Improving the Quality of Basic Education Through the Use of Gender-Sensitive Student Councils: Experience of Six Selected Districts in Tanzania
This paper analyses whether the gender-sensitive and democratically elected student councils helped in strengthening school leadership and providing a platform for increased awareness and advocacy for male and female students to address their needs and rights in primary and secondary schools in Tanzania. The data was collected through qualitative methodology using in-depth interviews with purposively selected 29 school heads, 35 mentor teachers, 24 champions and 54 student leaders. Other data were obtained from focus-group discussions with 590 student leaders. The findings show that the student council plays a major role in strengthening school leadership and increasing the ability of students, particularly girls, to voice their needs and concerns. Some students’ needs and concerns were sexual harassment, the right to quality education and health services and the elimination of corporal punishment. The use of student councils helps to improve the delivery of quality education in schools.