Dar es Salaam. More than 900,000 pupils who passed the 2021 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) will for the first time join Form One within the first selection window, thanks to funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that have facilitated construction of over 10,000 classrooms across the country.
For five consecutive years there have been challenges in selecting a pile of primary school leavers who sought slots in public secondary schools due to shortage of classrooms vis-à-vis demand for accommodation.
This challenge has been keeping the government on its toes as education stakeholders and parents increasingly put pressure on officials, especially those in the education sector for failure to plan ahead.
But, announcing the selection of 907,802 students to start classes on January 17, 2022, the Minister of State in the President’s Office - Regional Administration and Local Government, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, noted yesterday that the construction of classrooms was underway in all 184 councils across the country.
She said there will be no selected pupil who will sit on the floor in the constructed classrooms as the fund will also be used to support the making of 462,795 desks.
Ms Mwalimu said the government has made arrangements in advance to ensure that all selected students were enrolled in secondary education by January 2022.
“I’m pleased to announce that all 907,802 students who passed the PSLE-2021 have been selected to join our secondary schools,” she announced.
She said the students will start studies together once the new term starts following the ongoing construction of 12,000 classrooms.
The selected students are among 1,108,023 candidates who sat for the 2021 PSLE including 574,998 girls - the equivalence of 98.36 percent - and 533,025 boys (97.36 percent).
In 2020, a total of 833,672 out of 1,008,307 candidates (82.68 percent) who sat their PSLE passed, but 74,166 students (8.9 percent) - including 34,861 boys and 39,305 girls - were not allocated with schools in the first window due to persisting shortage of classrooms.
The group only started studies on February 28, 2021, over a month after their colleagues had started learning.
Also, a total of 58,699 who passed the PSLE in 2019 missed out on selection to join Form One in 2020 due to lack of classrooms, the affected amounted to 7.73 percent of all students who passed the national exams.
The main reason cited for all these situations was lack of funds to build classrooms as well as other learning amenities in schools while the free education policy kept on producing more students who needed slots in secondary schools.
This year, 2021, has been one for the goodwill of the government and the education sector as a whole.
In October, the government received $576 million from the IMF, which, while announcing how it would be expended, Finance and Planning minister Mwigulu Nchemba said education was one of the key sectors that would be targeted with the funding.
He said the funds would be used to construct 15,000 classrooms in secondary schools and 3,000 in primary schools on Mainland Tanzania.
Meanwhile, a total of 4,188 students have been selected to join public boarding schools in 2022 while 934 students (514 boys and 420 girls) selected to join high school for students with the best performance.
Ms Mwalimu said 1, 265 students (1,070 boys and 195 girls) were selected to join technical secondary schools, while 1,989 students were selected to join boarding schools.
Furthermore, 903,614 students were allocated to Ward-level secondary schools across the country.