By Arusha Times Correspondent
Huge turn-out of pupils overwhelms Arusha schools
A huge number of pupils enrolled for Standard One this year is overwhelming primary schools in Arusha.
A recent survey indicated that there were many pupils who had been enrolled than the available facilities can accommodate.
These include classrooms, desks, toilets, the number of teachers, books, stationery and others.
One of those affected is Ngarenaro Primary School which has registered over 280 Standard One pupils until last week.
The head teacher Samwel Lyakurwa said registration of new students would continue until March this year and that he believes by the end of the exercise there would be more than 300 pupils enrolled for Class One alone.
He said during the same period last year some 250 pupils were registered to start primary school education.
The school located in the high density Ngarenaro ward along Dodoma road has over 2,000 pupils from Standard One to Seven.
It is one of the five primary schools in the city which have the largest number of pupils since it is located in the high density suburb.
The school had a kindergarten within its campus where 115 kids had been enrolled this year compared with 84 last year.
At the adjacent Mwangaza Primary School, the number of students enrolled this year is higher by far compared to last year.
However,the head teacher Simon Siara said he was not authorized to speak to the media on the school affairs and referred this reporter to the city education officer.
Reports had it that some schools in Arusha had over 3,000 pupils. The free education drive announced by the government recently means the number has gone up by far.
A random survey indicated registration of the pupils was going on in most of the schools for the last three days with long queues forming outside the offices of the headmasters.
Arusha city has a total of 48 primary schools owned by the government and 78 private primary schools.
In the adjacent Simanjiro district, Manyara region all students selected to join Form One in public schools have been ordered to report to their respective education institutions immediately.
The district commissioner Mahmoud Kambona said he would have no mercy with parents or students who failed to beat the deadline, adding that severe punishment await those who would defy the order.
He said during an inspection visit to Msitu wa Tembo secondary school where he addressed the village and executive officers as well as the councillors and other local administrators.
He directed that students selected to join Form One have no option but to report to the school to study without any excuse.
“Local leaders who would slacken on this would face the music”, he warned and called on the headmasters to ensure they played their role effectively to ensure the students were there.
The DC said since the government has announced free education for all, there was no excuse why students should fail to utilize the free facilities at the public schools.
However, some parents who spoke to this newspapers said although the school fees has been scrapped, they will continue to contribute money for food and other necessities for their kids while in schools.
Joseph Odoyo and Mustafa Seif said they have not been informed by the relevant authorities who will be footing the food bills at the schools although they appreciated the fifth phase government commitment to free education for all.
Simanjiro, as well as other districts in the vast Manyara region, is inhabited mainly by the nomadic pastoralists who have spurned education for many years despite numerous attempts to convince parents to enroll all their children in schools.
Local politicians, however, said the attitude of the livestock herders to education has radically changed in recent years and that many parents have embraced education unlike in the past.