Dar es Salaam — A significant increase in the number of students sitting the Form 2 and 4 National Assessment (FTNA) has been recorded this year, in a development that reflects numerical success of the fifth phase government's free education policy.
The number of students sitting the Form 2 assessment test rose by 86,780 from 435,075 students registered last year to 521,855 this year, according to figures released yesterday by the National Examinations Council of Tanzania (Necta).
A similar trend reflects in the Form 4 assessment where the number of candidates rose from 1,054,191 pupils in 2016 to 1,195,970 students this year. This is a significant rise by 141,779 candidates in a year.
Necta executive secretary Charles Msonde told The Citizen in a telephone interview yesterday that the increase suggests a sharp decline in dropout rates.
"After the fifth phase government introduced free education, dropout rates in secondary and primary schools declined dramatically," he said.
Dr Msonde attributed the problem of school dropouts to social-economic factors.
"Many students and pupils were forced to quit their studies midway because their parents could not afford to pay school fees."
It's been nearly two years since the introduction of free education on November 27, 2015. The policy also prohibits schools from demanding all forms of cash contributions.
Form Twos begin their tests today until November 24, while exams for their Form 4 colleagues have been slated for November 22-23 in the Mainland.
Candidates for the Standard 4 exam are from 17,224 schools. For the Form 2 test candidates are from 4,705 schools countrywide.
Out of the 521,855 students registered for the Form 2 assessment, 251,570 are boys (48.21 per cent) and 270,285 girls (51.79 per cent).
For Standard 4s, a total of 592,005 this year are boys (49.50 per cent) and 603,965 are girls (50.50 per cent).
"The aim of the Form 2 and Standard 4 national assessment is to gauge student performance ahead of national examinations," said Dr Msonde.
He directed regional and district examination committees to ensure examination regulations are obeyed and areas surrounding schools remain quiet and peaceful to enable the students conduct their exams comfortably.
He warned that legal action, including deregistration of a particular education centre, will be taken where examination regulations are breached.