11 November 2012

Tanzania: Pupils' Truancy Worries Kagera Parents

PARENTS and guardians in Kagera region, have been urged to ensure that they take their children to school and that those selected for secondary school complete their studies.

Mabale Primary School head teacher in Kilimilile Ward, Misenyi district, Wilson Raphael gave the advice during a party organized to bid farewell to pupils who completed Standard Seven, and a teacher, Christian Leonard, who has retired after attaining retirement age.

Mr Raphael noted that the rate of truancy among pupils was on the increase, adding that some of the students who were selected to join secondary schools dropped out due to unknown reasons.

Citing data, he said out of 26 students who were selected to join Form One, last year, only 12 students were attending classes while 14 others, implying 60 per cent, had dropped out. "This problem should be collectively addressed. If no action is taken now, Kilimilile Ward may have disastrous results in future years, "he warned.

Meanwhile, 12 students out of 92 who were sitting the ongoing National Form Two Examinations in Bukoba Municipality absconded due to unknown reasons. Bukoba Municipal Education Inspector Medard Bishangazi said over the weekend that a total of 92 students were registered to sit the same exams, but until Saturday last week, 12 students had absconded.

Mr Bishangazi urged parents to take a holistic approach and to ensure that they give equal education to their children. Education is a basic right for every child. Parents must ensure that every child goes to school. They should also make follow-up development of the child while at school and should not leave the burden to teachers, he said.

In another development, a total of 84 students who sat for their National Form Four Examinations (CSEE) in October 2011 at St Bernard Secondary School in Karagwe District, Kagera Region have been disqualified.

The Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Examinations Council (NACTE), Dr Charles Msonde, clarified in his letter Ref.MTS.2/58/Vol.XV1/110 dated February 9, this year that it had been proven that the 84 students had cheated in Biology 1, Geography and Civics subjects.

He said NACTE, during its meeting held on February 2, this year unanimously decided to nullify the results after being satisfied with evidence that the 84 students at Centre No S 1871 had cheated. "According to Section 6 (2)(b) of the Examinations rules, the 84 students had their CSEE results nullified.

The students have also been banned to sit for NACTE examinations for three years," he emphasized. The Kagera Regional Education Officer (REO), Mr Florian Kimolo, confirmed that the punished students were registered at Centre S 1871 with serial numbers S1871/0001 - S1871 0059.

He appealed to parents and guardians to report such malpractices when they occur and should not keep quiet to enable relevant authorities to take immediate action. This follows an outcry from several parents who had students registered for the examinations at St Bernard Secondary School.

One of the parents, Mr Simon Magezi (56), said his daughter, identified as Beatrice Magezi (18) was registered with serial number S 1871-0014. Sources said several students were transferred from Peace Secondary School in Bukoba Municipality and were registered at the last minute to sit for the exams at St Bernard Secondary School, in Karagwe district. According to Mr Kimolo, such a transfer was illegal, and he advised the parents to appeal against such a shift.

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