Here are 2 of the many thoughts I was left to explore after my conversation with Darlene:
Trying to fix education? Start with making teaching sexy
As much as the education system is a systematic problem, fixing it can begin with making genuine interest in the profession of teaching the minimum requirement to becoming a teacher.
The Tanzanian system, as it currently stands, ships low scorers in form four exams to teaching schools. They spend 2 years of teacher training in these schools and are then shipped to schools far from their immediate communities - landing them in alien environments with little connection to the communities and likely little interest in making meaningful contributions to grow these alien communities.
Darlene and I talk about making teaching sexy and that is one way to begin - by making teaching a profession with standards and I argue the most meaningful standard to start with is a prospective teacher’s genuine interest to guide little humans towards becoming functional, independent, thinking adults.
What’s going on with SMEs?
Darlene’s PhD thesis explored the Tanzanian SME landscape along 3 perimeters: history, policies, and technologies and their interplay. I found her examination insightful and thoughtful and it led me to wonder about the current plight of SMEs. Although they account for 95% of businesses in Tanzania and 35% of the country’s GDP, they aren’t as supported as they could be and I’d argue that is mostly the fault of reactive government policies that don’t offer security and certainty SMEs, which are already delicate ventures, need to ground and establish themselves. This is spoken from my point of view - a non-active participant in this triad. However, I would like to learn from those involved. This is a question I’d like to explore more on both podcast conversation and my social media platforms.