Kikwete first African GPE board chair

DAR ES SALAAM: AS the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) eyes to hold its Board of Directors meeting early December this year in Zanzibar, it has been learnt that the former President, Dr Jakaya Kikwete is the first African Board Chair since its inception in 2002.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam recently Dr Kikwete said that he was proudly to be the first African to chair the board of directors of GPE which was established 20 years ago.

It is for the first time the board will be holding its meeting in East Africa from December 4 to 6, this year.

“This organization began 20 years ago and it never had a chair of African origin thus I am the first chair from Africa specifically Tanzania and I do not know the criteria that were critically considered for my appointment”, said Dr Kikwete.

Dr Kikwete, who is also the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Chancellor, said that the board meetings also never been held in Africa, rather were conducted in France, Germany, UK and USA.

“I requested them that we hold our meeting in Zanzibar, Tanzania and my request was accepted,“ he stated.

GPE is a shared commitment to ending the world’s learning crisis. It is the only global partnership and fund dedicated entirely to helping children in lower-income countries get quality education so they can unlock their potential and contribute to building a better world.

GPE is supporting Tanzania to improve teaching and learning, starting with getting the right number of trained teachers deployed to the needy areas.

Initially, conveying his speech at one of an event to recognize the contribution of education stakeholders in the country, Dr Kikwete said GPE has pledged 50 million US dollars to further support education in Tanzania and called upon education stakeholders to contribute for the improvement of the education sector.

He said due to good management and implementation of various education programmes in the country, Tanzania has been given another opportunity to request funds for the third phase.

Dr Kikwete said GPE had already funded Tanzania about 207.3 million US dollars equivalent to more than 518bn/- in two phases of 2014/2018 and 2019/2023 where 2,980 primary school classrooms were built with 7,673 toilets, 18 new schools, 64 teachers’ houses, 15 dormitories for children with special needs as well as construction, repair and purchase of teachers’ equipment to support teaching and learning in 252 centres.

In addition, he said the fund also enabled publication of 36,118,566 books which contributed to strengthening education in the country.

Meanwhile, UDSM Vice Chancellor, Professor William Anangisye commended Dr Kikwete’s accomplishments and said that they were not only celebrated within the UDSM community but also hailed as a source of pride for Tanzania and Africa at large.

“He is not just a UDSM Chancellor and alumnus but also an ambassador who is flying the UDSM flag outstandingly” Prof. Anangisye added.

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