Sunday, February 15, 2009


This paper is going to discuss about the role of knowledge in the process of eradicating poverty. Starting by the literature review part, the concept will be discussed from the historical back ground and different definition will also be discussed. The second party will discuss about the policy, which will include the policy or Empirical party through which different policies concerning primary school knowledge in Tanzania will be discussed, and lastly the recommendation and suggestion will be given and conclusion.

2.0 Theoretical Literature Review
2.1 Historical background
Few stories better illustrate the potential of knowledge for development, or the obstacles to diffusing that knowledge than that of the green revolution, the decades, long worldwide movement dedicated to the creation and dissemination of new agricultural knowledge. This quest, breading new seeds for enhanced agriculture productivity, was undertaken in the early postwar years by a vast array of agents such as non profit organization, government, multilateral institution, private firms, banks, village moneylenders, land rich farmers and handless labourers all working, deliberately or not, to improve the daily bread (or rice, or maize) of people everywhere.

The early steps in the green revolution mostly involved narrowing knowledge gaps. The first step was to narrow the gap between what scientist already knew about plants genetics and the wide spread ignorance on this score in developing countries, reflected in the unavailability there of new crop strains based on this knowledge. This gap was narrowed largely through the research and development efforts of government and non profit organizations.

After the first modern seed varieties proved successful the early 1960s, many developing countries established national agriculture research organizations as a result, the number of new varieties of rice and maize released by national research organization doubled between 1966 and 1985.

To disseminate this knowledge, developing – country government establishments established agricultural extension services. At first the main job of the extension agents was to inform farmers about the new seeds and techniques. But the best extension agents and the most effective extension services-quickly learned that listening was also important part of the job. By listening to farmers and listening from them, extension agents not only gained a better understand of the farmers, needs and concerns. They also sometimes stumbled upon seed varieties and cultivation techniques that the researchers had missed. This two way flow of information furthered the local adoption and adoption of the green technology.

2.2 Definitions
There is no single definition of knowledge on which scholars agree. It can be defined as information with guidance for action based upon insight and experience. Knowledge can also be the result of learning. It is the internalization of information, data and experience; the awareness and understanding of facts, truth or information gained in the form of experience or learning (a posteriori), or through introspection (a prior). Knowledge is an appreciation of the possession of interconnected details which, in isolation are of lesser value”

Greek philosopher looked at knowledge with different views. The Greek philosophers are in two groups. The classic philosophy and the Hellenistic philosophy. This paper will concentrate more about the classic Greek philosophical views (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle)

Socrates, an Athenian philosopher, believed that person should always try o do well. He believed that one should know “thyself”. Plato and Aristotle the two most influential philosophical dialogues usually Socrates as a participant. Though the early dialogues deal mainly with methods of acquiring knowledge, most the last ones with justice and practical ethics, his most famous works expressed a synoptic view of ethics, metaphysics, reasons, knowledge and human life. Predominant ideas include the notion that knowledge gained through the senses always remains confused and impure, and that the contemplative soul that turns away from the world can acquire “true” knowledge.

John Locke (1986) defined knowledge as the perception of the agreement or disagreement of two ideas. Locke gave the first hint of what knowledge is all about performance.

Davenport and Prusak (1998) defined knowledge as “a fluid mix framed experience contextual information, value and expert insight that provides frame work for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information.

Drucker Peter defined knowledge as information that changes sometimes or somebody either by becoming grounds for actions, or by making an individual (or an institution) capable of different or more effective action”

Knowledge is what is known. Like the related concepts truth, belief and wisdom, (en. It is also the result of learning. Knowledge is the internalization of information, data and experience ( stuhlman/definl.htm). It is also defined as the mental capacity for effective performance. Knowledge as defined here can be ascertained by paper – and – pencil testing. The pure unit of measure of knowledge is accurate answer, but in many situation we judge knowledge based on both speed and accuracy (km –

According to Oxford English Dictionary knowledge is defined variously as (i) expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education, the theoretical and understanding of a subject, (ii) what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information or (iii) awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.

Knowledge acquisitions involve complex cognitive process perception, learning, communication, association and reasoning. The term knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject with the ability to use it for a specific purpose. Knowledge can be in the form Data, information knowledge and wisdom.

