of ozone gas caused by substances formed from breakdown of ozone depleting substances. (Retrieved from http:/www.businessdictionary.com/definition) 

There are three main contributors to the ozone problem: one is human activity, second is natural sources, and volcanic eruptions

 

            Figure 3:  Human cause more damage to the ozone layer than any other source.

Source:  Geocities.com, 1998

Ozone can be destroyed by a number of free radicals catalysts, the most important of which are;

  • Hydroxyl (OH.)
  • The nitric oxide radical (NO.)
  • Atomic chlorine (Cl.)
  • Atomic bromine (Br.)

All these have both natural and anthropogenic (manmade) sources. At the present time most of the OH. and NO. in the stratosphere is of natural origin, but human activities has dramatically increased the levels of chorine and bromine. These elements are found in certain stable organic compound know as organohalogen compound e.g. chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and bromofluorocarbons which may find their way to the stratosphere without being destroyed in the troposphere due to their low reactivity. Once in the stratosphere, the Cl and Br atoms are liberated from the parent compounds by the action of ultraviolet light (E = hv)

CFCl3 + hν → CFCl2 + Cl.

The Cl and Br atoms then destroy ozone molecules through a variety of catalytic cycles. For instance a Cl atom reacts with an ozone molecule, taking an oxygen atom with it and leaving a normal oxygen molecule

Cl. + O3 → ClO + O2

The chloromonoxide can react with a second molecule of ozone to yield another chlorine atom and two molecules of oxygen.

ClO + O3 → Cl. + 2 O2

The overall effect is a decline or decrease in the amount of ozone.

NOTE: Cl and Br are the common radicals, each radical is then free to initiate and catalyze a chain reaction capable of breaking down over 100,000 ozone molecules. Laboratory studies have shown that fluorine and iodine atoms participate in analogous catalytic cycles. However, in the Earth’s stratosphere, fluorine atoms react rapidly with water and methane to form strongly-bound HF, while organic molecules which contain iodine react so rapidly in the lower atmosphere that they do not reach the stratosphere in significant quantities

Ozone hole

For the first time ozone hole was discovered in 1956 by G.M.B Dobson

Ozone hole is a large area of the stratosphere with extremely low amount of ozone. Is really a reduction in concentration of ozone high above the earth in the stratosphere. Also ozone defined geographically as the area where in the total ozone amount is less than 220 Dobson Units.

Why this hole is pronounced in poles?

The Antarctic ozone hole is an area of the Antarctic stratosphere in which the recent ozone levels have dropped to as low as 33% of their pre-1975 values. The ozone hole occurs during the Antarctic spring, from September to early December, as strong westerly winds start to circulate around the continent and create an atmospheric container. Within this polar vortex (A polar vortex is a swirling mass of very cold, stagnant air surrounded by strong westerly winds Roan and Sharon, 1990); over 50% of the lower stratospheric ozone is destroyed during the Antarctic spring. 

As explained above, the overall cause of ozone depletion is the presence of chlorine-containing source gases (primarily CFCs and related halocarbons). In the presence of UV light, these gases dissociate, releasing chlorine atoms, which then go on to catalyze ozone destruction. The Cl-catalyzed ozone depletion can take place in the gas phase, but it is dramatically enhanced in the presence of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs)

These polar stratospheric clouds form during winter, in the extreme cold. Polar winters are dark, consisting of 3 months without solar radiation. Not only lack of sunlight contributes to a decrease in temperature but also the polar vortex traps and chills air. Temperatures hover around or below -80 °C. These low temperatures form cloud particles and are composed of either nitric acid (Type I PSC) or ice (Type II PSC). Both types provide surfaces for chemical reactions that lead to ozone destruction.

The photochemical processes involved are complex but well understood. The key observation is that, ordinarily, most of the chlorine in the stratosphere resides in stable compounds, primarily hydrochloric acid (HCl) and chlorine nitrate (ClONO2). During the Antarctic winter and spring, however, reactions on the surface of the polar stratospheric cloud particles convert these compounds into reactive free radicals (Cl and ClO). The clouds can also remove NO2 from the atmosphere by converting it to nitric acid, which prevents the newly formed ClO from being converted back into ClONO2.

