Zanzibar: President Celebrates 51 Years of the Revolution by Announcing Free Education
The President of Zanzibar promised, amongst other measures, to reinstate free education for primary school children, while also reducing the cost of education for elder pupils. Education was originally free following the 1964 Revolution. However, fees were introduced during the 1990s. The new policies are being introduced as part of the island’s celebration of 51 years of the Revolution.
Below is an article published by AllAfrica:
Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein on Monday, 12 January 2015, announced the revival of free education as the Isles marked 51 years of the Revolution.
"From the next financial year, which begins in July 2015, parents will no longer be obliged to contribute fees for their children in primary schools," Dr Shein said at the end of his speech to mark the occasion at the Amaan Stadium here.
He also announced that Form IV and Form VI students in the isles will not pay examinations fee.
The government will meet the scrapped fees for both primary and secondary schools. "We have decided to revive the policy started by the first Zanzibar President, the late Abeid Amani Karume, who announced free education on 23 September 1964.
Let us honour him by abolishing the fees," said Dr Shein as the audience responded with prolonged jubilation. In his speech, also broadcast live by several electronic media stations, before a huge gathering led by Union President Jakaya Kikwete, senior Union and Zanzibar leaders and members of foreign missions accredited to Tanzania, Dr Shein also re-emphasised free maternal services (including labour charge) for expecting mothers.
After the January 1964 Revolution, the late Sheikh Karume declared education, health services and water free for all. But in the late 1990s, the people started contributing for the services.
Child and maternal mortality, absenteeism and poor performance at schools were partly attributed to fee payment as some familiess were unable to pay for maternal care charges and school fees.
The celebrations provided Dr Shein with an opportunity to report on his government's achievements socially and economically.
"In 2014, inflation for goods and services has remained at a single digit - at an average of 5.6 per cent, compared to 6.1 per cent in 2010, while economic growth for 2015 is expected to go up by 7.8 per cent; from 6.4 per cent four years ago," Dr Shein reported.
He said per capita income has increased at an average of 38 per cent from 778,000/- (558 USD) in 2010 to 1.007m/- (667 USD) in 2013, commending the revenue board for widening the tax base.
Dr Shein told his audience that he was impressed with the pace of development under his leadership in all major sectors, including education, saying all children who applied to join Standard One were enrolled.
He briefed the people on the road development programme as health facilities were equipped with modern medical amenities and an increase in medical staff and specialists from 3,634 in 2010 to 4,618 last year.
President Shein also said that his government has been doing well in job creation through economic empowerment, caring for the elderly and promoting the rights of people with disabilities.
"We should celebrate the successes attributed to existing peace and stability.
We must maintain peace and stability now, during elections and beyond because it is prerequisite to our development plans," Dr Shein said as he urged Zanzibaris to spare no effort in protecting environment and fighting abuse of children and women.
Photo taken from International School in Zanzibar.