Pre-primary Education in Tanzania: Teachers’ Knowledge and Instructional Practices in Rural Areas
Recently, the Ministry of Education Science and Technology though Tanzania Institute of Education introduced a new Pre-Primary Education Curriculum and Syllabus. Consequently, pre-primary teachers were orientated towards implementing the newly-established curriculum. However, little is known on the pre-primary teachers’ knowledge and practices vis-à-vis-effectiveness in teaching. This study, therefore, sought to narrow this gap of knowledge by assessing the pre-primary teachers' knowledge and practices regarding the implementation of the curriculum. A descriptive survey design informed this study. A total of 19 rural pre-primary teachers working in six wards in Mwanza and Morogoro regions were recruited to participate in the study. Data were collected using a questionnaire with Likert scales and a classroom observation schedule. The findings reveal that overall, pre-primary teachers had little knowledge (M=2.12,SD=.58) regarding Early Childhood Education. On the other hand, however these teachers were knowledgeable on the importance of play to children (M=2.36, SD=.76) and understood the objectives of pre-primary education (M=2.47, SD=.79). Teachers’ instructional practices, however, were unsatisfactory (M=2.07, SD=.62). Statistically, however, their knowledge scores did not significantly correlate with their practice (r = .344, p>.05). On the whole, the pre-primary teachers’ instructional practices were unsatisfactory. This suggests a need for continued provision of in-service educational programmes to the teachers.