The role of sunlight in ozone depletion is the reason why the Antarctic ozone depletion is greatest during spring. During winter, even though PSCs are at their most abundant, there is no light over the pole to drive the chemical reactions. During the spring, however, the sun comes out, providing energy to drive photochemical reactions, and melt the polar stratospheric clouds, releasing the trapped compounds.

Most of the ozone that is destroyed is in the lower stratosphere, in contrast to the much smaller ozone depletion through homogeneous gas phase reactions, which occurs primarily in the upper stratosphere.

Warming temperatures near the end of spring break up the vortex around mid-December. As warm, ozone-rich air flows in from lower latitudes, the PSCs are destroyed, the ozone depletion process shuts down, and the ozone hole closes.

Consequences of ozone layer depletion or hole

Effects of ozone layer depletion on humans

UVB (the higher energy UV radiation absorbed by ozone) is generally accepted to be a contributory factor to skin cancer. In addition, increased surface UV leads to increased tropospheric ozone, which is a health risk to humans.

1. Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinomas: The most common forms of skin cancer in humans, basal and squamous cell carcinomas have been strongly linked to UVB exposure. The mechanism by which UVB induces these cancers is well understood that the absorption of UVB radiation causes the pyrimidine bases in the DNA molecule to form dimers, resulting in transcription errors when the DNA replicates. These cancers are relatively mild and rarely fatal, although the treatment of Squamous cell carcinoma sometimes requires extensive reconstructive surgery.

2. Malignant Melanoma: Another form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, is much less common but far more dangerous, being lethal in about 15% – 20% of the cases diagnosed. The relationship between malignant melanoma and ultraviolet exposure is not yet well understood, but it appears that both UVB and UVA are involved. Experiments on fish suggest that 90 to 95% of malignant melanomas may be due to UVA and visible radiation whereas experiments on opossums suggest a larger role for UVB.

3. Cortical Cataracts:  Studies are suggestive of an association between ocular cortical cataracts and UV-B exposure, using crude approximations of exposure and various cataract assessment techniques. A detailed assessment of ocular exposure to UV-B was carried out in a study on Chesapeake Bay Watermen, where increases in average annual ocular exposure were associated with increasing risk of cortical opacity .In this highly exposed group of predominantly white males, the evidence linking cortical opacities to sunlight exposure was the strongest to date.

4. Increased Tropospheric Ozone: Increased surface UV leads to increased tropospheric ozone. Ground-level ozone is generally recognized to be a health risk, as ozone is toxic due to its strong oxidant properties. At this time, ozone at ground level is produced mainly by the action of UV radiation on combustion gases from vehicle exhausts.

Effects of ozone layer depletion on crops

An increase of UV radiation would be expected to affect crops. A number of economically important species of plants, such as rice, depend on Cyanobacteria residing on their roots for the retention of nitrogen. Cyanobacteria are sensitive to UV light and they would be affected by its increase (Sinha et al. 1999)

Effects of ozone layer depletion on plankton

Research has shown a widespread extinction of plankton 2 million years ago that coincided with a nearby supernova. There is a difference in the orientation and motility of planktons when excess of UV rays reach earth. Researchers speculate that the extinction was caused by a significant weakening of the ozone layer at that time when the radiation from the supernova produced nitrogen oxides that catalyzed the destruction of ozone (plankton are particularly susceptible to effects of UV light, and are vitally important to marine food webs).

International Policy in response to the ozone hole (depletion)

After a 1976 report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences concluded that credible scientific evidence supported the ozone depletion hypothesis, a few countries, including the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Norway, agreed to eliminate the use of CFCs in aerosol spray cans. This was widely regarded as a first step towards a more comprehensive regulation policy.

The European Community rejected proposals to ban CFCs in aerosol sprays while even in the U.S. CFCs continued to be used as refrigerants and for cleaning circuit boards. Worldwide CFC production fell sharply after the U.S. aerosol ban, but by 1986 had returned nearly to its 1976 level.

