Diversication-vocationalization of secondary curriculum and school leaver employment: a case study of selected agricultural biased schools in the Coast and Dar es Salaam regions

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University of Dar es Salaam
The future development of this country depends primarily on the efforts of the youths, especially the educated youths. The nation invests heavily on educating them in the hope that they will be the spring board to prosperity. For that matter, the nation is ready to forgo now the provision of more social services to its people and investments into more productive economic sectors. A higher return in future is expected from these youths. This case study was therefore concerned with finding out if the existing agro-secondary curriculum did really produce employable youths who could and were willing to engage in either wage or self employment activities as demanded by the philosophy of education for Self - Reliance of 1967. In other words, this study was concerned with finding out the kind of skills, knowledge and attitudes the students had through exposure to the diversified vocational agricultural biased curriculum. A review of literature seemed to suggest that the school leavers came out of school with neither adequate skills and knowledge for, nor positive attitudes to, self-employment. In other words, it had been suggested that effective implementation of curriculum was highly unlikely because of a combination of factors as outlined in the review. Hence it was felt that a field study was necessary to find out the kind of skills, knowledge and attitudes the students can cut with. Three main instruments were used to collect data. One, a checklist by which information on equipment, books, teaching force a nd agro-activities was gathered. This was considered necessary as it would provide compelling evidence regarding the suitability of the environment for the imparting of shills, knowledge and attitudes. Two, a test for the students designed to find out how much skill and knowledge they had gained through the curriculum. Three, set of questionnaire (attitude scales on the attitude of students to self employment especially in rural areas. Within the attitude questionnaire there were questions that required students to furnish information on their home background. Hence information was sought on their birth places, their present abode, the people staying with, the parents' marital status health, educational back ground and occupational activities in order to understand better the students' attitudes. To supplement the information on checklist and questionnaires, a semi structured interview was conducted for the heads and agro teachers in the schools and an official from the Ministry of National Education. Taking the limitations of the study into account, findings revealed that the schools, taken singly, had quite some variations in their performance. It seemed clear that environment had an impact on the effective implementation of the agro-curriculum. For school which had conducive environment performed better (51.78%) than either school B [47.50%] or school C [45.38%]. But if one lumps the schools together then their performance does not fall significantly. Perhaps it is less useful to average up schools which are so different for by so doing schools B and C which performed poorly affect neg atively the otherwise good performance of school A. However, the important question is whether in Tanzania there are more. A type or B/C-type schools. May be the B/C-type schools dominate. As for the students' attitude to self - employment, it has been found out that students were ready and willing [66.47%] to engage in self - employment activities in rural areas, contrary to the expectation of the researcher and the review of literature. As a matter of fact even their parents [62.29%] were ready and willing to allow their children to engage in self employment. It has been argued, on the basis of these findings, that their rural background (62.80 %] might have been one of the contributive factors to students liking of self - employment in rural areas. Other factors that might have similarly contributed, it has been suggested, are that students were becoming more realistic to life in the sense that the majority will have to employ themselves there anyway. Students are no longer under the illusion that white-collar jobs are the only avenues possible and desirable for people of their level, thus self - employment is the only option consonant with the socioeconomic reality of the situation in which school leavers find themselves. It has been pointed out that incompetent teaching staff is also responsible for the under utilization of the agro-units i.e. farm implements and workshop equipment. This phenomenon is shown in table 9 of the text. Now then based on the findings it has been concluded that in order to get employable school leavers, the present school environment needs adjustment and improvement. Attitudes though positive, might not make for the poor performance. A combination of good performance and positive attitude to self-employment will do a lot better than taken slightly. In the light of the findings and discussion and subsequently the conclusions it has been recommended therefore that.1. Agro teachers should be retrained to raise their academic competence and preferably they should specialise.2. Agro-bias schools should be provided with enough equipment to enable them to undertake Practcals.3. The agro activities should be diversified to give equal and applicable skills to all the students.4. Frequent transfers of teachers should be done away with for they disturb the smooth continuity in teaching.5. Local resources rather than foreign resources should be depended upon. Recommendations for further study have similarly been made. Issues that might be studied include: 1. a tracer study i.e. to follow up the secondary school leavers in the field after some time and see what activities they are engaged in. 2. A study on how long students stay unemployed after they leave school and what activities they carry out meanwhile.3. A study on the changed behaviour i. e. find out what the school leavers have when they enter secondary, what they have when they come out and how long the skills stay with them. 4. A study on the whole question of biases. It is concluded that in the face of inadequate skills and knowledge successful or effective self employment becomes highly unlikely. For self - employment needs people who have not only positive attitudes [as students are in the agro bias schools] but also adequate skills leading to self - confidence. It needs people with initiative supported by capital, which the school leavers are apparently lacking.
Vocational education, Agricultural education, Agriculture, Tanzania
Mahai, S. S. G. (1982) Diversication-vocationalization of secondary curriculum and school leaver employment: a case study of selected agricultural biased schools in the Coast and Dar es Salaam regions, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (