Zanzibar@60: no child will miss school

ZANZIBAR: THE Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs), Jenista Mhagama has said despite Zanzibar’s increasing population, the government is committed to ensure all school-going children do not miss the chance.

She made the assurance when officiating the laying of the foundation stone for the construction of a primary school at Mwera area, Unguja South Region, which was among activities to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution.

“Zanzibar has recorded great progress in improving education infrastructure, this means no excuse for any parent for not taking her/his child to school. Access to education has been expanding in Unguja and Pemba,” said Ms Mhagama.

In addition, she said, the 1964 Revolution is the secret behind Zanzibar’s development being enjoyed by all people without discrimination over any kind, because “Before the Revolution there was no equal opportunity in accessing social services including education.”

Minister Mhagama said, before the Revolution, Zanzibar had only one pre-school with 60 students and 62 primary schools with 24,334 students.

But, until end of last year (2023), the number of nursery schools reached 891 with 102,098 students, while schools providing primary education have increased to 649 with 380,638 students.

“She noted that before the Revolution, there were five (5) secondary schools in Zanzibar, with 1,038 students, while currently (2023) there are 318 secondary schools with 110,045 students,” Ms Mhagama said.

The have people in Zanzibar have increased over the past 10 years, which increased from 1,303,569 in 2012 census to 1,889,773 in 2022 census.

But the government has strengthened its strategies to meet the growing demand and to ensure that no Zanzibar citizen is denied the right to basic education for individual benefit, the community and the nation in general.

Ms Mhagama praised President Hussein Mwinyi for his efforts to beat the target of having classrooms to accommodate not more than 45 students, and having only one shift, according to the international standard, and also to strengthen the infrastructure, and improve science laboratories.

“These achievements in schools should be supported by parents and the community to ensure that their children enrolled in schools complete primary education and continue with secondary education, as the government has moved the service closer to the citizens,” she said.

Initially, when welcoming Ms Mhagama, Zanzibar Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Mr Ali Abdulghulam Hussein, said historically before the Revolution, most parents lacked the opportunity for their children to study because of discrimination.

He said the eighth phase government has continued to implement the free education policy, along with providing students with notebooks and other equipment, being one of the goals of the 1964 Revolution.

The Regional Commissioner (RC) for Unguja South Region, Mr Ayoub Mohammed Mahmoud, said the completion of the construction is a great opportunity for children in the areas to easily get education as it is in the residential area.

Talking about the construction of Mwera primary school construction project, the Deputy Principal Secretary Dr Mwanakhamis Adam Ameir said, the construction is being undertaken by ‘FUCHS construction Company’s under the supervision of the Zanzibar Government Building Agency (ZBA), started in May 2023 and is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2024.

The Primary School will be of a two-storey building that will have 29 classrooms, 25 toilets, four Teacher’s Offices, one Examination Hall, one Laboratory, one IT Room and one Library, and the project is at the cost 4.5bn/-.

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