1 50% transition rate from primary to secondary

1          Background

Learning is a
product not only of formal schooling, but also of families, communities and
peers. Social, economic and cultural forces affect learning and thus school
achievement . A great deal of research on the determinants of school
achievement has centered on the relative effects of home-and school-related
factors, for instance, most findings have suggested that family background is
an important determinant of school outcomes, where a school characteristics
have minimal effects

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For a long period
of time, national Government has invested heavily on improving education sector
from primary education level to university level of education. For the
secondary level there was less investment and less attention.

For several
reasons, attention is now increasingly being given to secondary schooling

with particular
focus on the lower level of secondary education. The demand of secondary
education has increased rapidly due to the increase in enrolment in primary school.
Enrolment in primary schools increased from 7,541,208 pupils in 2005 to
8,419,305 in 2010, an increase of 11.6%.

 So as to cope
with the effect of increasing the enrolment of primary students the government
of Tanzania launches the Secondary Education Development Plan in 2004. It
outlined the framework for achieving greater access to secondary education
(URT, 2004). SEDP is a visionary plan which informs of projections that were
planned for the country to have achieved a 50% transition rate from primary to
secondary school by 2010. This may be translated to get over 500,000 pupils who
would join Form one in secondary schools annually – about five times the 2004
rate. This was supposed to bring changes in the outlook of secondary education
within the country. The enrolment of forms 1 – 6 were expected to be above
2,000,000 by 2012.  

According to the Basic Education Statistics in
Tanzania (BEST), (2011), enrolment in secondary education from 524, 325 pupils
in 2005 to 1,789,547 students in 2011. The launched Secondary Education
Development Plan (SEDP) was expected to be implemented for three phases of five
years each, it had five objectives: improve education management systems,
improve quality education, improve access of education.

According to Ministry of Education and Vocational
Training (MOEVT), enrolment in secondary education increased by 241.3% from
524, 325 pupils in 2005 to 1,789,547 students in 2011 (Basic Education
Statistics, 2011).

education primarily depends on teachers and their capacity to improve the
teaching and learning process and is widely recognized that quality of teachers
and teaching lies at the heart of all schooling systems intending to offer
quality education. Mosha (2004) observed that the teaching force is the
foundation of quality education at all levels of education. Ward Secondary
Schools were established by collaboration between the Government and the local
community initiatives. These schools are operated and managed by both
Government and local community. Inefficiencies at school level are common and
result from lack of effective teacher management and supervision. These
inefficiencies translate in perverse teacher deployment, dropouts and
repetitions amongst student. There is a serious scarcity of standard inputs
which includes low textbook/student ratios across schools and subject areas –
but mainly in mathematics, Physics Chemistry, Biology and English. Both
learners and teachers – in these ward based secondary schools, have serious
deficiencies in their mastery of the language of teaching and learning which is
English. This result in adopting pedagogical approaches which are not
learner-centered, participatory and optimally interactive.

This study
intended to examine the factors influencing poor academic performance in Ward
secondary schools in Tanzania. Chapter one therefore, introduces the background
to the problem, the statement of the problem, the objectives of the study and
the research questions to guide the study. In addition, the chapter describes
the limitations and delimitations of the study.