ABOUT 10,000 more out-of school children would next month be enrolled with Complementary Basic Education of Tanzania (COBET) programme in Mara region, thanks to Mama Graca Machel for leading the initiative.
The children aged seven to 17 years have been identified under the Mara Out-Of School Children Project in four district councils namely Tarime town, Serengeti, Rorya and Musoma rural.
The Project Manager, Mr Godfrey Wawa disclosed this on Friday evening during a graduation ceremony of paraprofessional teachers who will be teaching the children after attending a one month special training provided by experienced COBET trainers led by Dr Naumi Katunzi. “We have identified over 10,000 children in four councils of Mara region and we expect them to start COBET classes early next month (May).
This is second year of phase one of the project”, Mr Wawa said during the event. Nearly 10,000 other children, he said have been attending COBET classes in five councils of Butiama, Musoma urban, Tarime rural, Bunda town and Bunda rural since last year when implementation of phase one of the project kicked off.
“The aim of phase one which would be implemented in two years is to reach 20,000 children and we are on the right track,” the project manager said. Under the project which seeks to reintegrate the children into basic education system by removing barriers that keep them out of school, Mr Wawa said learning and teaching materials are made available at the COBET centres.
The former First Lady of Mozambique and South Africa Ms Graca Machel is supporting the project through Graca Machel Trust (GMT) together with Educate a Child (EAC) from Qatar and Mara regional government. The ambitious project targets children who missed chance to start primary school or dropped out of school due to various reasons including illness. COBET or Memkwa in Kiswahili was initiated by the government of Tanzania in 1999 with the support of UNICEF.
Speaking during the occasion, the Musoma District Commissioner (DC), Dr Vincent Naano said the problem of out of school children is one of the biggest challenges facing the region.
“COBET is an important programme in our region especially for girls who are denied chance to get education,” Dr Naano who was the guest of honour at the event pointed out. On his part the Bishop of Roman Catholic Church in Musoma Diocese, Michael Msonganzila congratulated the paraprofessional teachers for attending the training which took 30 days.
“I am very happy to see that this project has started bearing fruits and I congratulate you for accepting to attend this training,” Bishop Msonganzila said. Bishop Msonganzila is the chairperson of the Mara Alliance which is a coalition of stakeholders who came together to respond to out of school problem in the region.
“I would like to thank the Mara out-of school children project team led by it’s manager and all other stakeholders,” Bishop Msonganzila said.