Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Weekly Sneak: It Takes a Lot of People to Kill an Education System

It is tough to wake up in the morning wondering what amazing abdication of responsibility my government is going to get up to on any given day. In addition to whatever other sublimely ridiculous thing it has concocted. By now I am sure you've heard the news about the disastrous results of our 2012 Form IV National Examinations. A failure rate of 60% is an amazing achievement in itself. The author of this event- the Government of Tanzania- is purporting to investigate what happened. 

As if this happened overnight. As if they don't know. As if our public education system hasn't been going down the drain for years now, right in plain sight. As if they had no hand in it. 

All these years of paying lip service! "Blah blah blah, we care about education, blah blah, knowledge society blah blah..." Finally here is a shock that they can't sweep under the rug nor bury in some document that no one is allowed to read. Once the investigation is done, the commission will have to release it's findings. It's going to take a beating if it doesn't tell the truth about all the problems facing the  education sector, and the way in which corruption has played a major role in killing it off. Not just the money- absenteeism, shoddy work, constantly ignoring warning signs, bad "solutions" to pressing problems like how to increase enrollment... bad, bad governance.

In the tradition of scape-goating, we're already apportioning blame. I don't find this particularly useful and I think that resignation-by-rote is silly especially since it only affects politicians. What we need to do is hold the civil servants to account, and all the institutions that are involved- not just the highly visible Ministry of Education.  
"Anyone who calls themselves a school inspector, front of the line. Yes, in front of Dr. Kawambwa. Shame on you. Procurers of things for Secondary Schools: where were the textbooks and supplementary reading, hm? The laboratory equipment? Stand right behind those school inspectors.  We’re going to build us a bonfire! Just because the biggest log is the formerly glorious political party that has presided over the death of education doesn’t mean we don’t need kindling."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Weekly Sneak: ...Where Do You Think You're Going?

Oh dear, National Assembly. 

It's not going to be that easy to get rid of live Bunge sessions. We've been watching you for years and we have come to love you something fierce. Scary "if you leave me, i'll go crazy" kinda fierce. If we had to declare ourselves on Facebook we'd fall under 'it's complicated.' Half the time we're not sure we like each other at all. But it is what it is and we're stuck together in this electoral representative democracy of ours. So we have to keep you where we can see every. little. thing. you. do. 

You understand, don't you? It's... well, it's personal. It's about our relationship. We don't like it when you hide, it makes us think you might be playing us false. And you know how we get when we suspect that you're getting up to no good, right? So, please- think about what you're thinking about doing. Don't make us go stalker on you because you know we will. That would really make our relationship messy. And remember- we'll be watching you. Always. Always. ALWAYS. Here, let me play you our song


Your Peeps. 

"So what if there is a high entertainment value in watching Bunge live? Verbal gladiator games are the least these people could do for the taxpayer. Tanzanians have a real greed for political news and parliament live is the ultimate buffet. Snatching it away is going to hurt more than the parliament’s reputation. Something terrible is happening to The Establishment’s political acumen, they need to look into that." 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Good Vibes

You know what today is? That's right! It's the kick-off of the Sauti za Busara music festival in Zanzibar and they are celebrating their 10th edition. So this blogpost is my offering to help celebrate ten 'editions' of Busara- I'm guessing they are using the term edition because perhaps it hasn't actually happened for ten years consecutively? One, two, skip a few... that kind of thing. It's such a chill festival, all flip flops and calabash-based instruments and atmospheric venue and easily enjoyed if you just dodge around the forest of telephoto lenses that the photographers (both real and wanna-be) wield like broadswords.

Sadly I won't be celebrating with them this year due to a dismal lack of planning, so no adventures to blog about. Actually that is a flimsy excuse since 'a dismal lack of planning' exactly describes my travel strategy for all Zanzibar trips, but this time around there's not even going to be a spontaneous attempt. So this humble offering is in celebration of the fact they Team Busara hasn't given up- yay!- and wishing them ten more 'editions- some of which I hope to attend. What's that? Pictures you say? Check out Dunia ni Duara. I'm betting Pernille's going to be posting the pretty and the unexpected,  rendered in jewel tones. 

The Weekly Sneak: Father Joe

Listen, this is no time for the picking of "original" topics for the weekly offering. Pope Benedict XVI has decided to resign, which is an unusual thing for a Pope to do to put it mildly. Generations of Catholics have lived and died without hope of ever seeing such a phenomenon. The Pope is citing old age, feels he doesn't have the energy to do the job well. Maybe that's the whole story, maybe there's more to it but at the end of the day it is still fantastic news. 

I am a big, big fan of people who know when it's time to let go and move on. This is not something the patriarchy is any good at, and it doesn't get more rampantly patriarchal than The Church. So His Holiness must be congratulated in the hopes of encouraging the behavior to spread. Now, if only we could get a few African presidents to see the light:
" Whatever his reasons are for throwing in the towel, it’s a wonderful development.  And it’s also great fodder for African and other political commentators who are stuck under the protracted rule of former liberators clinging to power several decades past their sell-by date. Pope Benedict XVI has just upped the ante on President-for-Lifers. I must hereby join the ranks those who cannot help but turn a beady eye to a number of Heads of State and ask: “Well? What are you waiting for?”

A little birdie told me...

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