Tanzania abolishes boarding school for kids

THE Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has abolished boarding school for nursery up to Standard Four pupils, effective from March 1, this year, to give ample space for children to bond with their families and enjoy parental care.

However, a special permit will be granted by the Commissioner for Education upon receiving an application for offering the services.

The Ministry’s Commissioner for Education, Dr Lyabwene Mtahabwa issued the directives yesterday via the Education Circular No 2 of 2023 on Boarding Services for pupils from nursery and primary schools.

The statement indicated that schools caught going against the circular are subject to face legal measures or annulment of their licence.

The decision to abolish boarding services at the lower education levels comes a few months after neighbouring Kenya issued a similar ban on boarding sections for primary, and lower secondary school students up to grade nine (aged 14-15 years) slated to begin this year.

Such a move aims to implement the guideline for the establishment and registration of schools issued by the ministry in November 2020, requiring all schools offering boarding services for unpermitted classes to stop by the end of the first semester of 2023.

According to Dr Mtahabwa, the ministry has discovered that some schools have been receiving very young children from nursery level to Standard Four.

“Boarding services for young children comprising nursery to Standard Four is depriving them a chance to bond with their families and society, build values and take part in the various development activities in society,” said Dr Mtahabwa.

He said studies show the long-term effects of taking children to boarding schools at very tender age may lead them to lack affection for their parents or guardians, thereby, failing to take their places in the families and society.

Expounding further, he said children’s upbringing was to a large extent dependent on their families, particularly parents and their guardians.

The Commissioner also banned schools from introducing academic camps, in line with the Education Circular No 3 of 2007 preventing such arrangements in primary schools.

Besides, schools have been encouraged to bring on board concrete learning and teaching strategies taking into account academic calendars regularly issued by the Commissioner to boost performance.

Dr Mtahabwa established that a country’s development to a large extent was dependent on the quality of its education.

Nevertheless, the aspect of quality education differed from country to country, noting that for Tanzania it is which a graduate can critically analyse various issues for productive decision-making reflecting on morals, traditions and a country’s strong values of embracing work and development for individuals and a country.

Studies conducted by the ministry’s quality assurance officers indicate that the majority of schools have given priority to children’s performances in the final examination.

As a result, a very small section has been given to the student’s good morals and the spirit of embracing diligence while working. The situation contravenes with a famous quote which states that ‘Education is life and life involves working hard’.

The Commissioner underscored the most common strategy being undertaken by the schools to increase performance involved offering boarding services to examination classes and among others.

“The intention to increase performance in the schools has been reflected through the introduction of academic camps being carried out while school closes.

“It has been discovered that the majority of the camps have been carried out in an unfriendly environment in the aspects of morals, security and health wise for the students,” stated the Commissioner adding that the camps established do not abide by available procedures.

To ensure effective execution of the circular, the ministry will embark on regular assessment through the school’s quality assurance officers and various leaders in the education sector.

 

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