The epistemological part of tanzania education policy
By David E. Mshana2012
Education is knowledge and skills obtained from theday ones gets in the world. It encompasses teachingand learning specific knowledge and skills, in eitherformal or informal setting includes, the aspect ofculture which are the past over from one generation toanother (MOEVT, 2007). In Tanzania context, education is defined as theprocess by which the individual acquires knowledgeand skills necessary for appreciating and adapting tothe environment and the ever changing social, politicaland economical conditions of the societies and as ameans by whichan realize ones full potential(Education and Training Policy, 1995)
Epistemology is the term originated from two Greekwords, “epistemo” which stand for “knowledge ortruth”, and “logos” which stand for the “study or theoryof”. Is the study of philosophy that studies the nature,source and validity of knowledge (Nyirenda &Ishumi,2007). Epistemology is a branch of philosophy concernedwith the nature and scope of knowledge (Edwards,1967). Generally, Epistemology is the branch of philosophythat examines the nature of knowledge, the processesthrough which we acquire knowledge, and the value ofknowledge
Education and epistemology relates in the followingaspects; According to Nyirenda and Ishumi (2007:14), “ourassumption about the importance of the varioussource of knowledge will certainly be reflected in theareas of emphasis in a curriculum, the methodology ofteaching, and the role of both teacher and the learnerand their modes of interaction in educational contextare essentially influenced by epistemologicalassumptions”. Also they appoint out the following importance ofepistemology in education:
Epistemology is an essential to educatorsbecause both thinking on education as well as theactivity of educating deals with the questions ofknowledge. Educators think as to which the best forms ofknowledge are and which the best ways ofknowing are. When it comes to the activity of educating,educators are concern with utilization of the bestways that can helps learners acquires knowledge.
Epistemology has a central role in determining what we believe ineducation as well as the practice that we adopt in educating. From the above speculative ideas about the importance ofepistemology in education, we can simply conclude that the followingtypes of knowledge in epistemology are of great value in the educationprocesses as follows; Empirical knowledge which is the knowledge derived from the sensesand characterized by nature of human experience, gained byassimilating observed data; this helps on the science subjects. Scienceis the best example of a method for ascertaining the accuracy of suchknowledge. Scientific knowledge is a result of the practice of themethod: Observation, abduction of a hypothesis, careful observation,refinement of hypothesis, deduction of test for hypothesis, testing andexperimentation, confirmation or falsification of the hypothesis.
Authoritative knowledge which is originated from experts overauthoritive by tradition. Helps on viewing the importance ofbooks, experts………..in the provision of knowledge andtransferring it to other people and the other generations. Revealed knowledge is very essential in the religious subjectsand helping to keep children and learners in the position ofseeking how to maintain peace and harmony in the schoolenvironment and life in general Intuitive knowledge which coming from intuition (coming to knowwithout gone through formal processes of reasoning) helps onthe field of vocational training where as the learners are neededto learn and use their experience they have to develop theirtraining.
Rationale knowledge comes from reasoning. The processof education both formal and informal needs reasoning andcritical thinking. This type of knowledge is the key toeducation, because the student, teacher and other expertsof education always reason in their daily activity ineducation. Also ones in the real environment must reason in order toobtain the valuable information in such field. Therefore, becoming aware of our epistemologicalgrounding is likely to enable us to educate better (Nyirenda& Ishumi, 2007:14).
Policy is a purposive course of action which has to be followed byparticular group/actors to address a particular problem or matter ofconcern (Anderson, 1975:3 in Ngungat, 2008). The education training policy adopted in 1995 sets the policy foreducation sector in Tanzania, the policy since then to date has been theroad map towards attainment of sufficient and effective education andtraining to all the citizenry of Tanzania. Tanzania educational and training policy guides, synchronize andharmonize all structures, plans and practices; to ensure access, equityand quality at all levels; as well as proper and efficient mechanism formanagement, administration and financing of education and training(Educationand Training Policy, 1995). Therefore the document is the backbone of provision of education inTanzania.
While there are specific aims for each level - pre-primary,primary, secondary, tertiary and higher education, the policyhas some generic aims of education, which include: • development of integrative personalities; • promotion of the acquisition and appreciation of nationalculture and of the constitution; • promotion of society-centered learning and the use ofacquired skills and knowledge forthe improvement of thequality of life; • development of self-confidence, inquiring mind, anddevelopment oriented mindset;
• giving adaptive and flexible education that meets thechallenges of an ever changing world; • encouraging love and respect for work of whatever typeand improved productivity; • inculcation of ethical behavior, national unity, internationalco-operation, peace and justice; and • Fostering a rational management and use of theenvironment.http://moe.go.tz/policy_issues.html
Through these objectives, is where the integration of thiseducation and training policy and epistemology; the branch ofphilosophy that studies the nature, source and validity ofknowledge are well exposed. Our focus is to see whether we can find the epistemological partin the Tanzania education and training policy. To do this, Wefocused on the types of knowledge in epistemology that are alsofound in education and training policy and also to look on if theeducation and training policy can be answered the basicquestions of epistemology:-what does it mean to “know”?-what are the sources of knowledge?-how do we come to “know”?-what can we know?
