This study was concerned with school inspection in Tanzania. The main aim was to explore the extent to which school inspection has an impact upon teaching and learning in Tanzanian primary schools and to give some insights into how it might be organised to influence teachers’ work performance. The theoretical framework was grounded on the Scientific Management, Human Relations and Critical theories with the argument that though teachers have to follow pre-determined objectives in a refined curriculum, they possess potential independent thinking that can shape their teaching and learning for pupils’ academic excellence hence, a sense of emancipation and ownership of the process.
The study was essentially qualitative with some aspects of a quantitative approach and it employed 59 participants. These were 50 teachers, 8 school inspectors and 1 district education officer. Empirical data were collected through questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussion and from documentary evidence.
The findings indicated that school inspection plays a potential role towards improving teaching and learning. Teachers perceived the advice and feedback given through inspection reports and recommendations useful for making improvements in their work performance. However, the study found that inspections reports and recommendations were not acted upon by the respective authorities to bring about effective impact on teaching and learning.
It was also found that, to a greater extent school inspectors had succeeded in establishing positive relations with teachers. The majority of teachers stated that school inspectors used friendly language when discussing with them. The study further revealed that, school inspectors judged the performance of the schools based on schemes of work, lesson plans and pupils’ exercise books, whereas classroom observations were not effectively carried out. It was also found that school inspectors’ working conditions were poor. For example, they did not have a means of transport nor field allowances to facilitate their visits in schools.
From the above findings, the study recommends the government to commit its resources towards school inspectorate department for effective monitoring of the quality education provided. Classroom observations should be a central focus of the school inspectors for their impact on teaching/learning to be realised. Moreover, for improvements in teaching and learning to be achieved the director and the DEO should make use of the inspection findings and recommendations.