Aligning Visions: Quest Forward Learning and Tanzania’s Educational Initiatives
The education system in Tanzania plays a critical role in the development of the nation through the continuous production of knowledgeable, creative, and problem-solving graduates. The Tanzanian government has created different initiatives to provide equitable quality education and vocational skills to all. Since its introduction by the Opportunity Education Foundation Tanzania in 2017, Quest Forward Learning has helped students learn actively, gain competence in important skills, and develop essential habits for learning and working. The methodology offers students in Tanzania the opportunity to create value for families, villages, and their country. There are promising signs for the future and the sustainability of Quest Forward Learning in Tanzanian secondary schools:
1. Quest Forward Learning provides a user-friendly design and pedagogical approach. Quest Forward Learning methodology combines high-quality academic materials with student-centric teaching and learning that helps students become lifelong learners. Furthermore, the approach emphasizes mentorship and offers teachers opportunities to support individual students and small groups directly and interactively. This approach has earned a broad level of acceptability among teachers, students, and other educators across Tanzania.
2. Quest Forward Learning aligns with the 2014 National Tanzania Education Policy. The National Education Policy emphasizes academic, analytical, and entrepreneurial skills to be applied at all levels of education. It recognizes science and technology as tools for enhancing teaching and learning, equipping students with skills for future employment. Quest Forward Learning uses skill-focused quests, which create a personalized learning environment that supports the Essential Habits and the use of technological platforms.
3. Quest Forward Learning adheres to the Tanzania Secondary Education Curriculum. The 2005 Tanzania Secondary Education Curriculum articulates the fundamental skills and competencies of a secondary school student: critical, logical, and creative thinking; collaboration; intuitive and contextual problem-solving and evaluation; and effective communication skills in English, Kiswahili, and other languages. Quest Forward Learning addresses these skills in its Guiding Principles and Essential Habits.
4. Quest Forward Learning promotes teaching and learning environments. Experience has shown that both public and private sectors have taken some initiative in improving school infrastructure, where some classrooms have access to such tools as writing boards, overhead projectors, flip charts, rulers, and screens, supplemental instructional materials, and electric power. These facilities, available at only some schools, enhance students’ ability to explore, interact, collaborate, collect, process, share, and present information through words, sounds, and images. Quest Forward Learning greatly depends on the same facilities, where both teachers and students access learning materials from various technological tools, platforms, and related teaching and learning facilities.
5. Quest Forward Learning complies with Tanzania’s focus becoming a middle-income country. The Tanzanian government hopes to shift its economy from a predominantly agricultural one to a diversified and semi-industrialized economy. The government wants to improve basic social services, and education in particular, by enhancing and promoting entrepreneurial skills to students and graduates so that they possess the necessary skills to participate meaningfully in “the national industrial developments.” Such government focus increases the value of Quest Forward Learning as a meaningful way to fill “skill gaps,” by designing skills-focused courses and quests.
6. Teachers and students have accepted Quest Forward Learning. Since its inception, the Quest Forward Learning methodology has created significant excitement for both teachers and students. For students, the methodology has created a chance to experience active learning, where they gain important skills and develop effective habits for learning and work. The methodology also offers teachers the opportunity to support individual students and small groups interactively. Furthermore, teachers (mentors) provide targeted, meaningful support for each student’s growth, which has caught on enthusiastically. This excitement provides an assurance that Quest Forward Learning has a place in the future of education in Tanzania.
7. Quest Forward Learning has support from stakeholders. Quest Forward Learning is highly supported by other educational actors and partners. Telecommunication network companies like Vodacom-Tanzania collaborate with Opportunity Education Foundation schools by providing internet and tablets. The Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE), which develops the national curriculum and approves educational materials, works closely with the Opportunity Education Foundation-Tanzania. The educational content that is developed by Quest Forward Learning has been evaluated and approved by the Institute. Vodacom’s support is also likely to attract other mobile telecommunication companies, like TTCL, Tigo, Airtel, Halotel, and Zantel to do the same, which will hopefully support and benefit secondary schools across Tanzania well into the future.
Between the continuing implementation of Quest Forward Learning, as supported by the Opportunity Education Foundation-Tanzania, and the Tanzanian government’s prioritization of educational initiatives and benchmarks, there is much promise for the future of a new generation of skilled secondary school graduates who can work toward the development of their communities and the nation of Tanzania.