Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

9 January 2013

Tanzania: School Dropouts in Sumbawanga Shock Minister

Sumbawanga — ALL children who have dropped from schools in Sumbawanga district, Rukwa region should immediately go back to classes.

Speaking here, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) Mr Aggrey Mwanri said the pupils should return first to classrooms before other disciplinary measures follow.

He ordered the Acting Sumbawanga District Commissioner, Mr Moshi Chang'a, to make sure the order is implemented accordingly.

Mr Mwanri was speaking at Tunko village in Sumbawanga District, shortly after the acting Sumbawanga DC briefed him that about 5,543 students have terminated their studies due to various reasons, including truancy and pregnancy.

According to Mr Chang'a who also doubles as the DC for the newly established Kalambo District, a total of 3,111 students come from Sumbawanga District, while 2,432 are from the newly established Kalambo District.

The Deputy Minister was further briefed that in 2011 about 632 pupils terminated their studies in Primary Schools in Sumbawanga District due to truancy, death , illness and pregnancy as well as lack of essential school items.

"Recent reports show that 500 pupils have terminated their studies due to truancy which contributes 85 per cent, while pregnancy and death contribute 15 per cent", added Mr Chang'a. Mr Mwanri directed the DC to start house to house investigation to ensure that all students are brought back to schools immediately.

"It is unacceptable to continue seeing this as if there is no government. I am sure all parents, guardians and school dropouts are known within their communities. I ask Mr Chang'a to ensure that all of them whether they are pregnant or not should go back to school", he directed.

He also ordered all local functionaries in both districts to identify all children who are reported to drop their studies and drag their parents or guardians to court. Mr Chang'a briefed the Deputy Minister that the 2012 results of National Standard Seven examinations were very poor in Sumbawanga District, because only 15.4 per cent of all pupils who sat for the same exams were selected to join public secondary schools in the area.

About 9,759 pupils were registered to sit for the exams last year in Sumbawanga District, among them 9,075 wrote the exams but only 1,398, equivalent to 15.4 per cent, passed the exams.

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