ZANZIBAR yesterday celebrated the 56th anniversary of 'free education' with President Ali Mohamed Shein and announced 100 scholarships to the 2020 best Form Six students.
“Last year (2019) the scholarships were 60, this year the government has increased to 100, because we were impressed with the results, therefore we decided to reward them by the increase,” Dr Shein said at the celebration climax held at the Mao-dung stadium.
Over a thousand students in Zanzibar passed the national examinations with 100 posting Division One and will benefit from the government scholarships.
President Shein told the cheering crowd that his outgoing government recorded admirable development in education including good performance in schools at all levels. “I have no doubt the pace will be maintained in the next government,” he said.
The outgoing President commended the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training staff, parents, teachers, and students for their commitment in building better education, a prerequisite to national education.
The first President of Zanzibar late Abeid Amani Karume declared 'free education policy' on September 23, 1964, shortly after revolution, with aim of having all children enrolled in schools regardless of wealth status, race or colour.
'Free education policy' has been implemented in Zanzibar, but due to economic reasons, in 1990/2000s parents were asked to contribute (pay fees) until when Dr Shein banned the fees during his regime.
Addressing a considerable crowd, which included teachers, parents, and students, Shein said that all the six phases of governments did a lot in developing education, but his 7th phase of government should be praised for attaining 100 per cent enrolment of children in primary schools as par UN declaration.
He listed other achievements as increased skilled teachers, primary and secondary schools, University Institutions, modern buildings, education infrastructure, and improved learning environment in both Unguja and Pemba.
The president also attributed the success in education to good planning, and that recently the government is solving the problem of congestions in schools and shortage of seats. “Soon the challenges will turn to issues of the past. I hope the next government will enhance the programs which include welfare of teachers,” he said.