A three-tier development hurdle embracing Tanzania’s social and economic sectors emerged at an Iftardinner hosted by the Kilimanjaro Dialogue Institute (KDI) in Dar es Salaam during the ongoing fasting holy month of Ramadan.
Education stuck its neck out as the fast-breakers delved on the sector delivery policy, zooming on the Kiswahili and English language status in the delivery of the critical social service.
While policy makers in post-colonial Africa do not acknowledge the superiority of education in a foreign language, it was observed, this is very evident in their policies. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, in Decolonizing the Mind observes: “The choice of language and the use to which language is put are central to a people’s definition of themselves in relation to their natural and social environment, indeed in relation to the entire universe.”
Tanzania’s Second Five-Year Development Plan (1969) envisaged that English would be replaced by Kiswahili in secondary education and later in higher education. But this policy was never implemented.
In 1982 a report of the Presidential Commission on Education noted students’ lack of proficiency in both English and Kiswahili and recommended changing the medium of instruction to Kiswahili starting at all school levels in 1985, and reaching the university level in 1992.
The expert recommendations of the educators were rejected by the government and the ruling party and English remained the instructional medium in secondary and higher education.
The diners noted what they called evidence of a rise in reading appetite particularly among the youth. They recommended the identification and nurturing of writers in both languages supplemented with the establishment of school and village libraries.
Another sector that emerged was urban development whereby diners faulted the location of new regional and district headquarters buildings in areas which turned out to be peripheral rather than central for enhancing economic development.
They cited the recent location of KIsarawe District Council head offices, which, they observed, were more of a peri-Dar es Salaam City settlement. The administrative centre of the Coast Region itself is located at Kibaha, on the outskirts of the Dar es Salaam metropolis.
The host, KDI President Ali Akkiz, observed that the planning of urban centres, even in Europe, remained a classic challenge. Some centres were planned to attract people while in some cases, developers came before the planners. The latter case is typical of Tanzania in places like Dar es Salaam and its neighbourhood.
The last point was the resulting urban challenges emanating from the development pattern, which demands casting a third eye on environment issues like solid and liquid waste management. They cited the classic and perennial case of the Jangwani area, whose annual floods demanded a more delivering approach like harvesting and recycling the water for domestic use by city dwellers.
It was observed that according to urban development focus on the African continent, Dar es Salaam will be the third most populated city after Lagos and Kinshasa.