Saturday, September 14, 2013

Students' enrolment rate in Tanzania schools is high, says UN recent report

Amarakoon Bandara
A recent report on the New Global Partnership by the United Nations affirms that Tanzania has succeeded in students’ enrolment rate for both primary and secondary schools by 90 percent.

Summarizing the report in Dar es Salaam, last week an economic advisor with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Amarakoon Bandara said that Tanzania has succeeded in students’ enrolment despite that the quality of education in the country is extremely poor.

The observation was made at a regular end of Thursday week of every month by the UNDP office in collaboration with the UN Information centre (UNIC) to articulate recommendations of post-2015 development agenda.

The function was attended by students of Saint Joseph Cathedral and Saint Anthony within the perimeter of the city centre and close to UN offices, along with officials of several non-governmental organisations.

‘Fun Thursday’ is a monthly occasion organized with a view to inform youths of various developments geared by the United Nations under the theme ‘Bringing young people closer to the United Nations.’

The report that sets out what has been achieved so far by the international community from various areas indicates how each country signing for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) issued in 2000 had performed up to May this year.

Among the seven areas of the MDGs that Tanzania signed, it has done well in universal primary education whereby enrolment rate is much higher. However, poverty is still a big issue in the country which continues to haunt people especially rural dwellers, not changing since the database of 2001 was laid.

Illustrative statistics by the Ministry of Education show that as from 1961 to 2001 the number of primary school pupils increased nearly tenfold from 486,470 to 4,875,764 but for the period between 2001 and 2012 primary school pupils nearly doubled, rising by 97 percent from 4,875,764 to 8,247,472.

Secondary school students’ enrolment also increased from 11,832 during independence time (1961) to 289,699 in 2001 but the country experienced a sharp increase from 289,699 students in 2001 to 1,884,270 in 2012, with Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP) and the Secondary Education Development Programme (SEDP).

The two programmes saw the massive construction of ward secondary schools,, meant to provide a semblance of education permitting a more self-reliant youthful population, who are rudderless if they are just left aside after finishing primary school.

The new global partnership is a report compiled by the UN Secretary General’s high level panel of eminent persons on the Post-2015 Development agenda that charts out ways on how to eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development.

The group members consisting of 27 persons across the globe were commissioned in July last year and started working on the development agenda beyond 2015 through thematic consultations organized by the UN system and member states in every region.

In Tanzania the exercise was conducted by UNDP in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) in both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar, focusing on the energy sector.

The two organizations handled the consultations with the help of civil society organizations (CSO) and contacted people to collect views which were carried forward as major agendas after expiry of MDGs set targets in 2015.

The ESRF found out that Tanzania needs abundant energy supply in order to propel national economic activities.

The outcome of the consultation indicated that the poverty stricken situation in the country was a mark of government failure to resolve the situation.

However, Bandara noted also that despite abundant supply of the natural resources in the country, Tanzania faces problems emanating largely from poor management systems.
He said that if the resources were well utilized, the level of poverty in the country would have been reduced to a certain extent and bring down the percentage than is the situation at present.

Deliberations of the panel raise a sense of optimism that 13 years since the start of the new millennium have seen the most rapid reduction in poverty in human history, with half a billion fewer people living below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day.

Children’s death rates have fallen by more than 30 percent with about three million children’s lives saved each year compared to year 2000. Deaths from malaria have fallen by one quarter globally.

This unprecedented progress has been driven by a combination of economic growth, better policies and the global commitment to the MDGs which set out an inspirational rallying cry for the whole world.

The post 2015 agenda of the MDGs is a universal agenda with a practical focus on things like poverty, hunger, water, sanitation, education and healthcare, driven by five big transformative shifts.

The latter were defined as leave no one behind, put sustainable development at the core and transform the economies for jobs and inclusive growth. Others are build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all and the last involves forging a new global partnership.

Summarizing the various agenda, Bandara noted that transformation aims at ending extreme poverty in all its forms in human history and ensure that every person achieves a basic standard of well being.

Developed countries have a special role to play, fostering new technologies and making rapid progress in reducing unsustainable consumption by mobilizing social, economic and environmental action together. These could eradicate poverty irreversibly and meet the aspirations of eight billion people in 2030, the UN official added.

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