Occupational expectations of primary seven pupils and their parents: a case study of Nshara, Hai district, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This research is concerned with the occupational expectations of primary seven pupils and those of their parents for children who complete primary education. The purpose was to find out whether or not primary school education in Tanzania today is seen by the pupils and parents to be complete and a preparation for the rural life as stipulated in Education for self-reliance. The findings were analysed and explained and results will be sent as a feedback to the policy-makers as well as educationists in general. Occupational expectations was seen as a problem primarily because education has been used and is still being used in many capitalist and developing nations as the major criterion for wage employment. The higher the educational qualifications the higher the pay and status in society. School expansion has not been coping up well with job opportunities as the former has tended to everride the latter resulting in the so called “primary school leaver problem” since all could not be absorbed in the modern sector. Education for self-reliance besides being used in the schools as a state ideological apparatus purports to change the attitudes and expectations of the pupils and parents to see each level of education, primary inclusive, as complete in itself. The problem then was: What are the pupils’ and Parents’ occupational expectations ten years since the birth of the Arusha Declaration (which set socialism as the primary goal) and education for self-reliance? Hypotheses were formulated to facilitate fieldwork research. The hypotheses and the findings were these: 1. Most of the parents prefer their children to continue with secondary education. It was found out that over 50% of the parents were in favour of their children pursuing further education. If we take only those who answered this question, 94.1% aspired their children to receive secondary school education. 2. Most of the primary seven pupils prefer too to go on to secondary school rather than stop at standard seven. The results showed that 95% of the pupils indicated an aspiration of going to secondary school. 3. If the pupils are not selected to continue with secondary education, they wish to repeat standard seven or join private fee-paying secondary schools. From list of 10 possible activities, repeating standard seven came as a second preference overall after weighting the results. Going to private secondary school was ranked sixth. 4. Ex-primary pupils remain at home and participate in Agricultural activities only as a last resort after failing to get wage employment, secondary school or any other type of training. Most of the parents who were interviewed indicated that these children were a problem due to land shortage in the area and some of the children showed some dislike for agriculture. We tried to trace the whereabouts of the 1974 and 1975 ex-primary school leavers as they were all the products of the Arusha Declaration and Education for self-reliance. The objective reality was that by December 1976 only 22.5% and 36.4% graduates of 1974 and 1975 respectively were still at home in the village and participated in agricultural activities, the major occupation of the majority of the people in the village. But we were not very sure if they are in the village as a last resort or otherwise. Further research is recommended. The parents and pupils prefer to get more education and wage employment away from agriculture because the salaried, especially those who fall in the petty-bourgeois category, have materially speaking a better-off life style than the peasantry. They are looking for the same. The results were obtained by using questionnaires, interviews and researcher’s observation. It has been recommended interalia that pupils from standard five onwards should concentrate on learning different technical skills such as carpentry, brick making, tailoring and knitting, particularly in areas facing land scarcity problems. These expectations are partly due to the nature of our economy which is dependent on a worldwide capitalist system. To resolve this, efforts should be made to disengage the Tanzanian underdeveloped economy from the international capitalist web and transform the rural areas by raising present low productivity in the agricultural sector
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Occupational training, Hai (district), Education, Economic aspects, Expectations, Primary school leavers, Tanzania
Malekela, G. A (1977) Occupational expectations of primary seven pupils and their parents: a case study of Nshara, Hai district, Tanzania, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (