History of NECTA
Tanzania Mainland had pulled out of the East African Examinations Council,
in 1971 and before NECTA was established by Law, in 1973, the Curriculum
and Examinations Section of the Ministry of Education was responsible for
all examinations. With the
establishment of NECTA, the Examinations become its responsibility in
accordance with the law. The
Curriculum continued to be under the Ministry of Education and the
University College, Dar es Salaam until when it was taken over by the
newly established, autonomous Institute of Curriculum Development (ICD) in
1975, which in 1993 was renamed as the Tanzania Institute of Education
1972 and 1976 the first staff of NECTA were recruited. The former
Executive Secretary (Mr. P. P Gandye) was recruited in 1972. The other
staff members continued to be recruited and especially so when NECTA’s
premises moved from the Ministry of Education Headquarters to the present
premises at Kijitonyama near Mwenge. Presently the number of NECTA’s
staff is around 160.
History of Secondary School Examinations on Tanzania Mainland
Secondary Education in Tanzania Mainland started in 1930’s during the
British rule. The first Junior Secondary School opened at Tabora in 1934. By the end of the Second World War the number of junior Secondary
Schools increased from one in 1934 to eight Government Secondary schools
and ten Mission Secondary Schools. At the end of the Junior Secondary
Education students sat for an External or Final Examination called the
Territorial Standard Ten Examination.
establishment of Junior Secondary Education in 1930’s was followed by
the establishment of Senior Secondary Education after the Second World
War. At the end of the Senior Secondary Education Cycle students
sat for the Cambridge School Certificate Examination which was sat for the
first time in 1947. Further development in Education for Tanzania Mainland, led to the introduction of
Higher Secondary Education in the late 1950’s. The first African students to complete the Higher Secondary
Education Cycle sat for the Cambridge Higher School Certificate
Examination for the first time in 1960. The development in Education for
Tanzania Mainland reached climax when Dar es Salaam University College
opened in 1961. Its first 14
Law students graduated in 1964 and received their Bachelor of Laws of the
East African University comprising Dar es Salaam, Makerere and Nairobi
University Colleges. Before
the East African University became a full University, it was part of the
University of London.
Assessment Becoming Part of NECTA’s Examination Certification
based assessment was part and parcel of the school system since its
establishment by the Germans immediately after their coming to East
Africa. During the German
Rule, between 1880’s and the end of the First World War, education on
Mainland Tanzania (by then Tanganyika) was provided in village Primary
Schools and assessment was mainly school based.
After the War, as the Germans were defeated then Tanganyika was
entrusted by the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations,
to the British Government, during the British rule the primary education
established by the Germans expanded together with the school based
assessment or formative assessment, to monitor the pupils’ progress.
In addition to the school based or formative assessment, the
British started external or final examination (summative assessment) at
the end of each education cycle.
Education system before mid 1930’s on Tanzania Mainland was 4-2-3 i.e.
Four years of Primary Schooling, two years of District schooling and Three
years of Provincial Schooling. With
the introduction of Junior Secondary Schools after mid 1930’s, Senior
Secondary Schools and Middle Schools after the second world war, the
education system became 4-4-2-2 i.e. Four years of Primary Schooling, Four
years of Middle Schooling, Two years of Junior Secondary Schooling and Two
years of Senior Secondary Schooling. The introduction of Higher Secondary
Education in late 1950’s, the establishment of Dar es Salaam University
College in 1961 and the reorganization of Primary and Middle schools in
1960’s led to the present Education System of 7-4-2-3 i.e. seven years
of Primary Schooling, Four years of Ordinary Secondary Schooling, Two
years of Advanced Secondary Schooling and Three years of first degree
based assessment or continuous assessment in all education cycles through
exercises, class tests, monthly and terminal tests was established in the
education system to monitor pupils’ progress within education cycles and
to promote them from low classes to higher classes.
Pupils who performed well in the school-based assessment were
promoted from lower classes to higher classes; those who performed poorly
were required to repeat classes in order to improve their performance.
or Final Examinations were administered at the end of each education cycle
to promote the pupils from the lower education cycle to the higher
education cycle which usually had few places and for selecting pupils to
different courses and direct employments.
the Education System was 4-2-3, the end of Education cycle Examinations
were Primary Standard Four Examination, District Standard Six Examination
and provincial Standard Nine Examination respectively; when the Education
System was 4-4-2-2-, the end of Education Cycle examinations were
respectively provincial Standard Four Examination, Territorial Standard
Eight Examination, Territorial Standard Ten Examination and Cambridge
School Certificate Examination, at the end of the present Education
Structure of 7-4-2-3,the end of cycle examinations are Primary School
leaving Examination, certificate of secondary Education Examination,
Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education Examination and First degree
two methods of assessment – the formative and summative – saved their
purposes very well until when Mwalimu Nyerere questioned them in his book
of Education for Self Reliance in 1967, after the Arusha Declaration.
Mwalimu questioned the two methods of assessment because, although
Tanzania became independent, the Cambridge Syllabuses and examinations
were still very British in all aspects.
The data and examples in question papers were mainly from Britain.
