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Submitted by Rukmini Banerji on
It was very good to listen to Shanta and Rakesh discuss the status of schooling and learning in Tanzania. The patterns and trends, the concerns and worries, seem to be similar in many other places as well. For example: ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) started in India in 2005 and asked the basic questions - are children in school? are children learning? The answers are yes to the first question and not really or not enough to the second question. We were surprised when people in other countries were curious about what we were doing in India. East Africans led by Rakesh were among the first to come and take a close look at our work. The UWEZO reports from East Africa, like the ASER data from India and Pakistan, are very interesting. What UWEZO is showing in East Africa is very similar patterns - high enrollments and low learning. It will be interesting to watch these countries to see what changes in subsequent years. In India we are on the 6th year - every district in the country - a random sample of villages, households and children every year. 700,000 children each year. The story at the national level is unchanged since 2005. In India as in other countries, inputs get attention but outcomes do not. If only 50% of children after 5 years of schooling in 5th grade can read at 2nd grade level then it means that that the whole business of education delivery needs to be done differently. People must know what is expected and demand that learning be guarenteed if children attend school regularly. ASER and UWEZO are both national efforts by citizens to figure out what is going on and what to do to educate our children more effectively. I congratulate the UWEZO team in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya for completing their first year and I congratulate Shanta for supporting these efforts.