IT has come to light that a group of well-wishers, who have the welfare of young women at heart, has seen the predicament that afflicts schoolgirls in Kisarawe District secondary schools.
The students, we are told, cover long distances on foot to school and back home. The well-wishers, a non-government organisation called Hope 4 Young Girls Tanzania, has been touched by the plight the schoolgirls confront.
It has donated 60 bicycles to some of the schools to help the most needy girls to reach their schools on time and return home safely. The NGO has promised to deliver more bikes in the near future.
Indeed, this is a noble, heartfelt initiative. We are also told that some of the needy girls attend school erratically. Others literally beg for lifts from motorcycle riders, some of whom harbour lewd ideas.
The result is that a significant number of schoolgirls have dropped out of school due to pregnancy. Yes, it would be remiss on our part not to thank Hope 4 Young Girls Tanzania for this noble gesture.
Village schoolgirls face more problems than what meets the eye. Too many girls either miss education completely or are forced to drop out of school by their parents or by unfriendly educational circumstances including lack of toilets or water in some schools.
In fact, the education system is full of kinks that disorient schoolgirls. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child says in Article 11 that: “special measures must be taken in respect of female, gifted and disadvantaged children to ensure equal access to education for all sections of the community.
The Charter, to which Tanzania is a signatory, insists that: Such education should also promote the child’s talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential.” It should also “prepare the child for responsible life in a free society.”
In some districts, including Kisarawe, parents treat education as a triviality. So, some girls are pulled out of schools so they help out in household chores or get married, for a dowry.
In the process some brilliant academic brains are lost – in most cases, forever. The number of needy schools, especially primary and secondary schools in this country can be shocking.
Some schools operate for years on end without running tap water. Others have no pit latrines. And there are those that have heavily overcrowded classrooms. It is also imperative to mention here that some schools have only two teachers where 20 are needed.
This may sound incredible, but it is even more astounding to find schools whose pupils take their lessons under the canopy of a mango tree. Students, especially the schoolgirls, must be accorded the best allround attention. Let the state take notice.