Msaranga Secondary School
The implementation of free education in Tanzania has seen a three-fold increase in the numbers of children attending schools in some areas compared to last year, reported The Arusha Times. Hundreds of children lined up to register as schools opened their doors in January.
In December last year the government announced their new policy that children enrolled in primary and ordinary secondary schools would receive free quality education.
The aim of the initiative is to enable children from lower income families to attend school and gain an education without putting further stress on the financial situation of their parents. The huge influx of children into the system this year suggests that previously many had been unable to attend school due to cost.
However, whilst this is a major feat for the country, it has caused some difficulties. Many schools were overwhelmed by the amount of children trying to register to attend and were even incapable of providing the required necessities. Primary schools in Arusha struggled to offer enough classrooms, books, and toilet facilities. Teacher to pupil ratio is also reported to be an issue; there are simply not enough teachers for all the students.
Unfortunately, this is a clear sign that the government was not properly prepared for the amount of students preparing to enroll this year.
Universal education is considered a basic human right by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) which has committed itself to ensuring that all children have access to free education. Tanzania’s decision to provide this is one big step in the right direction, however, like anything new, the snags in the implementation process need to be smoothed out in order to guarantee that all children receive the intended quality education that was promised.