Zanzibar Embraces Social, Emotional Learning in Schools

Zanzibar has embraced social and emotional learning (SEL), with the country’s education and vocational training ministry establishing an inclusive education and life skills department to nurture youth morally and intellectually.

Blue Economy and Fisheries Minister Suleiman Masoud Makame said here yesterday that through the department, the government is determined to equipping the youth with the key tools to grow and adapt their environment productively.

“Life skills are central to proper fostering of our children to become productive and resourceful members of the society,” Minister Makame told the social skills trainees.

Speaking on behalf of Education Minister Lela Muhammed Mussa, Mr Makame said Zanzibar youth need to undergo thorough training and preparations for the demands of work and life. “Soft skills are just as important for development as are academic qualifications,” he said.

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The minister reminded the trainees who will later participate in the assessment of life skills and values in the country to perform the task professionally and diligently to produce the envisaged outcome. “Unless you apply professionalism, integrity and honesty in data collection, there is a risk of arriving at an erroneous conclusion,” warned the minister.

Milele Zanzibar Foundation (MZF) Head of Programmes Khadija Ahmed Shariff whose organisation implements the project in Zanzibar said the multi-country initiative that targets youth at the 13-17 age bracket is planned to reach 44,000 youth in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. All 11 districts in Zanzibar will be covered through the 120 assessment areas, she said.

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ALiVE, the brainchild of Regional Education Learning Initiative (RELI), responds to the “Growing recognition of the value life skills transference as an education outcome against inadequate system attention to these competencies.”

According to Ms Shariff, the programme focuses on respect, collaboration, self-awareness and problem-solving as key soft skills that youth need to survive the competitive labour market.

ALiVE Project Coordinator Samson Sitta said the project that champions values and life skills seeks to address systemic challenges through development of the first East African open source assessment tools, generation of contextually relevant evidence and SEL knowledge, fostering a coalition of education community members and influencing policy through advocacy.

The project complements the government efforts to overhaul education sector under its plan to enhance quality through competency-based curriculum and speed up social and economic development.

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President Hussein Mwinyi has already announced massive changes in the education system, from nursery to tertiary levels, with high quality learning being the key target.

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