In 1985 20 nations, including most of the major CFC producers, signed the Vienna Convention which established a framework for negotiating international regulations on ozone-depleting substances. That same year, the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole was announced, causing a revival in public attention to the issue.

In 1987, representatives from 43 nations signed the Montreal Protocol. Meanwhile, the halocarbon industry shifted its position and started supporting a protocol to limit CFC production. The reasons for this were in part explained by “Dr. Mostafa Tolba, former head of the UN Environment Programme, who was quoted in the 30 June 1990 edition of The New Scientist, “…the chemical industry supported the Montreal Protocol in 1987 because it set up a worldwide schedule for phasing out CFCs, which [were] no longer protected by patents. This provided companies with an equal opportunity to market new, more profitable compounds.”

At Montreal, the participants agreed to stop production of CFCs at 1986 levels and to reduce production by 50% by 1999. After a series of scientific expeditions to the Antarctic produced convincing evidence that the ozone hole was indeed caused by chlorine and bromine from manmade organohalogen, the Montreal Protocol was strengthened at a 1990 meeting in London. The participants agreed to phase out CFCs and halons entirely (aside from a very small amount marked for certain “essential” uses, such as asthma inhalers) by 2000. At a 1992 meeting in Copenhagen, the phase out date was moved up to 1996.

To some extent, CFCs have been replaced by the less damaging hydro-chloro-fluoro-carbons (HCFCs), although concerns remain regarding HCFCs also. In some applications, hydro-fluoro-carbons (HFCs) have been used to replace CFCs. HFCs, which contain no chlorine or bromine, do not contribute at all to ozone depletion although they are potent greenhouse gases. The best known of these compounds is probably HFC-134a (R-134a), which in the United States has largely replaced CFC-12 (R-12) in automobile air conditioners. In laboratory analytics the ozone depleting substances can be replaced with various other solvents.

Current events and future prospects of ozone depletion

 

Since the adoption and strengthening of the Montreal Protocol has led to reductions in the emissions of CFCs, atmospheric concentrations of the most significant compounds have been declining. These substances are being gradually removed from the atmosphere. By 2015, the Antarctic ozone hole would have reduced by only 1 million km² out of 25 (Newman et al., 2004); complete recovery of the Antarctic ozone layer will not occur until the year 2050 or later. Work has suggested that a detectable recovery will not occur until around 2024, with ozone levels recovering to 1980 levels by around 2068.

Since 1981, the United Nations Environmental Programme has sponsored a series of reports on scientific assessment of ozone depletion. The most recent is from 2007 where satellite measurement has shown the hole in the ozone layer is recovering and is now the smallest it has been for about a decade (Climate change 2001.The scientific Basis).

Concern of Tanzania on ozone layer depletion

Presentation on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer celebrated on September 16 every year. This was held on 16/September/2008.

It was said Tanzania is a signatory in The Montreal Protocol for the protection of the ozone, which, is designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion.  Also Tanzania is among 193 countries in the world that have ratified the 1986 Montreal Protocol for chemicals which destroy the ozone layer which scientists believe is eroded by an average of  5 percent per decade.

It was stated that the harmful chemicals which deplete the ozone layer include; Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons which are used in some second-hand technologies such as used refrigerant which are being imported into the country. 

Chlorofluorocarbons are a class of compounds of carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, and fluorine, gases used chiefly in refrigerators and aerosol propellants while halons are uncreative gaseous compounds of carbon with bromine and other halogens, used in fire extinguishers,  but now also known to damage the ozone layers.                                       .                                          
 “These chemicals that are being used in the second-hand refrigerators are not advisable and instead we should use new refrigerators with new technology that use non-toxic R 34 gases” says Mbarak Abdulwakil, Deputy Permanent Secretary to the Vice President’s Office (Environment).

At a news conference on the day Abdulwakil said chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons chemicals are also used in production of other industrial products such as mattresses, air conditioners and also during iron melting. There are also health products with these including air-fresheners and inhalers which are used by asthma patients.                            
When the ozone layer is destroyed, Ultra-violet B radiation (UVB) reaches the earth and as a result causes, among other things, skin cancers.                                     .

