Isles schools face ‘crushing’ class populations of up to 100

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INCREASED enrollment is overwhelming schools across Zanzibar, the government has acknowledged, and for which it is now implementing various measures to address the problem.

The Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Mr Mmanga Mjawiri conceded in the House of Representatives that there was a dire need of more classes to correspond with a big number of pupils currently enrolled in schools.

He was responding to a question from Paje legislator Jaku Ayoub, who sought to know what measures the government was taking to improve school infrastructure in the wake of increased enrolment.

The Deputy Minister, Mr Mjawiri admitted there was a problem of overcrowded classrooms in some schools, where the number of students exceeded 100 per class instead of the required standard of 45 pupils per class.

"Due to the shortage of classes then number of students in some of the schools have exceeded 100 which impedes efforts toward the provision of better education," the Deputy Minister said.

He said among the measures is the allocation of 4bn/ for the construction of new classes in the 2017/18 financial year, of which 2bn/- comes from government coffer while 2bn are from donors.

Mobilizing public participation in the construction of school infrastructures is another initiative designated to address shortage of classrooms, the Deputy Minister noted.

And the move has paid some dividends with 285 classrooms built by citizens and handled to the government for the final phase of construction, which includes roofing and finishing touches.

Mr Mjawiri said the government will use the allocated budget to complete the remaining construction work of 200 classrooms whose initial construction works has been performed courtesy of efforts by the citizens.

He informed the House that during the 2016/17 fiscal year, the Ministry completed the construction of 32 classrooms initiated by the citizens in nine schools in Pemba and Unguja.

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