Hence Mwalimu, knowing that Examinations normally influence the
change of curriculum, directed in his book of Education for Self Reliance
to make the Syllabuses and Examinations Tanzanian.
TANU’s Musoma Directive on the implementation of Education for
Self Reliance in 1974 is the basis if the present Continuous Assessment
practiced in all Secondary Schools, Teachers and Technical Colleges. The directive stated as follows:
excessive emphasis now placed on written examinations must be reduced, and
that the students’ progress in the classroom plus his performance of
other functions and the work which he will do as part of his education
must all be continually assessed and the combined result is what should
constitute his success or failure.
responded to the challenge and formulated the Continuous Assessment
package, after consultation with the other educationists within the
Council and the Country (The Institute of Education, The Academic
Departments of the Ministry of Education, the University etc) and outside
the country (China and Korea) in 1976.
The Continuous Assessment package consisted of two-assessment
component: the academic
component comprising the Continuous Assessment (weighting (50%) the Final
Examinations (weighting 50%) and the character assessment and attitude
towards work component (weighting 100%).
The 50% of Continuous Assessment component was to be contributed
Exercises – Homework, class tests, quizzes etc. (20%)
Terminal Tests (25%)
Projects – three projects – Form III – IV and Form V – VI
Final Examination (F.E.) component was to be administered by NECTA that of
Continuous Assessment (C.A.) by teachers in schools/colleges and the marks
sent to NECTA.
In combining the Continuous Assessment (C.A.) marks with the Final
Examination (F.E) marks the following standardization parameters were to be taken into consideration:
The National Mean for Continuous Assessment (NCA)
The National Mean for Final Examination (NFE)
The National Mean Difference between the National Mean for
Assessment and the National Mean for Final Examination NMD = NCA – NFE.
The Centre Mean for Continuous Assessment (CA)
The Centre Mean for Final Examination (FE0)
The Centre Mean Difference between the Centre Mean for Continuous
and the Centre Mean for Final Examination MD = CA – FE.
The Adjustment Factor obtained from the Difference between the
Mean Difference and the Centre mean Difference AF = NMD –MD = (NCA –
NFE) – (CA – FE).
adjustment factor was the number of marks (Positive or Negative) added to
the candidates’ total marks of C.A. and F.E.
A negative adjustment factor was an indication that the teachers
were too generous in awarding C.A. marks, a positive adjustment factor was
an indication that they were too strict and a zero adjustment factor was
and indication that the assessment of teachers on C.A was as the
assessment of Examiners on F.E.
the statistical manipulation, the marks for each subject and each
candidate were graded as A, B, C, D, and F for O-Level examination and as
A, B, C, D, E, S, and E for the A- Level examination.
character assessment and attitude towards work aspect of the C.A.
component was the main important departure from the traditional
examination certification. In assessing this aspect teachers had to base
their assessments onto the following pupil’s attributes:
Conduct of applying effort with consistency, enthusiasm, perseverance,
efficiency and producing satisfactory amount of work.
Valuing Work: Conduct of showing interest
in one’s work regardless of its nature
Caring for Property: The conduct of
applying care in handling property and of safeguarding it from loss or damage.
Sociability: Conduct of promoting social harmony and understanding; of showing
appreciation and consideration of other people’s viewpoints and feelings, and of being accommodating.
Conduct of obeying lawful orders willingly and of following instructions faithfully.
Honesty: Conduct of being faithful, trustworthy and behaving properly, avoiding
cheating and departing from one’s duties only when period of work ends
or after completing duty.
Conduct of being neat, orderly and tidy in appearance and presentations
well as caring for personal hygiene.
attribute was given a percentage weighting for all seven totaling to 100%.
The percentages awarded by the teachers to every pupil for each of the
seven attributes were to be translated by NECTA and reduced to three
80% - 100% VERY GOOD
40% - 79% GOOD
0% - 39% POOR
the purpose of Certification at O-Level, the candidate had to pass both
the academic component at grades A, B, C, or D and character assessment
towards work at grades 1 & 2. For A- Level the candidate had also to
pass both the academic component at grades A, B, C, D, E, or S and the
character assessment and attitude towards work at grades 1 & 2.
Failing one component – Academic or character assessment- denied the
candidate a certificate.
revision of the C.A programme, which started in 1976, took place in 1989.
During the revision some weaknesses of the programme were discovered. The
first weakness was the result from fact the NECTA did not formulate
articulate and comprehensive guidelines to help teachers in the
administration of the programme. Other weaknesses included the
cumbersomeness of dealing with large numbers of exercises, which led to
some teachers “cooking” the marks; few candidates being victimized in
character assessment thus denying them certificates and the requirement of
candidates to produce three projects in two years was too much for them.
However, on the whole, the revision found that the C.A programme was very
improve the C.A programme, therefore, NECTA published a guideline booklet
which was articulate and comprehensive to guide the teachers; the
exercises as an aspect of the C.A component were dropped, pupils had to
produce one project work in the two years of Forms Three and Four and
Forms Five and Six and Character assessment and attitude to work no longer
applied as a condition for certification, although it is still a condition
for registration. After the revision the programme is manageable by
teachers for they have to send to NECTA only terminal tests’ and one