Education sector jerk up
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Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Professor Joyce Ndalichako

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  • Govt to construct 2,000 classrooms, renovate 17 old schools
  • Punishment awaits officials who approved erroneous textbooks

IN a bid to improve learning environment in public schools, the government will construct 2, 000 classrooms and renovate 17 old schools, while stern measures will be taken against officials who approved publishing of faulty textbooks.

Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Joyce Ndalichako told the National Assembly here, yesterday, that the government will also construct and renovate water and sanitation infrastructure, including pit latrines in 1,000 primary schools and 200 secondary schools across the country Prof Ndalichako tabled her ministry's 1.36trn/- budget estimates in Parliament, for the 2017/18 fiscal year, requested the lawmakers to approve it of which 916bn/- or 68.6 per cent is earmarked for development projects and 419bn/- or 31.4 per cent is for recurrent expenditure.

She also said that plans are afoot in the 2017/18 financial year to renovate six teachers’ colleges namely Kleruu, Mpwapwa, Dakawa, Tabora, Butimba and Marangu.

Prof Ndalichako, however, said that, although the government has distributed sufficient books, she was disappointed because they contain a number of errors. She said the government will hold accountable all officials with Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) who contributed to the publishing of erroneous textbooks.

Prof Ndalichako noted that the government has already recalled the textbooks for review so that they can continue to be used in schools. Debating the budget estimates, the lawmakers pushed the government to set a specific timeframe to allow a pregnant schoolgirl resume classes after delivery. The Parliamentary Committee on Social Services and Community Development and the Opposition Camp pointed out that the government was moving slowly in enacting a law enforcing the new developments. Presenting the Committee report on the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology budget for 2017/18 fiscal year, Mr Hussein Bashe (Nzega Urban-CCM) said the Committee is aware that the ministry was working on a new circular; to reintroduce the girls back to school but still no decision has been made. “The Committee advices that the government should make an official announcement on the commencement of the execution of the circular so as to allow them back to school. “That way, the country will achieve a great milestone in educating our girls,” said Mr Bashe, who is a Committee member. The Committee noted that, by reintroducing the girls back to education system, the country will be ending the vicious cycle of poverty of having uneducated mothers, who wouldn’t properly steer their families in terms of education as well. Shadow Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Ms Susan Lyimo said when presenting her alternative budget speech that according to a 2016 Human Rights Watch report, about 8,000 students in Tanzania are dropping studies due to pregnancy. She noted that already, some of the neighbouring countries like Kenya, Malawi and Zambia are giving the girls a second chance to education after delivery. Even in Zanzibar the re-entry system is allowed. “In February, this year, the Deputy Minister for Education, Eng Stella Manyanya, assured the Parliament that the re-entry circular would be ready by March. The Opposition Camp would like to know what happened to the circular and when will it be tabled in Parliament for the MPs to deliberate and possibly enact a legislation on it,” she said. Debating the matter, Mr Japhet Hasunga (Vwawa-CCM) asked why the government was dragging its feet on the matter. “I don’t understand why this issue takes time to be resolved. What is so hard about it? These girls deserve a second chance to education, it is their right.” Ms Margaret Sitta (Urambo-CCM) rallied her colleagues to ensure the government implements the circular. “We went to Kenya to learn about this issue. They were shocked to hear that we’re still locking out the girls. "We should bear in mind that, it is only the girls who are coming from poor background, who are suffering. The girls of the rich and even MPs will definitely go back to school no matter what.” Ms Cecilia Paresso (Special Seats-Chadema) called upon all MPs to block the budget if the government will not give a concrete commitment.

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