Transfer and exchange of knowledge and innovation through international networking, cooperation and partnership are crucially important. This is needed to promote human and industrial capacity building particularly for developing countries.

Networking and partnership will strengthen the capacity of developing countries to promote growth and address poverty reduction. Partnership can be forged with government agencies, universities and education institutions, international organizations and are governmental organizations around the globe. The use of ICT has made it easier than ever in this international networking, cooperation and Development (Aronson et al).

2.3 Function of knowledge.
Achterberg and Vrient (2002) mentioned two functions of knowledge. First, knowledge serves as a background for the assessment of signals, which in turn allows the performance of actions. And secondly, the role of knowledge in generating appropriate action is that it serves as a background for articulating possible courses of action for judging whether the course of action will yield the intended results and for using this judgment in selecting among them, for deciding how action should be implemented and for actually implementing actions knowledge can help people reduce poverty. By getting different knowledge people will become aware of what they were supposed to do. For example getting information’s about markets of their local products.

Knowledge can be communicated through different ways: the symbolic representation imitation; narrative exchange along with a range of other methods. The acquisition of knowledge involves complex cognitive process; perception, learning, communication association and reasoning.

It is also important to manage knowledge so as to ensure the right in formation is delivered to the right person just in time, in order to take the most appropriate decision. In that sense, knowledge management is not interested in managing knowledge per se, but to relate knowledge and its usage.

It was realized that economies are built not merely through the accumulation of physical capital and human skill, but on a foundation of information, learning and adaptation. Because knowledge matters, understanding how people and societies acquire and use knowledge and why sometimes they fail to do so- is essential to improving peoples lives especially the lives of the poorest.

Knowledge is like LIGHT. Weightless and intangible, it can easily travel the world, enlightening the lives of people everywhere. Yet billions of people still live in the darkness of poverty – unnecessarily. Knowledge about how to treat such a simple ailment as diarrhea has existed for centuries – but millions of children continue to die from it because their parents do not know how to save then.

Poor countries and poor people differ from rich ones not only because they have less capital but because they have less knowledge. Knowledge is often costly to create, and that is why much of it is created in industrial countries, for example the ICT knowledge.

Knowledge also illuminates every economic transaction, revealing preference, giving clarity to exchanges and informing markets. It is lack of knowledge that causes markets to collapse, or never to come into being.

Poor countries differ from rich in having fewer institutions to certify quality, enforce standards and performance, and gather and disseminate information needed for business transactions. Often this hurts the poor.

2.4 Types of knowledge
The world’s development report mentioned two types of knowledge and two types of problems they are critical for development countries.

2.4.1 Knowledge about knowledge.
Typically, developing countries have less of this knowledge than industrial countries have less of this know-how than industrial countries, and the poor have less than the non poor. This is called unequal distributions across and within countries knowledge gaps. Examples are nutrition, birth control, software engineering and accountancy.

2.4.2 Knowledge about attributes
The second type is the knowledge about attributes such as the quality of a product, the diligence of a worker, or the credit worthiness of a firm – all crucial to effective markets.

Approaching development from a knowledge perspective – that is adopting policies to increase both type of knowledge, know how and knowledge about attributes – can improve people’s lives in myriad ways besides higher incomes. Better knowledge about nutrition can mean better health, even for those with little to spend on food. Knowledge about how to prevent the transmission of AIDS can save millions from debilitating illness and pre mature death. Public discloser of information about industrial pollution can lead to a cleaner and more healthful environment. And micro credit programs can make it possible for poor people to invest in a better future for themselves and their children. In short, knowledge gives people greater control over their destinies.

2.5 Narrowing knowledge gap.
There are three critical steps that developing countries must take to narrow the knowledge gaps.

2.5.1 Tapping and adapting
The first is Acquiring knowledge involves tapping and adapting knowledge available else where in the world – for example, through an open trading regime, foreign investment and licensing agreement as well as creating knowledge locally through research and development and building on indigenous knowledge.

2.5.2 Absorbing
The second is by absorbing knowledge which involves for – example, ensuring universal basic education, with special emphasis on extending education to girls and other traditionally disadvantaged groups; creating opportunities for life long learning; and supporting tertiary education, especially in science and engineering.

2.5.3 Communicating
Third step is communicating knowledge involves taking advantage of new information and communications technology through increased competition, private sector provision, and appropriate and ensuring that poor have access.

