THE SCHOOL DILEMMA, How Tanzanian Grads Are Adapting To The New Reality
“Go to school, study hard so that you will help me back when you get employment”, goes the advice of a Tanzanian parent to a young beautiful girl in stunning green kindergarten uniforms as they are parting in the early morning. Listening to the conversation as I was passing, I felt the urge to rephrase the parent’s statement but managed to stop myself, because I knew that would mean disrespect and minding other people’s business.
So, I left the matter alone. But the thought of what will become of that young student in twenty years from now is still nagging at the back of my mind till today. I guess that is why I am writing this article, and most importantly, as a victim of the same advice given to me twenty years ago.
The society in Tanzania still believes that people get employed after they go to school. That’s why when they see a university graduate staying at home unemployed, they look at them with curiosity. The assumptions will be, maybe that fellow failed or didn’t get marks good enough to qualify for a job position. Parents send their children to school because they believe that their children will be employed thereafter.
This is where the school dilemma comes. When university graduates come to the community and see the reality for themselves, they become shocked.
School doesn’t apply anymore. They are being trained to be good employees for the jobs that no longer exist. Even when they exist there are as not as many job positions for all of the graduates to be hired.
I feel sorry to parents who still tell their children to go to school so that will get a good fine job afterwards. Because that will make their children street wanderers with khaki envelopes looking for job positions that are hardly available.
The thing is, the world is fast changing but our education system is crawling back from keeping up with the changes.
Our too theoretical classroom knowledge makes us aliens in the competitive world that requires skills we never touched in our school topics. You may find Tanzanian students who are profoundly gurus on defining and mentioning terms than actually applying them to their real life. These students however, are not to be blamed, it’s the education that structured them that way – school makes you become what you study.
Robert Kiyosaki, author of the best-selling book, Rich Dad Poor Dad challenges the education system that is dormant to new changes. He says, education makes people become what they study and if the education they get is not flexible enough to bend with the changing demands of the world, the learners will find no application of their education.
Therefore, to cope with the school dilemma, Tanzanian students need to not rely on being employed but equip with them the important skills that will help them make sense with the dynamic world that we live in. To do this, students should not be centered only on the education they get from classroom but pursue other skills – know a little about a lot!
There are many skills that are rarely taught in school including financial intelligence, computer skills, public speaking, people management and many other skills that will help them strive in the competitive world.