NKASI District has set an astonishing example by building 600 primary and secondary school classrooms in a single year. District authorities say they enlisted the help of residents and political party functionaries from both sides of the political divide.
Indeed, this is astounding. The government, through the Regional Administration and Local Government (Tamisemi) has congratulated Nkasi for a job well done. It is rather incredible that the job was accomplished in a single year.
And getting politicians from the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and those from the Opposition to work together for a common goal amounts to a political shocker. Other districts nationwide should borrow a leaf from Nkasi district.
It is imperative, however, to mention here that constructing 600 classrooms in a year and equipping them with furniture (school desks, tables and chairs); and of course, other requisite material is one thing and posting teachers into the district is another.
So, this admirable collective effort should continue. The number of needy schools, especially primary and secondary schools in this country can be shocking. Some schools operate for years on end without running tap water. Others have no pit latrines.
And there are those that have heavily overcrowded classrooms. It is imperative to mention here that some schools have only two teachers where 20 are needed. School teachers are still too few to go round.
This may sound incredible, but it is even more astounding to find schools whose pupils take their lessons under the canopy of a mango tree. The bad omens here include lack of school feeding. Some schools of thought believe that hunger often affects the concentration of children in the classroom. Hungry children often doze off or simply get disillusioned.
The Magufuli administration is aware of this anomaly and is already working on it. The common suggestion, however, among stakeholders in education is that parents should give their young school goers small amounts of money for buying food or sweets.
When hunger strikes in any communal setting, it is often the children who suffer most. It is imperative to mention here that school feeding should be restored especially in rural primary and secondary schools. In some districts parents treat education as a triviality.
So, some girls are pulled out of schools so they help out in household chores or get married, for a dowry. In the process some brilliant academic brains are lost–in most cases, forever. The government must sit up and take notice.