Just as knowledge gaps exists between developing and industrial contrails, so too are there large gaps within countries. Strategies for closing these gaps often include the same elements and applying them effectively will go a long way toward reducing inequality and eliminating poverty.

But even if knowledge gaps could be closed entire with everyone in developing countries would still be at a disadvantage in another respect; knowledge about attributes. Because knowledge about attributes is required for every transaction it must be generated on the spot and constantly refreshed. This required a variety of market and non market mechanisms to collect and disseminate information, many of which are weak or lacking in development countries.

2.5.4 Addressing Information problems.
Without knowledge about attributes, markets cannot function properly. When the government steps in and addresses the problem, for example by establishing standards and certification, the markets function better and everybody benefits (World bank report 1999)

Institution, broadly defined to include government’s private organization, laws and social norms, contribute to establishing recognized standards and enforcing contracts, thus making possible transactions that would other wise not occur. Rich countries have more – diverse and more effective institutions to address information problem than do poor countries. These institution make it possible for people to engage in economic transaction that improve their lives from buying product, finding jobs, getting education and obtaining loan. Information problems are often at the core of the difficulties that poor in developing countries encounter in their struggle to survive and to improve their lives.

This stems from the fact that developing countries have fewer institutions to ameliorate information problems and the institutions they do have are weaker than the counter part institution industrial countries. This institutional deficiencies mean that market often wither than thrive, because people lack the incentive to enter into the transactions fundamental to rapid, equitable and sustainable growth. When the institutions become weak, the poor are the one who often get hurt.

The failure arises from the difficult of verifying quality meaning knowledge about the attributes of goods or service;- the durability of a product and the productivity or a worker; and the second is the difficulty of enforcing performance and the need to find mechanisms to monitor transactions. Many transaction involve promises; a borrower promises to repay a loan, an employee to work hard. If such transactions are to occur and recur – as they must for an economy to function, these promises must be kept.

Lastly, is the difficulties on the policy support for institutional development.
Government can play an important role in developing institutions to address quality verification and enforcement problems. It can establish and enforce standards such as uniform weights and measures, disclosure rules, and credentialing systems. It can use law to facilitate credible commitments, for example by creating penalties for fraud. It can reform show and corrupt court. It can support land titling and registration programms.

The 1990 Jomtien “World Conference on Education For All’ was in identifying internationally agreed targets for the provision of education as a basic human right. Tanzania also is party to the 2000 Dakar Frame Work for action, an international reviews of education progress made since Jomtien, and has joined the many nations which have ratified the United Nations Convention on the right of the child.

3.1 Education and Training Policy.
The government desire to improve the provision and quality of education resulted in the formation of Education and Training Policy (ETP) in 1995. The ETP encompasses the entire education and training sector. Major objectives of this policy are to achieve increased enrolments, equitable access, quality and improvement, the expansion and optimum utilization of facilities and operational efficiency through the system.

3.2 Education sector development programme.
Following the ETP, a sector wide approach to education development was initiated to help achieve the governments long term human development and poverty eradication strategy, and to readdress the problem of fragmented interventions. The essence of the sector – wide approach adopted in the Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP) is collaboration by key stakeholders, using pooled human, financial and material resources for the tasks, of planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating educations. This approach establishes new relationships which promote partnership, co-operation and ownership amongst all groups of people with a vested interest in education.

The ESDP is an extensive undertaking which derives its objectives from the ETP. Those which are relevant to the primary education sub-sector include comprehensive efforts to improve the quality of the education process, increases and improvements in access and equity for all children, the decentralization of management structures, the devolution of authority to local levels and a broadening of the financial base which supports the education system.

This plan for education has drawn on the master plans for basic education and teacher education Master plans for basic education and teacher educations Master plans for secondary education and higher education are in the process of being developed.

3.3 Tanzania Development Vision 2025
The Tanzania Development vision 2025 envisage the total elimination of poverty by 2025 and thus accords high priority to the education sector which is considered pivotal in bringing about social and economic transformation. It is expressly stated in the vision 2025 document that “Education should be treated as a strategic agent for mindset transformation and creation of a well educated nation sufficiently equipped with the knowledge needed to competently and competitively solve the development challenges which face the nation. In this light, the education system should be restructured and transformed qualitatively with a focus on promoting creativity and problem solving.

