Self reliance sure alternative to ward schools’ woes

Self reliance sure alternative to ward schools’ woes

A survey carried out in Muheza District, early this month, established that ward schools could improve their performances if they get  enough  teachers, especially for Science subjects, text books and a good learning environment which generally includes electricity, water supply,  decent dormitories, recreation facilities and meals.

In the cost-sharing arrangement, which was the baseline for establishing ward schools, the government is required to provide   teachers and the parents have a duty to ensure that their children get meals, at least once per day for a healthy mind and body. Unfortunately, parents have not showed willingness as partners in the development of the schools, much less, in contributing for their children’s lunch.  

Reacting to the survey’s report, the Acting District Education Officer Ms Werasaa Alendwa was optimistic, admitting however, that there are serious problems but which are within the powers of each stakeholder to solve. The government, on its part, had just engaged 100 teachers for the whole district and some text books awaiting distribution to respective schools. 

And what are the managements of the schools doing, now that parents are reluctant to pay for their children’s meals or other contributions for the wellbeing of the schools? A simple but viable proposal is to start self reliance projects.  In the past, schools had vegetable gardens in which students practiced horticulture.

Such schools were never starved as they could sell their produce as well as use it for their own consumption.  A country blessed with plenty of arable land and whose economic mainstay depends on agriculture like ours starting it with students is setting a precedent. Other schools not having reliable water sources in their vicinity can plant maize, beans or millet.

Others can opt for poultry or animal husbandry as long as these are small projects. With proper supervision, they should be able to reap from what they have sowed.   Students go to school to study subjects like Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and History among many others.

However, that is not to say their survival depends on what is taught in class only. Extracurricular activities, such as school gardens, are fruitful to schools because they help shape the future of the children. Students developing interests in small scale gardening, for example, have a chance to carry on even after their graduation.

Depending on the school authorities’ opinion on such a proposal, they may choose to adopt it or reject it. However, experience shows that self reliance initiatives, especially in agriculture, are always rewarding.

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Author: EDITOR

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