Distance Education for Secondary Schools - Tanzania

The distance education project aims to equally provide affordable learning materials to forgotten school children in the rural and impoverished urban suburbs. The organisation Distance Learning and Education Services (DLES) gives secondary school students access to affordable papers as well as free online learning materials. Materials include revisions for different courses and past National Examination question papers, including suggested answers. This programme started in 2000 and benefitted over 250,000 students.

Project context:
In Tanzania, there is a lack of teaching and learning materials. DLES deals with this lack by providing all kinds of online and offline educational resources.
Read more about IICD’s Tanzania Country Programme.

Update and results:
The most popular materials are past exams, including the best seller “Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Examinations”.

Objectives:
The project’s primary objective is to deliver quality Educational Materials to students in Tanzania at the lowest prices possible, using the Internet and other ICT technologies. Another objective is to improve the quality and access to educational materials to secondary schools’ students in Tanzania. The organisation aims to develop low cost solutions to the problem of educational materials thereby reducing costs of education for parents.

Impacts:
More than 500 rural schools and 78 schools in the capital have made use of DLES’ services. The organisation estimates that over 250,000 students have already benefited from the materials produced by the organisation.
Read more about IICD’s approach towards Education.

Lessons learned:
DLES encountered several challenges. First certification of the materials proved to be very cumbersome. Ultimately, this was realised in cooperation with the Institute of Adult Education. One other challenge concerned updating the material. DLES has tried to turn it in an open source, so that everybody can contribute, but the idea was not well received by teachers and students. They were not ready to contribute to make the materials highly up to date.  DLES also experienced resistance from teachers caused by a conflict of interest. Teachers tend to top up their income by giving extracurricular tuition and selling similar materials as DLES. Therefore, they considered DLES’ activities as competing.
Management:

Distance learning and Education Services (DLES) is a non-profit organisation established to assist the Tanzanian secondary students with supplementary learning materials. The organisation is partly assisted through private funds, but sustainability is still difficult. DLES is looking for additional funding to continue its activities.

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