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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Tanzania: Plans Underway to Re-Admit Five Thousand School Children

Children, who have decided to return to school after a long period of absenteeism in primary schools, mainly rural coastal villages in Zanzibar, are being provided with school uniforms ready to resume classes.

But not all are smiling to go back to school life! A total of 65 children in the wards (Shehais) of Charawe (17 children), Uzini (07), Marumbi (25) and Chwaka (16), in Unguja South region were among the latest to have received uniforms, shoes, handbags for books and stationery.

According to the project coordinator, Ms Shekha Dau, 195 out of the targeted 300 children have already been given uniforms in the four Shehias. The Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) is implementing the project under the supervision of the Save-the-Children International.
Shekha said that most of the children back to school were saved from chronic absenteeism and child labour, after several months of awareness program for parents, children, teachers and members of different communities in the islands. "This has been the result of the nationwide awareness to ensure that children are not exploited for hard labour and also they are back in class for their future," said Shekha after handing over the uniforms to the groups of children in the schools in the mentioned areas.

She asked the children to remain in school until they finish the compulsory education and aim higher education if they want better life in future. She also asked parents to work hard in persuading children to be in school. Most of the children are of age between 12 and 15 years. Unfortunately, three out of the children who received uniforms to go back to school, decided to abscond due to undisclosed reasons.

The three young children have handed back the uniforms and other equipment, saying they are no longer interested in school! "This is a disappointment that some children are not smiling to go back to school. I think some parents just do not care, but it is important for parents, teachers and members of the community particularly the elderly to join forces to make sure that all children remain in school," Shekha emphasises.

Shekha is joined by several children rights groups that each parent of a child, who is of compulsory school age must ensure that their child is enrolled and attends school on every school day, unless the parent has a reasonable excuse. Parents are ultimately responsible for ensuring their children attend school and work in partnership with teachers to maximise student attendance. All schools should: identify absences quickly; follow-up promptly and send clear messages to students and parents that attendance is vital.

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