PRIMARY EDUCATION -GREAT PROGRESS

The Sunday New (12th October) featured the considerable progress being made on the implementation of the re-introduced Universal Primary Education (UPE) Programme. Extracts: ‘Tanzania has been pumping money into education for the past three years in accordance with its Poverty Reduction Strategy paper. Recurrent education spending has risen from a $159 million in 1999/2000 to $693 million in 2003/2004. These funds have enabled the Government to build 20,000 classrooms and employ 10,000 teachers during the last two years. Pupils also have more desks and textbooks in their classrooms than ever before…. When school fees were abolished two years ago enrolment figures quickly doubled. Gross enrolment has increased to 100 per cent from 70 per cent in 2000…….. But some experts are questioning this success story saying that little progress has been made in the Standards Seven exam pass rate and hence the numbers moving from primary to secondary education. Even though education spending as a percentage of GDP had risen from 3.1 per cent in 1999 to 5.1 per cent in 2003 it was still well low compared to countries such as Kenya (6.5 per cent), South Africa (8 per cent) and Botswana (10 per cent).

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