PUPILS at Dar es Salaam's Buguruni Primary School that caters for the deaf have reason to smile following a donation of information technology equipment worth 16m/- by Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF).
The school is among 10 schools earmarked for the project that envisages assisting disabled pupils in the country with ICT equipment, including 10 computers and other related accessories according to their different requirements.
UCSAF Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Peter Ulanga noted that the Fund also focused on connecting other 25 primary schools with internet services, a project to be facilitated in collaboration with Avanti Communications company.
"We believe that the supplied ICT equipment together with internet connectivity will widen the pupils' ability to catch up with their studies for the nation to register professionals for social and economic development," Ulanga explained.
He said the government has through the fund begun its efforts to identify special needs primary schools nationwide in order to involve stakeholders and integrate them with Internet services.
Speaking at the ceremony to launch a satellite dish when UCSAF at the school, the guest of honour, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology, Professor Patrick Makungu, who was represented by his deputy, Dr John Mngodo said it was for the interest of the government that the schools enrol students from different parts of Tanzania.
"The aim is to offer the opportunity to a larger part of the community as the government wishes that ICT equipment provided to targeted groups is used for intended purposes," said Makungu in a speech.
He said the government through the Fund will bear the costs by paying for the internet services for one year adding that it is government's desire that the targeted schools would collaborate with district councils and municipalities to prove their commitment to stand on their own in terms of running costs.
Schools to benefit from the project include Buguruni, Uhuru Mchanganyiko, Mbuyuni, Kisiwandui, Mpilipili Maalum, Manyoni, Patandi Practical School, Dumila and Mtanga Maalum.
The head teacher at Buguruni school, Ms Winfrida Jeremiah, thanked UCSAF for the support, but decried frequent power interruptions, shortage of computer teachers and unsuitable computer rooms as some of the challenges facing the school.
She requested the government to assist in supplying solar panels for reliable power to solve the problem, rehabilitation of computer room and the need to train teachers for effective use of information networks.
Buguruni school has 271 pupils of whom 135 are boys and 136 girls. The day and boarding school was founded in 1974 with the aim of providing education to children with special needs.
The school is owned by the government in collaboration with the Ilala Municipality and the Tanzania Society for the Deaf.