MANY hands make light work’ is an old proverb that rings true to a majority of successful people with records of achievements ...but to parents, educators and organisers of the entire community in Michiga B Primary School in Nanyumbu District, Mtwara Region the aphorism’s ring-tone seems unwelcome.
Accuses have remained the only tool of work among teachers, parents and the community organizers who blame each other for lack of good cooperation...a move that definitely could have led to over 700 pupils huddled in only two classrooms to acquire education for their future. Established in 2005, Michiga Primary B School has never had more classrooms and other necessary school facilities...except the only two classes with one used as teachers’ office and the other called a hatching cabin for students whenever necessary.
The school has only six toilets holes. “The two classes and the toilets with six vents though not in good conditions are the only infrastructures we have in our school...they are meant to cater for a total of 734 pupils,” says the head teacher of the school Mr Mtoo Ibadi.
Bit of the mess over the school’s development were brought up during the Commemoration of international Global Action Week on Education (GAWE) campaign conducted annually to raise awareness of the importance of education for achieving sustainability and commitments made by all to reach the education goal.
Thanks to Tanzanian’s members of GAWE led by Tanzania Education Network (Ten/Met) for choosing Nanyumbu District to commemorate the GAWE national campaign where Michiga B Primary School is attached.
GAWE campaign activities that included among others, school visits and community dialogues on factors influencing accountability of services providers and parents’ participation in learning of children, parents, educators and the local leaders in Michiga B had to throw up their long-hold pans as they hold each other responsible over the unwelcome scene of Michiga B.
In a half-day community dialogue conducted by GAWE members who included Ten/Met and HakiElimu, Uwezo-TWAWEZA at Michiga B Primary School, parents accused the local government at the area for being ignorant, uncaring once it comes to community development schools activities.
“Whenever we (parents) are called by the school committee and we assemble for a community school development activities our leaders (village executive officers) do not show up in the very important activities...the next thing that always remained our option is to postponed the activities or the meetings to allow the leaders join us next time if they wish to do so,” says Mr Jaffar Kuliwa a parent at Michiga B School.
“It reached a time where we decided as parents to play our part...donating bricks and other light materials in order to build classes but we could not make it as we needed resources and support from the local government who are the community’s main champions in development,” he says.
Due to the leaders ignorance, the parents in Michiga B have now opted for other activities, terming the critical situation in the school as normal and abandoning the education despite it being the only tool that breaks down socioeconomic barriers, creating opportunities for children and the society at large.
“Local leaders’ ignorance that led the parents not to care about it gave the teachers in school an advantage of not being proactive and thus opting for other businesses as they cannot offer learning process to kids in a hostile environment,” he says.
The parents say that the educators in school have also turned into hiring the children for businesses in order to acquire the living. “The community’s ignorance has now become an advantage to teachers who hire our kids to people or companies in the area to work for them for the teachers to acquire a living,” says a woman, who prefers anonymity.
Presenting the school report before the GAWE members, the school’s head teacher Mr Itoo Ibadi says poor condition in school is the biggest drawback, surpassing low motivation and commitment to teachers.
“It is a bit difficult and depressing for teachers to plan their lessons and teach their pupils in such poor conditions of limited infrastructures and resources,” laments Mr Ibadi who adds, “The situation is very embarrassing as no one cares about it, parents, the government and even other stakeholders familiar with it...no one bothers,” he says and questions the way to acquire quality teaching in the school.
The school, according to Mr Ibadi has 13 teachers also in need of 12 residential houses. The Boss of the school laments on poor cooperation between parents and the residents of the Michiga B together with the leaders of the area for not be being accountable, calling for the government’s intervention to help restore collective accountability in the area.
Nanyumbu District Primary Education Officer Mr Hamisi Milowe also cite poor corporation as an obstacle to progress in the area, stressing that parents and the general public’s responsibility and collective accountability was the only way to solve education challenges in Michiga B School.
According to the Mr Milowe, Education performance record in the district indicates that school always ranks the last in National Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results. In 2016 National examinations, Nanyumbu District was ranked 185 out 185 schools in the entire Tanzania Mainland.
He accounts that meagre school infrastructure and poor participation of parents to support learning of children are among the reasons for poor performance of pupils in the class.
GAWE members believe that, if parents were to participate fully in implementation of various plans and programs for the education of their children, most of current challenges could have been solved.
Speaking during the commemoration of GAWE week, Ten/Met’s National Coordinator Ms Cathleen Sekwao says quality education will only be achieved by community, educators and other stakeholders practicing collective accountability towards dealing with educational challenges.
With the theme, Accountability for Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) 4 and citizen participation, Ms Sekwao says there is emphasis for importance of transparency, accountability and participatory governance for delivering on the full SDG full.
“Better outcomes of the free education will only be achieved if we practice collective accountability... the community, educators, government and other stakeholders,” she notes and adds that the government alone cannot deliver all that.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Dr Leonard Akwilapo says parents and the community in general has the responsibility to ensure children acquire quality education.
Closing the GAWE week Campaign, the PS points out that its parents and community should work to ensure children acquire school infrastructures including classrooms, toilets and other needful materials.
Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) is an international annual campaign led by the Global Campaign for Education with support from UNESCO to raise awareness of the importance of education for achieving sustainability and the commitments made by all to reach the global education goal by 2030.