studyIn the past decade the proportion of children attending school has increased in many poor countries. Unfortunately, however, the statistics do not show the quality of education being provided to the children. In many cases, poor children who attend school get provided with a very poor quality of education, as indicated by the results of the recent National Form 4 (Year 10) examinations in Tanzania, which had a 61% failure rate.

Out of 397,126 students who sat for the exams, 240,903 failed. Over the past several years, examination results have been getting worse rather than better, although this may be at least partly due to better prevention of cheating. The best results were obtained by students from private schools. Only students who pass the Form 4 examinations are eligible to continue their secondary education for two more years.

The poor results reflect a range of problems with education in Tanzania. Schools are very poorly equipped and lack the basic books required for the courses being taught. There is a severe shortage of teachers relative to the number of pupils. Teachers are underpaid, and morale is low. Members of the government are perceived as uncaring because their children attend prestigious schools overseas.

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