Closing the marathon budget session of the legislature, Vice President Mussa Azzan, popularly known as “Zungu”, said the contributions hurt parents and questioned the government’s sincerity in abolishing school fees. at all levels.
Parents were expected to feel genuinely relieved at the implementation of the free education policy, but they are burdened with contributions to cover expenses for school supplies, food, electricity, child care and other costs, regularly forcing poor parents to beg for their children to stay in school. , he said.
District councils have the capacity to cover these expenses, but they pass the responsibility on to the parents, he said, wondering why the responsible ministry would allow them to do so.
“We have seen how Dodoma has managed to eliminate these contributions, but other regions are still giving parents a hard time by forcing them to buy working tools for teachers and specially adapted school uniforms,” he said. he told deputies.
Prices for uniforms sold in street markets vary from 5,000/- but students are advised to pay 20,000/- or more to get such uniforms at school, he said in illustration, urging the Minister of State in the Office of the President (Regional Administration and Local Governments) to work on the issue and save parents from unnecessary contributions. This habit deeply distorts the policy of free education, he insisted, while castigating the deputies who did not attend the sessions, describing their behavior as intolerable.
The policy of free education prevailing in primary and secondary schools was reinforced a fortnight ago by a budgetary measure abolishing tuition fees in high schools, in order to further facilitate access to education for those selected. for high school places.
Finance and Planning Minister Dr Mwigulu Nchemba said in his budget presentation that there were currently 90,825 students in year five and 56,880 in year six, with their total requirements set at 10.3 billion/- .
“As directed by President Samia, I recommend free tuition for fifth and sixth graders. The government plans to welcome the technical colleges into this program once the economic situation permits,” he said, noting that as of last April, a total of 244.5 billion/- had been disbursed to facilitate free education at primary and secondary levels.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan is deeply concerned about the increasing number of school dropouts due to various reasons including household income poverty, teenage pregnancies and poor educational awareness in some communities, absenteeism and low exam results, the minister added.