The radiation also affects eyes and reduces the body’s immune system to fight diseases.                           
However Abdulwakil said compliance by Tanzania to the Ozone protection protocol has reduced production of harmful chemicals for about 95 per cent as alternative chemicals and technologies are being developed.

On her part the Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Environment) Dr. Batilda Buriani called on industries and businesses importing the harmful chemicals to use alternative chemicals in production of their products. The move, she said, will enable Tanzania to avoid the use of chemicals which deplete the ozone layer, which have been banned by the government but are imported by some businesses in defiance of the ban.                                       
On his part the Principal Environmental Management Officer in the Vice President’s Office (Environment), Issaria Mangalili said the government has set a deadline for importation and distribution of items containing ozone-depleting substances (ODS), such as reconditioned refrigerators and air-conditioners.                           .
 “We want importers, suppliers and the general public to understand that such items that contain chemicals, gases and other related ozone layer depleting substances will no longer be allowed here from 1 January 2010. Whoever defies the ban will be taken to task” the Principal Environmental Management Officer said at the press conference on International Ozone Day. “He said the Government had already put in place the Environmental Management (Control of Ozone Depleting Substances) Regulations of 2007 which requires among other things, ban of importation of items which emit and produce chemicals such as CFCs and HCFs that scientists say have proven to deplete the ozone layer.                                   .
Mr. Mangalili said the reconditioned refrigerators and air conditioners, for example, contain gases commonly known as CFCs(R 12) which had proven to contribute to depletion of the ozone layer.                                                  .                                                            
Another environmental expert, Mrs. Kemilembe Mutasa said public awareness campaigns were being conducted throughout the country to educate various stakeholders on anticipated changes and the alternative use of gases which are not a threat to the ozone layer. (Source: GUARDIAN 2008-09-17 09:33:20 by CHRISTOPHER MAGOLA)

Conclusion

Naturally the universe existed in such away that it can regulate itself so as to keep every system constant or at equilibrium. But due to increased human being activities the natural systems can no longer regulate themselves. Hence there is need for a purposeful efforts to be done so that to preserve and protect the natural systems to remain intact for the betterment of human life and other living things at large. The world should be alert with the threatening phenomena and find agent solutions. Phenomena like ozone layer depletion, global warming, environmental pollution, water crisis, energy scarcity and food shortage. These seem to threaten life on the earth in the near future, if the solution won’t be sought now. Now, it’s a challenge to both politicians and scientists to scrutinize their brain so as to come up with plausible solutions.

REFERENCE

Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis

Energy Information Administration/Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 1996 (2008-06-24). “Halocarbons and Other Gases”. http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/archive/gg97rpt/chap5.html. Retrieved on 2009-03-17. 

http://www.archive.greenpeace.org/ozone/greenfreeze/moral97/6dupont.html

http://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php.id=1771

http://www.news.independent.co.uk/world/environment/story.jsp?story=429802. Retrieved on 2006-09-23. 

http://www.soe.wa.gov.au/report/atmosphere/stratospheric-ozone-depletion.html

 http://www.nas.nasa.gov/About/Education/Ozone/ozonelayer.html. Retrieved on 2009-03-17

 http://www.ozonelayer.noaa.gov/science/basics.htm. Retrieved on 2009-03-17. 

http:/www.businessdictionary.com/definition.

http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/4030/index.html.

Magola, C. (2008). Tanzania tightens control of substances that deplete the ozone layer. In the Guardian News paper. 17/09/2008.

Newman, P. A., Nash, E. R., Kawa, S. R., Montzka, S. A. and Schauffler, S. M (2006). “When will the Antarctic ozone hole recover?” Geophysical Research Letters 33: L12814. doi: 10.1029/2005GL025232. 

Roan, Sharon (1990). Ozone Crisis, the 15 Year Evolution of a Sudden Global Emergency. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-52823-4

Sinha, R. P., Singh, S. C., and Häder, D.P. (1999). Photoecophysiology of cyanobacteria. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology 3: 91–101. 

