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Tanzania’s Literacy Campaign in Historical-Structural Perspective

  • Jeff Unsicker

Abstract

Tanzania’s national literacy campaign merits the attention of both scholars and practitioners of adult education. On the one hand, as indicated in the overview section of this chapter, it is a special case among literacy efforts in the Third World nations: Tanzania’s leadership and adult educators have succeeded in mobilizing and sustaining a very large-scale campaign for nearly fifteen years; as a result, Tanzania now has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, and its campaign has often been suggested as a model for other underdeveloped nations. On the other hand, as indicated in the subsequent section on the campaign’s impact, the Tanzanian case is perhaps typical of many other Third World nations: little is really known about the outcomes at the level of the individual, and even less is known about the level of general national development. I argue that more complete impact assessments cannot be made without an understanding of the structural relations of production and power in the Third World and in the relations between the Third World and the First World. As these relations are the product of history, the final sections of the chapter trace the origins and development of Tanzania’s national literacy campaign within this historical-structural context. The result is a series of working conclusions, subject to further refinement as subsequent research pursues their implications.

Keywords

Adult Education United Nations Development Programme Literacy Class Peasant Farmer Universal Primary Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 3.
    Anders Johnsson, Kjell Nystrom, and Rolf Sunden, Adult Education in Tanzania (Stockholm: Swedish International Development Authority [Education Division Documents No. 9], 1983), pp. 81–82.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Among the most comprehensive studies of adult education in Tanzania are: Budd L. Hall, Adult Education and the Development of Socialism in Tanzania (Kampala: East African Literature Bureau, 1975).Google Scholar
  3. Yusuf O. Kassam, The Adult Education Revolution in East Africa (Nairobi: Shungwaya Publishers, Ltd., 1978), Zakayo J. Mpogolo, Functional Literacy in Tanzania (Dar es Salaam: Swalo Publications, 1980), and Johnsson et al., Adult Education in Tanzania.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Yusuf Kassam, Illiterate No More (Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House, 1979).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Yusuf Kassam, Illiterate No More (Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House, 1979), p. 52.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Yusuf Kassam, Illiterate No More (Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House, 1979), p. 52.Google Scholar
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    Yusuf Kassam, Illiterate No More (Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House, 1979), pp. 54–55.Google Scholar
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    Tanzania, Ministry of Education, “Translated Report on the Impact of Adult Education in Tanzania” (A. S. Kamwela, translator) (Dar es Salaam: Department of Adult Education, mimeo, 1985).Google Scholar
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    Julius Nyerere, Freedom and Socialism (London: Oxford University Press, 1968).Google Scholar
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    See, for example, Fernando H. Cardoso and Enzo Faletto, Dependency and Development in Latin Amenca (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).Google Scholar
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    Jane King, Planning Nonformal Education in Tanzania (Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning/UNESCO, 1967), pp. 21–24.Google Scholar
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    Susan Gitelson, in Multihteral Aid for National Development and Self-Reliance (Kampala: East African Literature Bureau, 1976), suggests that the decision to emphasize “functional” literacy was part of UNESCO’s efforts to redefine literacy as an economic and not just a human-rights objective, which then rationalized the use of UNDP’s economic development funds in such projects. Mwesiga Baregu, a former WOALPP staff and political science faculty member at the University of Dar es Salaam, has suggested in personal communication that the functional approach was supported by UN members who were threatened by a more political or consciousness-raising approach, which had attracted international attention due to Cuba’s campaign in the early 1960s and the rising popularity of Paulo Freire’s work in Brazil.Google Scholar
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    Goran Hyden, “Administration and Public Policy,” in J. D. Barkan and J. Okumu, eds., Politics and Public Policy in Kenya and Tanzania (Nairobi: Heinemann Educational Books, 1979).Google Scholar
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    Michaela von Freyhold, “Some Observations on Adult Education in Tanzania,” in H. Hinzen and V. H. Hunsdorfer (eds.), The Tanzanian Experience: Education for Liberation and Development (London: Evans Brothers, 1979), p. 162.Google Scholar
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    Michaela von Freyhold, “Some Observations on Adult Education in Tanzania,” in H. Hinzen and V. H. Hunsdorfer (eds.), The Tanzanian Experience: Education for Liberation and Development (London: Evans Brothers, 1979), p. 163.Google Scholar
  16. 24.
    Michaela von Freyhold, “Some Observations on Adult Education in Tanzania,” in H. Hinzen and V. H. Hunsdorfer (eds.), The Tanzanian Experience: Education for Liberation and Development (London: Evans Brothers, 1979), p. 165.Google Scholar
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    Michaela von Freyhold, “Some Observations on Adult Education in Tanzania,” in H. Hinzen and V. H. Hunsdorfer (eds.), The Tanzanian Experience: Education for Liberation and Development (London: Evans Brothers, 1979), p. 166.Google Scholar
  18. 26.
    Michaela von Freyhold, “Some Observations on Adult Education in Tanzania,” in H. Hinzen and V. H. Hunsdorfer (eds.), The Tanzanian Experience: Education for Liberation and Development (London: Evans Brothers, 1979), pp. 165–166.Google Scholar
  19. 27.
    Michaela von Freyhold, “Some Observations on Adult Education in Tanzania,” in H. Hinzen and V. H. Hunsdorfer (eds.), The Tanzanian Experience: Education for Liberation and Development (London: Evans Brothers, 1979), pp. 166–167.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeff Unsicker
    • 1
  1. 1.World College WestPedalumaUSA

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