Beatings: not just for schoolchildren anymore

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda (Photo by The Citizen)

I’m on vacation, but Tanzany is not.

Alert reader Eric has been watching the news and sent me this update on the corporal punishment movement from The Citizen. High level summary: beating the schoolchildren must be having such success that the politicians want to expand the program.

“All those who are breaking the law will be beaten, and I insist that they should be beaten,” [Prime Minister Pinda] said…

“When the state organs start to hunt down those who are behind the chaos people should not complain that we are using force,” the PM said.

However, Mr Pinda’s remarks did not go down well with Mr Khatib Said Haji (Konde-CUF), who said the statement was an affront to the Constitution, which provided that a person should be considered innocent until proven otherwise by a court of law.

But Mr Pinda said the Constitution referred to law-abiding people.

“What I alluded to are people who defy legal orders by the State. What do you do with such people?” he queried.

So let me get this straight. Protection under the constitution only applies to law abiding citizens. And citizens accused by the government of fomenting dissent, are by definition not law abiding. Riiiiight.

Its the same approach the local government took to the motorcycle taxis not too long ago. Caning teachers who are not working, however still appears to be off the table

Obama in Tanzany: When Cheetahs Attack

Cheetah Pic

As you have probably heard and expats in Dar have known for some time, President Obama is coming to visit Tanzany.

The logistics of any presidential adventure travel are significant of course, but the following detail in this Washington Post story caught alert reader Mark’s eye:

“The president and first lady had also planned to take a Tanzanian safari as part of the trip, which would have required the president’s special counterassault team to carry sniper rifles with high-caliber rounds that could neutralize cheetahs, lions or other animals if they became a threat, according to the planning document.”

Possible? I suppose, but truly I think the threat to the leader of the free world would be very small. We have been to Mikumi three times and after the first visit I just gave my special counterassault team the day off because I just didn’t have enough work for them.

(Photo by Marie Reardon)


The beatings will continue until morale improves …

Corporal punishment

Hitting and other physical abuse of school children is widespread in Tanzanian schools today. From volunteers I have spoken with, teachers often hit kids minor things such as asking questions that the teachers don’t like.

If you were trying to design an educational system to more efficiently drive creativity, inquisitiveness, and love of learning out of students, you would have a hard time topping Tanzany.

Its just so stupid, appalling and sad.

But apparently all those beatings are not quite good enough in the mind of some ministers, though. Here’s a chilling quote from a recent story in The Daily News, titled “Public Schools to Continue Using Corporal Punishment.”

CORPORAL punishment will continue to be instituted in public schools to ensure discipline among pupils and students, the government has said. Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Mr Philipo Mulugo, said in Dar es Salaam during the launch of an education website, www., meant to be a platform for interaction among secondary school students.


Mr Mulugo stressed on the importance of corporal punishment in schools as a means of enhancing performance as the move would keep discipline among the students. “We know the move to re-introduce caning in schools would attract a lot of criticism, especially from those who call themselves as human rights activists,” he said.

The punishment was previously banned on grounds that it violated human rights.


But, Mr Mulugo said absence of corporal punishment contributed to the decline of discipline in schools, and consequently may have contributed to the ongoing fall in the performance in exams. “When I was a teacher in Mbeya one of the schools I taught was highly discipline compared to others because of the use of canes,” he said.

Of course when a local policeman decided to apply the same punishment to under-performing teachers a few years ago, a government minister call that “abnormal.”

Tanzania — stop beating your children!!!

No experience necessary

Photo by AMG Hosting

Say what you want about Tanzany’s political leaders — they can pander with the best in the world.

Here’s a great example that I’ve been meaning to post since it appeared in the Daily News in April, under the head line: “Fresh job seekers might no longer need ‘experience’.” (I love the quotation marks the headline writer put around the word experience. So evocative.)

“Job seekers will not have to possess experience in order to get employment after the government abolishes that condition, often given to people seeking first appointment.

… The Minister for Labour and Employment, Ms Guadensia Kabaka told the ‘Daily News’ … that her ministry was working on the proposal and would forward it to stakeholders both in the public an private sectors.

… The minister hinted that a directive would be issued to all employers in the country on what to demand from job applicants before they can be considered for employment.

… The minister said an applicant needs no work experience since one can make a good [Human Resources Officer] by undergoing on-the-job training, supported by academic qualifications.

According to curren tstatistics, more than 800,000 yous enter the labour market in the country annually while the government can manage to employ only 40,000.

Last week, the International Labour Organisation organized the Tanzanian Youth Employment Forum during which many participants voiced their concern on the issue of job experience and called on the government to review or abolish it.

… The ILO … was of the view that skills components and contribution of training institutions should be seriously addressed.

Once they get that all sorted, I fully expect them to move on to some other important loose ends like repealing the so-called “law” of supply and demand.

After all, making empty political statements is far easier than finding ways to help employers create new jobs.