 US EPA (2008-09-03). “Ozone Depletion Glossary”. http://www.epa.gov/ozone/defns.html#hcfc. Retrieved on 2009-03-17

 

 

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HANDLING OF SCIENCE IN TANZANIA

A Critique on how science is being handled in this country and the possible suggested solutions.

By ANTHONY MATHIAS KAYEJI

Approaches

ü  What is Science?

ü  What is Technology?

ü  Importance of Science and Technology (Application)

ü  How Science is handled in Tanzania

ü  Hindrances of Science in Tanzania

ü  Suggested solutions

      What is Science?

The word Science is comes from the Latin ‘Scientia’ meaning knowledge.

Science is knowledge attained through study or practice or knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through science method and concerned with the physical world.

Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and expiation natural phenomena.

The term Science also refers to the organized body of knowledge people has gained using that system.

Science is the concerted human effort to understand or to understand better, the history of the natural world and how the natural world works, with observable physical evidence as the basis of that understanding. It is done through observation of natural phenomena, and /or through experimentation that tries to simulate natural processes under controlled conditions.

      What is Technology?

Technology is defined as the process by which humans modify nature to meet their needs and wants.

Technology is a product of engineering and science, the study of the natural world.

NOTE: Science and Technology are tightly coupled. A scientific understanding of the natural world is the basis for much of technological development today. When we talk about Technology actually we are referring to the application of scientific facts, ideas, theory and principles in engineering various products, such as Infrastructures, Various machines, Computers, Communications, Weapons, Energy sources, Food products, Medicines, Agricultural products, Genetic engineering, Security(forensic purpose),and etc.

Therefore Science has two parts:

  • A body of knowledge that has been accumulated over time
  • A process-scientific inquiry that generates knowledge about the natural world

Most scientific investigations use some form of the scientific method.

Scientific Method: is the logical and rational order of steps by which scientists come to conclusions about the world around them. Scientific methods help to organise thoughts and procedures so that scientists can be confident in the answers they finds.

Steps of the Scientific method are;

Observation/research
Raise questions that require answers
Formulate Hypotheses
Data collections
Data analysis (test hypotheses if any)
Draw conclusion

      Importance of Science and Technology (Application)

Science is very important to the lives of human being and his environment that he lives in. Science as it’s

  • It improves people’s lives.
  • Lies in a society’s desire for economic development.
  • Lies in humanity’s increasing control over our planet and its environment.
  • Brings curiosity and satisfaction that comes from knowledge of the world around us.

These are just fundamental roles of science and technology, which show what science can offer us. From the outlined roles above, it shows that human lives and all affairs depend totally on science and technology and it is honest to say “without science and technology, life on earth would be extremely difficulty and almost impossible”. If real we want to develop and have control (dominion) over our planet (environment) there is no way we can escape from science and its products. The history is telling us that the societies which had early venture in the application of science were the one which showed earlier development e.g. in Africa there were Ashanti empire, Bunyoro empire, etc.These were able to make iron weapons like spear, arrows and bush knives, hoes for farming purpose. Not only were that but also able to extract precious metal from their ores like gold, iron and diamonds. Due to such innovation these societies were able to prosper, expand and make their empire strong.

For the case of European, the industrial revolution was due to advancement in science and technology which led into a powerful state as result colonization took place to some part of the world.

NB: No any country that managed to develop economically, politically, socially, and security wise without having advancement in science and technology.

Tanzania will not develop unless it put more emphases in improving science and technology, so as to get more experts in various sector. Such as engineers, architectures, medical doctors, pharmacists, contractors, geologists, economists, and researchers, these will take our country in another level of development. This will be possible if and only if we start emphasizing science discipline from the grass root i.e. primary school, secondary school up to tertiary level. We have seen how science and technology are very important in the development of any country especially during this era of science and technology.

      How Science is handled in Tanzania?

