REGIONAL and district leaders risk their jobs by allowing public schools in their jurisdictions to continually collect money from pupils and students, against the free education policyThe government issued Circular number 5 in 2015 on the implementation of Education and Training Policy 2014, directing all public institutions to ensure that education is free to all children.
The circular among other things removed all forms of education related fees and contributions. It reads: "Provision of free education means pupils or students will not pay any fee or contributions that were paid by parents or guardians... ."
However, President John Magufuli noted with great concern that despite the ongoing execution of the policy, there are some schools that have ignored the circular and teachers still collect money as well as sending home pupils and students over failure to pay.
He said pupils and students were still forced to contribute towards food, laboratory services, desks and study tours. The president ordered stern measures against leaders and executives who have failed to check the contributions in schools within their areas.
He directed the Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training Minister, Professor Joyce Ndalichako and her counterpart in the President's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, Selemani Jafo, to ensure that the circular is utterly adhered to.
During his meeting with the two ministers at State House in Dar es Salaam, yesterday, Dr Magufuli charged that the government disburses 23.8bn/- monthly to implement free education but was shocked to learn that there were teachers who continue charging pupils and students as well as sending home those who could not afford to pay.
"I direct you (ministers) that I don't want to hear that a pupil/student is dismissed over failure to contribute. Send the same message to the regional and district commissioners, directors and all those concerned.
If I hear this continuing anywhere, I will descend on my appointees," he insisted. The president charged, "It makes no sense for the government to remove the school fees and yet teachers decide to introduce contributions that poor parents can't afford to pay for their children.
" However, Dr Magufuli said, if parents voluntarily wish to contribute they should make their contributions through the District Executive Director (DED).
Shortly after the meeting with the President, Prof Ndalichako directed all teachers and leaders of the councils to bring back to school all students and pupils who were suspended for failure to contribute.
She further ordered all contributions that were collected against the government's directive be refunded.
Mr Jafo gave until tomorrow for all regional and district commissioners to submit reports on schools that introduced contributions for further actions against teachers responsible