Education stakeholders raised concern over falling education standards and called for government urgent attention to rescue the situation by addressing major challenges facing public schools in different parts of the country.
Stakeholders made the call before the Kilwa District Commissioner Hon Juma Kumchae who was the guest of honour during closing of Global Action Week for education(GAWE 16) event marked at National level in Kilwa District on 201th May 2016 and attended by different stakeholders under coordination of Tanzania Education Network(TEN/MET).
The theme of this year was FINANCE THE FUTURE, EDUCATION RIGHTS NOW”. The National focus was Finance Inclusive education “Education Rights now. The aim of this theme was to advocate for the government to finance more inclusive education and for proper financial resource utilization.
Through their joint speech read by representative from Action Aid Tanzania who was a chair organisation for GAWE 2016, stakeholders stated that provision of quality education for Tanzanian children is still facing a lot of challenges which needs a bold and urgent National strategy to rescue the situation.
They informed that, as part of advocacy activities during the week, Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) which were in Kilwa, conducted different education related activities including visiting selected public primary schools and conducting meetings with teachers, parents, students, school management committee and village for the purpose of identify challenges facing the schools and discuss how to address them.
According to them, among of major challenges identified in the schools visited was poor learning environment due to inadequate learning facilities such as classrooms and desks which led students to learn in congested rooms, sitting on the floor during sessions, unfriendly learning environment to children with disability, and inadequate latrines which expose students to diseases.
They also said that younger children are walking long distances e.g. 4-5 hours every day to and from school passing across the forest and sometimes are forced to request for lift in any motorcycle or vehicle which sometimes is endangering their life.
They added that lack of lunch in schools is also affecting concentration of pupils due to the fact children who are staying very far from schools have to start their journey very early in the morning without taking anything from home and have to stay in school empty stomach for ten hours which makes some of them even to faint.
Furthermore “parents have very little awareness on importance of education hence making them not fully responsible in making a follow up for their children studies”. Said Ms.Jovina Nawenzake ,AATZ LRP Manager
To address the challenges, stakeholders insisted on the need for joint efforts from the lower level to upper level especially capacity building for ward education coordinators to help them improve their performance and be able to work with ward and village authorities to sensitize communities on importance of education and their responsibilities.
At the National level they urged government to increase budget for education to be able to address the currents setbacks and provide quality education and also to clear current confusion on government free education directive which created different understandings and interpretation at the grassroot level.
Global Action Week every year is being organised by TENMET in collaboration with its members. CSOs participated this year included, AATZ, Camfed, Pestalozi Children Foundation, Uwezo/Twaweza, Agakhan foundation, Feed the Children, CCBRT,KINGONET,ADD,COSUPED.
Global Week of Action is an annual global event, coordinated by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) (with members coming from almost 100 countries, including international and regional bodies as well as national coalitions and ActionAid is the member) whose headquarters are in South Africa. It started after the 2nd World conference on Education that took place in Dakar in year 2000. It is a campaign on Education for all. It is one of the major focal points for education movement. It provides every national and regional education campaign with an opportunity to highlight one area of the education for all agenda and make targeted effort to achieve change on the ground with added support of education campaigners and millions of members of the public worldwide joining together for the same cause