ZANZIBAR's learning infrastructures are set for major improvements to boost the quality of education to the islanders, the House of Representatives heard on Thursday.
Moving her portfolio's 2020/2021 budget estimates in the house, Education and Vocational Training Minister Riziki Pembe Juma enumerated the ministry's 16 priorities, with improvement of the teaching and learning environment being on the top.
She assured that all public secondary schools will, under the fee-free education programme, continue receiving grants to compensate for parents' contribution in purchase of exercise books and other learning materials, including chalks, text and reference books as well as laboratory kits.
The minister said the government, through the ministry, will complete 50 classrooms whose construction was initiated by wananchi and embark on construction of three new schools at Mfenesini and Gamba in Unguja and Kifundi in Pemba.
Construction of science laboratories in 11 Secondary Schools and completion of Kibuteni secondary construction are among the ministry's priorities in the coming fiscal year.
The minister further assured provision of loans to more students in higher learning institutions, saying the target is to give loans to 45 per cent of applicants in the 2020/2021 financial year from 36 per cent in 2018/19 fiscal year.
She said enforcement of the loan repayments by graduates will be high on the agenda, the aim being to boost loan recovery from 1.97bn/- in 2019/2020 to 3bn/- in the 2020/2021 fiscal year.
Capacity building for Science, Mathematics and English teachers is also the government priority, according to the minister.
The ministry envisages increasing enrolment at ordinary secondary education from 79.5 per cent in 2020 to 83 per cent by 2021, with increased 78.8 per cent pass rate in form two national examinations in 2020 from 76.8 per cent last year.
The minister, in her 294-page budget speech, asked the house to approve 138bn/- to finance the country's education sector.
Out of the requested amount, 118.7bn/- and 19.5bn/- are for recurrent and development expenditures, respectively.