3.4 Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
The poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) is a medium term strategy, set in the High Indebted Poor Countries (HIP) debt relief context and developed through broad consultation. It focuses effort on (i) reducing income poverty (ii) improving human capabilities, survival and social well being and (iii) containing extreme vulnerability among the poor.

Education enables people to use their capabilities and to increase their earning potential. It also empowers individuals to participate in the transformation of their own lives and of society at large. A lack of basic education undermines efforts to improve health and nutrition, reduce infant and child maternal mortality, and to address the causes and impact of HIV/AIDS. Considering the enormous potential of a well – educated nation in achieving economic and social well-being the attainment of universal primary education (UPE) was the priority target. The PRSP re-emphasizes that education is at the heart of development and has clearly prioritized education sector development in the effort to alleviate poverty.

3.5 The Education sector development programme.
The highest priority for primary education is to increase overall gross and net enrolment of girls and boys. This highest priority for primary education is to increase overall gross and net enrolment of girls and boys. This will be done through a combination of strategies: (a) to increase enrolment rates of all groups of children (b) to use existing teachers and classrooms more effectively; (c) to recruit new teachers and to construct new classroom; and (d) to expand complementary education programmes for out-of-school children and youth.

The second primary education policy is to revitalize and improve the quality of primary education, focusing on three main components: (a) improving teachers teaching style and methods in the classroom (b) ensuring the availability of good quality learning and teaching materials, and (c) ensuring the necessary support for maintaining educational standards. The aim is improve the overall achievement of both male and female pupils in the primary education system.

According to the Poverty and human development Report, it has been reported that there has been considerable progress in Tanzania primary education, in particular in enrolments rates, following the implementation of the primary Education Development Plan (PEDP) in 2000. This five years plan to achieve universal basic seven-year education by 2006, nine years ahead of the MDG target, government abolished school fees in primary schools. Children are entering school at an earlier age and there is an increase in the proportional to children going to school. Gross enrolment ratios went up from 78 to 106* in 2000 (* means these children included number of children outside the age range that is 7-13 years enrolled to primary school education).

There has been an increase for pupils gross and net enrolment increase from 10 to 12 percent, and from 6 to 8 from 2002 – 2004 respectively.

Many primary schools have been built under MEM program. People or communities are included in making follow up on how the funds are used.

The government should formulate a national strategy to narrow knowledge gaps which will focus on three issues; what policies enhance a country learning capacities an what policies improve the effectiveness of communications and reduce cost.

4.1 Increase peoples capabilities to absorb knowledge.
An effective strategy to narrow knowledge gap must include measure to increase people’s capacity to use knowledge. Ensuring universal access to basic education is the crucial first step, but it is not enough. Countries must also ensure that they have enough highly trained personnel, including engineers and scientist. This requires strong secondary schools and universities especially for engineers and science.

4.2 Build the capacity for people to communicate.
Ensure competition and appropriate regulation to unleash private initiative to provide communication infrastructure and services and expand the use of new technology.

Ensure that the service are extended to remote areas and the poor, by moving away from traditional cross subsidy schemes, and working instead in partnership with the private sector or end users to determine the required government support.

The government of Tanzania should put more effort to make sure that more people acquire more knowledge by providing more information to people so that become aware of what is going on.

People must change, instead of putting their efforts to weddings ceremonies, they have to invest much in education because it is the only place where people gain more knowledge. By acquiring more knowledge people will understand different information given to them, whether it is a technique to do things or it is a means to reduce disease or in any way to improve their quality of life, and thus reduce poverty. By gaining more knowledge people become producers than consumers, producers who easily be accepted in the markets and thus win the competitive advantage.


Aronson, Wilson and Akert, (social psychology, prentice Hall. USA.

. 2. Education Sector Development Programme, Primary Education Development
Plan 2002 – 2006, by Basic Education Development Committed (BEDC) July

3. http:/

4. http:/en/


6. Oyeyinka Banji Oyelaran (2006), learning to compete in Africa
Industry, Institutions and Technology in Development, ASHAGATE, England.

8. Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2000)

9. Poverty and Human Development Report (2005) Mkuki na Nyota Publishers,


11. Tanzania Development Vision 2002 Document

12. World Development Report on Knowledge for Development (1998/99)
The World Bank, USA.


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