Tutors’ Interpretations of Competence-Based Curriculum in Tanzania: Implications for Practice in Teacher Education

Ibrahimu Nzima


In the light of new forms of curriculum policy in the world, teachers are increasingly seen as important agents and so it is important to find out how they conceptualize it. This may inform the development of a well-informed teacher education programme at pre-service and in-service levels. This article illuminates what tutors’ understanding is of the competence-based curriculum (CBC) in the Tanzanian context. The study draws on Basil Bernstein’s concept of ‘reconceptualization’ to reveal how tutors interpret/understand the concept of CBC. Informed by the interpretive perspective, data were obtained from semi-structured interviews with tutors from four teacher colleges. Data were analysed thematically. Two main conceptions of CBC among tutors were identified: CBC as an application-oriented curriculum and CBC as an activity-based curriculum. As regards the latter category, tutors are less sensitive to applying what is learnt beyond the classroom and subject context, which seems to be the main focus of CBC in Tanzania. The results generally suggest that tutors interpret CBC in different ways, thus giving it different meanings. Therefore the study recommends the need to carefully design and provide relevant teacher education at pre-service and in-service levels. This strategy would in turn minimize the dilution of the intended curriculum.


Key words: Competence-based curriculum, Tanzania, teacher colleges, tutors, tutors’ understanding.

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