TANZANIA has received a substantial financial support of US dollars 90 million (about 240.95bn/-) from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) for the improvement of education sector.
The money will finance, among others, the construction of classrooms and other supporting infrastructure to accommodate the increasing number of enrolled children fuelled by the new free education policy.
Statistics from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology indicates that pupil's enrolment has increased from 1.1 million to 1.9 million since the government started to implement the free basic education policy in 2016.
Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Mr Doto James (pictured), said the grant will be used to bankroll Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP) 2016/2017- 2021/22 and Education Programme for Results (EPforR).
The signing of the two grant agreements was held in Dar es Salaam yesterday between the Swedish Ambassador in Tanzania, Mr Anders Sjöberg in Sweden's capacity as Grant Agent for GPE in Tanzania and PS James, representing the government.
The PS explained that US dollars 38.89 million (about 88.55bn/-) will be used to finance ESDP with specific focus on three sub-sector programmes namely primary education, inclusive education and adult and non- formal education.
"This will ultimately enhance the universal access and participation in quality pre- primary education , primary and non- formal education with particular attention to learners from vulnerable groups who need access for primary education," he said.
He further detailed that US dollars 51.11 million (about 116.40bn/-) will be added to Sweden's contribution to the EPforR.
In July 2015, the two governments signed the specific grant agreement amounting to SEK 885 million equivalent to 212.76bn/-.
"EPforR objective is to support the ESDP, specifically to ensure improved and equitable learning outcomes for all in basic education and upper secondary education," the PS said.
For his part, Ambassador Sjöberg commended Tanzania for many achievements under the first phase of the Literacy and Numeracy Education Support Programme (LANES).
"Considering the huge improvement in enrollment , due to the introduction of fee- free education in 2016 and the associated pressures that this change has placed on teaching resources the programme had vital contribution on the 3Rs - Reading, Writing and Arithmetics," he said.
He said fee- free education has increased the number of enrolled children by 32 per cent thus making apparent need to increase the number of teachers, classrooms and schools, which causes a great challenge to the education sector.
He said that GPE - LANES II will help to address challenges associated with the large number of additional students - as a result of fee- free education policy and will improve the quality of pre- primary , primary and non- formal education .
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Dr Leonard Akwilapo expressed gratitude to GPE for its great support to the country's education sector.
He said the assistance will help to improve learning and teaching in various schools in the country especially in early education.