In ETP (Education and Training Policy), there areknowledge and skills stated to be covered by aperson in Tanzania education. These knowledgeare also the same as those we found in types ofknowledge in epistemology. These are as follows;
Authoritative knowledge; is that kind of information thatoriginates with experts or has been made authoritative overtime by tradition (Nyirenda & Ishumi, 2007). This kind ofinformation may be from textbooks, research documents,and other contents from the experts. In Tanzania educationand training policy, the policy pointed out that “Governmentshall establish maintain and resource a NationalDocumentation and Dissemination Centre for Education”(ETP, 1995:64). Also the policy directs that the Tanzania Library ServicesBoard (TLS) is responsible for library services. The ETPalso acknowledge the Educational Research andEvaluation Unit to be strengthened and adequatelyresourced.
Revealed knowledge; this is quite important in thefield of religion. The knowledge of such kind is veryvital in the provision of education; this is due to thereason that it brings peace and harmony in the schooland other life for fearing of God. The ETP through itsspecific preprimary education objectives assert that “tohelp the child to acquire, appreciate, respect, anddevelop pride in the family, his/her culturalbackgrounds, moral values, customs and traditions aswell as national ethics, identity and pride” pg 4.
Empirical knowledge; this is the knowledge from thesenses. Science is the best example of a method forascertaining the accuracy of such knowledge.Scientific knowledge is a result of the practice of themethod: Observation, abduction of a hypothesis,careful observation, refinement of hypothesis,deduction of test for hypothesis, testing andexperimentation, confirmation or falsification of thehypothesis. The ETP directs that, “science andtechnology shall be essential components ofeducation and training in the whole education andtraining system” (ETP, 1995:53).
Intuitive knowledge; is the types of knowledge involves aninstance of coming to know without gone through theformal process of reasoning or intermediate stage ofthinking or sensory perception (Nyirenda & Ishumi, 2007).In ETP we have informal education which refers to aneducation organized outside the established formaleducation system. The ETP acknowledge this kind ofeducation as “having two forms; informal education andadult education”. It insist that “informal education is lifelongcultural process whereby every individual acquires values,skills, and acknowledge from daily experience and theeducative influence and resource in her/his ocial culturaland hysical environment” (ETP, 1995:81).
Rational knowledge; is the types of knowledge thatderived from reasoning. It emphasizes the power ofthought to man kind and what the thought contributeto knowledge. In education people use senses toobtain information from their environment, and theinformation obtained through senses are the rawmaterial in education. Among of the general objectivesof ETP is “to guide and promote the development andimprovement of the personalities of the citizens ofTanzania, their human resources and effectiveutilization of those resources in bringing aboutindividual and national development”.
Correlation to the epistemology, the ETPcontemplate on the epistemological questionson mapping the education system in Tanzania.The following are some of the aspects.
What does it mean to “know”? ETP illustrate themeaning of knowing by explaining the its generalobjectives, one of them is to “to guide and promote thedevelopment and improvement of the personalities of thecitizens of Tanzania, their human resources and effectiveutilization of those resources in bringing about individualand national development”. The definition of “know”according to Concise Oxford Dictionary (2001) is to “beaware of through observation, nquiry, or information -has knowledge or information concerning something”. Thismeans that one that is identified as the one who “know” isthe one that can be able to utilize his/her knowledge tosave the nation and his/her life.
What are the sources of knowledge? The sourcesof the knowledge according to the ETP arebooks, experts (authoritative knowledge), senses(empirical knowledge example science andtechnology), reasoning (rationaleknowledge), knowledge from experience (intuitiveknowledge), and also the knowledge from religion(revealed knowledge). The TIE (Tanzania Institute forEducation) is the one “responsible for pre-primary, primary, secondary school, and teachereducation curriculumdesign, development, dissemination, monitoring andevaluation” ETP, 1995:51). The source of curriculum isthe need of the society and the country in general.
How do we come to “know”? The ETP obligatethe whole process of provision of education ineach level. These levels are pre-primary, primary, secondary school, and teachereducation, informal and non formaleducation, vocational education and trainingtertiary and higher education and training, andfinancing education and training. That is we canget knowledge by schooling or through ourenvironment
What can we know? This is the content of thecurriculum. The ETP puts this under thesupervision of TIE, Higher learning institutions,vocation training and informal sectors. Also theindividual can be responsible for deciding what toknow in informal education
Although the Education and Training Policy haveidentified a very crucial knowledge for theeducation for period of 16 years now, the bigchallenge is remaining on chaotic implementationof the policy. The outcome of this policy stillquestioning its objectives, because those whocomplete their studies at different levels ofeducation are still not carrying the experiencementioned in the policy.
Edwards, P. (Ed.) (1967) (Vols. 3), New York: Macmillan MOEC, (1995), Education and Training Policy, Dar es Salaam MOEVT, (2007), Foundations of Education, Dar es Salaam Nyirenda, S.D &A.G.M. Ishumi (2002), Philosophy of Education: AnIntroduction to Concepts Principles and Practice, Dar es Salaam http://moe.go.tz/policy_issues.html retrieved on 25 November, 2011, at1020 hr. Kungat, E. November 8, 2008. Policy Brief-Education in Tanzania,Overview paper.