Tanzania as a country had been trying much to improve science and technology, although her efforts did not result into tangible achievement. In attempt to achieve this Tanzania introduced science disciplines into its syllabi starting from primary schools to University level. The major aim is to orient Tanzanian students in to science and technology. With all these efforts  Tanzania have failed to achieve its goals effectively as a result more Tanzanian student are opting in social sciences even those students who were taking science either in O’level or A’ level some of them, they do not continue with studying science in higher learning study e.g. a PCB student joining Bcom instead of joining Medicines.

Science in primary schools: Tanzanian pupils are introduced to science effectively starting in standard three (3). Pupils are taught simple concepts of science. The aim of introducing science in primary schools is to prepare a good foundation in science to the pupils also to let them have interest in studying science.

The implementation here is faced by number of hindrances such as lack of teaching-learning material, so pupils learn science without practicing, hence no meaningful learning since science is learnt through observation and experimentation. The second hindrance is teaching methodology used is teachers-centered methods, no student participation this may be contributed by lack of regularly in-service training which is rarely conducted. The third hindrance is negative attitudes towards science subjects, there is believe to both society and pupils that science subjects are difficulty to understand; hence pupils tend to hate and escape them as a result they perform poorly. Lastly is lack of in-service training, so teachers do not get the opportunity to gain new knowledge on how to improve science teaching, hence keep on using outdated techniques.

Science in O’level: students studies natural sciences, physical sciences and mathematics. These subjects are compulsory in form 1-2 above that, students are free either to continue with science subjects or switch on to art disciplines. Surprisingly most students do opt for art subjects and commerce while few remain taking science. These may be due to the way science is treated. In most cases is taught theoretically sometime with little practices because most school have no laboratories, adequate chemical and apparatus, also student set for alternative practical. For those schools with laboratories practical are done when students are approaching final examinations, all these done to avoid costs. Second is lack of motivation to teachers and students, student who are excelling in science should be rewarded so as to build competitive spirit among them. There are be a significant motivation to science teachers, been honestly science subjects are more demanding, time consuming, also more risk. Therefore without motivation there is no any teacher who will risk his life or take trouble in to improve science on his/her expenses, after all the salary for science teachers is the same as that of arts teachers. So science teacher are considered as cheap labour, you use them exhaustively and pay them little. They are working as teachers at the same time as technician with the same salary also are used by NECTA in preparing practical for necta and supervising being paid by necta instead they bargain to be paid by the school. All these are sources of inefficiency and ineffectiveness of science teaches.

Science in A’ level: Here students are allowed to choose the subjects of their interest e.g. PCB, PCM, CBA, CBG, PGM etc. The problems faced by students one of them is poor science background, some they never have laboratories in their former schools, hence have no ideas on science experiments, also some did  alternative to practical. Second point is that, most laboratories are in bad conditions, they need rehabilitation and they have few chemicals and equipments, this leads into practical to be done only when preparing to set for final examination. Third, most teachers do not integrate theories with practical instead they teach practical differently from theory as a result students fail to relate theory and practical. The last point but one is shortage of A’ level science teachers and books, most of the schools are suffering from shortage of teachers and books. Lack of science teachers is not that, there are no teachers but more teachers are quitting the job to greener pastures. This will continue unless the government device an appropriate way to nurture the science teachers. Finally is the science syllabus in A’ level is too long to be cover within two years, so it become difficult to teacher to use appropriate method of teaching instead they opt for lecture method so as to be able to cover the syllabus as required.

Science in high learning institutions: the way it is handled still not much appreciable because students are overloaded with a pile of courses to be studied within a semester both students and the instructor struggle to cover huge volume of materials within this limited time as a result poor coverage and little gain. Second, the University syllabus is content based that student are drilled with many courses, and some of these courses are even irrelevant to the learner, that no where the learner will use them in all his/her life, also most of the course have only two units and sometime one unit, so to get 120 units of the whole program you need to take a lot of courses. Due to this, students complete their program with a lot of courses studied but master of none. For instance I happened to meet a third year student of computer engineering who was unable even to type properly by using computer. Science courses at high learning are not much valid because the course instructor has the mandate to make it simple or complex. If the instructor is lazy or does not master well the course he/she will treat it fairly and student complete with flying colours while they have gained little or none. And sometime if the instructor is unfair person can decide to make difficult and let students fail the course even if the course is simple. Therefore the University education is in the hand of the instructor. Lastly science in high learning institution is hindered by shortage of instruments/equipments which are required in the science laboratories for doing experiments and various scientific researches. For instance in the University of Dar-es-Salaam there some instruments missing which are very important researches, some of the research analysis can not  be done in the country unless are taken to Kenya .

