President John Magufuli stated yesterday that primary school enrolment has gone up by 84.5 per cent after the government fulfilled its pledge of rolling out free education from primary to secondary level.
He said this while speaking at a function to hand over more than 60,000 desks to Members of Parliament (MPs), He expressed that pupil enrolment has soared from 1,282,000 in 2015 to 1,896,584 pupils in 2016. Adding that the government’s intention to offer free and quality education to all Tanzanian children, was a goal which his administration would work tirelessly to achieve.
He however noted that this increased enrolment has created a shortage of 1,400,000 desks against over one million desks that had been made to offset the shortage. The president further admitted that the education sector was facing numerous challenges, including shortage of desks, classrooms, staff houses and many more, which the government and education stakeholders are laying strategies to find lasting solutions to.
He added that 25 councils in the country had already reached target in making desks for primary schools while 46 councils have succeeded to reach target in making desks for secondary schools. Earlier, Deputy Speaker, Dr Tulia Ackson said MPs were aware of the challenges facing the education sector.
She said a criteria had been rolled out for providing desks to various constituencies in the country adding that in the first phase at least 15 regions will receive desks and the remaining regions will get their shares in the second phase. More than 60,000 desks will be distributed to at least 15 regions.
They include Dar es Salaam (5370), Coast Region (4833) and Morogoro (5907). Others include Lindi (4296), Mtwara (5370), Ruvuma (4833), Iringa (3759), Njombe (3222), Mbeya (3759) and Songwe (3222). Others in the list are Ruche (2685), Katavi (2685), Unguja (3200) Pemba (1800) and Tanga (6444).
The opposition leaders, including MPs, commended the government’s move to cut down the shortage of desks in various schools, saying it will enable children to acquire knowledge in conducive environments.
Dar es Salaam City Mayor Issaya Charles said, “I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate the head of state for his efforts to improve education sector in the country. I’m also asking him to continue with this spirit by building more classrooms and improve teachers’ benefits.” .
Mr Peter Msigwa (Iringa Urban-Chadema), said no single MP was against the government’s move to end shortage of desks in various schools in the country.“We’re all supporting this move because it is all about development, this is a good thing,” he stressed.
“We are very happy to see opposition leaders here today, this must be the spirit, we must work together to bring positive changes in this country,” he added.
“We must work together to bring about development for all Tanzanians, these school children who sit down or study under trees know nothing about political parties, they are just Tanzanians,” he concluded. On April 11, President Magufuli received 6bn/-, which was saved after the National Assembly reduced its expenditure for four months.