Tuesday, March 24, 2009

history of special education in tanzania

Special need is defined as specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents or guardians to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability (Bui and Meyen 2007) the education should be individualized provided in various settings and designed to meet the unique needs of the student.

Special education is first of all, purposeful intervention designed to prevent, eliminate, and or overcome the obstacles that might keep an individual with disabilities from learning and from full and active participation in school and society (Heward, 2006) this means that Special education is a profession with its own history, cultural, practices tools and research base focused on the learning needs of exceptional children and adults.

In Tanzania special education has been supported by NGO and mostly religious organization (Possi, 1996). For example, the Anglican Church started the first school for the blind in 1950 and in 1963 Roman Catholic Church established a school for the deaf.(MNE, 1984). Services for children with autism and those who are both deaf and blind were established in 1994 (Mboya and Possi, 1996). The emphasis of education in Tanzania is Education for ALL (MOEC, 1995) as such provision of special education in Tanzania is characterized by a continuum of alternative approaches of placement (Mboya &Possi, 1996), such as special –residential, special day care, mainstreaming/ integrated boarding schools and currently moving towards inclusive education (Mmbaga, 2002; Mwipopo, 2005). However, history of special needs education in Tanzania does not indicate how personnel e.g., teachers, dealing with children with disabilities were trained. This may be the cause as to why special needs education is not given its due attention in educational institutions. Currently, it is only Sebastian kolowa university college (SEKUco) which provides a Degree course with major emphasis in special needs education.

In addition, a document presenting recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Education (Tanzania Education System 1981 – 2002) had a section dealing specifically with special education. The commission recommended that, wherever possible, children with disabilities should be provided with education equivalent to that of other children (MNE, 1984). However, these recommendations did not indicate strategies on how to attain them, hence, lead to teachers treating children with special needs in the same way as the said normal students. This resulted to making them fail to attain the set goals of education for all, which is also their right. Furthermore, most educational practitioners worked with the wherever possible, as there were no commitment and had no intensive training that could make them aware on how to deal with people with disabilities. This lead to children with special needs being left out of the education system, as the practitioners in education had a reason that it is not possible to include them. Thus, to facilitate education for children with special needs there is a need to include social workers so that all children are trained on skills that make them acceptable in the society. In my view, it is the social worker who are in a position to advice teachers and other


  1. It is true special Education is mostly supported by Religious organization.But Dr Edward bagandanshwa in one of his lecture,he had one day said that " most of Government leaders who had been developing special Education in tanzania,either one of their family member or relative was hit by disabilty" so I think he meant that the drive of special Educations by those leaders was only caused by such pinch of being hit and not their personal consciousness

    1. Can you send me a full history of special needs education in Tanzania. smbakizao@gmail.com

  2. i need more details about the history of the special education in Tanzania,please can you send a link or books via my email so that i can use them as reference in my project.

  3. Where can i obtain a full list of all special education schools in Tanzania????

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