      Suggested solutions

Here are some suggested solutions in order to mitigate the problems of science improvement in Tanzania. These are;

Laboratories; the government  have to make sure that each secondary school has got laboratory with adequate chemicals and equipments, also rehabilitate the old laboratory. In addition to that the government has to employ the laboratory technicians so as to reduce the burden to the subject teacher; of course teachers are not trained to work in the laboratory. This has to apply from secondary level to University level.

Science Syllabi: The science syllabi have to be revised from content based to context, that some of the syllabus staff which seems to be of less important has to be chopped out so as to reduce the load to be covered by the students within a certain period of time. This is because the present contents can not be covered effectively within the required time; hence teachers tend to rush up in order to touch at least each part.

Motivation: The motivation should be provide to both science teachers and students. To students this should target to encourage student to opt for science subjects, and those who excells in science have to be rewarded. For the case of teachers, I argue the government to revise the salary scheme for science teacher to be relatively high compared to that of art teachers, also to initiate teaching allowances, working and living condition, this will attract more people to join teaching science subjects, also will motivate the science teachers to work hard. Without motivation to science teacher means that teaching will remain to be a stepping stone and a place to acquire experience.

In-service training: This was introduced in order to help teacher to acquire new knowledge and teaching techniques while working in their fields, but it is rarely conducted to teachers, even when is done does not favour all the teacher because it is full of subjective. People on high authority use it as a field for harvesting. Therefore the government has to make sure that all science teachers have access to seminars, workshops and short courses.

Education: Both society and students have to be educated on the importance and necessisity of science and technology in our country. We have to combat with the notion that science subjects are too tough and have no future in Tanzania, when we manage to change the negative attitudes of the society and students towards science subjects I hope science will be improved, but much of our efforts have to be directed to female students because have extreme negative attitudes that they can not pursue science subjects.

Introduction of science centers: It is my suggestion that the government has to introduce science centers which have the entire necessary requirements including well equipped laboratories, good supply of books, good living environments, well trained lab-technicians, and well paid selected skillful teachers. These centers should target the O’level and A’ level students. Only students with extreme exceptional ability in science have to be selected to join such centers. The centers have to act as a national engine to generate scientists, researchers, thinkers and discoverers. The government has to accept to spend much so as to create highly qualified scientists, the centers they shouldn’t be treated as how the government did to our special schools which now they are dying a natural death, the government introduced them without any strategy or policy.

Close follow-up: The government has to ensure that there is strictly close follow-up on the implementation of official curriculum in all level of our education. This will make a small disparity between official curriculum and enacted curriculum. Sometimes teachers tend to violet the regulations of teaching, e.g teaching practical separate from theory part, skipping some parts of the syllabus which is seems to be difficulty, these have to be watch with two eyes.

Conclusion, during this era of science and technology many countries are competing in having new innovations and discoveries which are sold as technologies. Tanzanian we need to fight for our independent and freedom in terms of science and technology, otherwise we will keep on being colonized my developed countries. Just imagine when the TANESCO generator get damaged we have to hire experts from abroad why not Tanzania? Why our country has been changed into a damping place for Chinese fake goods? Why are we importing even tooth pick, cotton bags from Chine? The answer is because we don’t want to invest in science and technology but we do invest much in politics and things like HIV/AIDS campaigns. We are scientifically dependant because our mind is still colonized by the white men. For true and quick development Tanzania have to put more emphases in orienting her young generation into science and technology otherwise we can’t compete in the world of science and technology which driven by globalization.

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