The government deserves praise for funding and promoting free education in the country, which in turn has increased the number of children going to school and the number of vulnerable and disabled children.
HakiElimu Executive Director John Kalage said in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child that it was high time the government reviewed some policies that prevent girls from realizing their dream and sought to transform in-school and out-of-school education and influence policy making and effective implementation.
“A case study on Tanzania’s 1971 Marriage Act, which sets the minimum age of marriage at 15 for girls with parental consent and 18 for boys, should be repealed.
Also, if the government allows any girl who drops out of school to pursue alternative education at institutions of higher learning such as the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA), why should she not be allowed to continue attending primary and secondary school if it is her choice?
Mr. Kalage, who is also the Chairperson of the Tanzania Education Network (TENTENf/MET), noted that HakiElimu will continue to advocate for the government to develop and implement evidence-based policies that promote accessibility, equity and inclusive education in a friendly and protective environment for all children, regardless of their gender and physical disability.
The Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Joyce Ndalichako, who chaired the event, said the government will address all policies and cultures that still prevent girls from realizing their educational dreams.
“Tanzania is proud of its first female president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, who is a good role model for girls and shows them that their future is bright when they are educated and the obstacles in their way are removed,” she stressed to applause from the participants.
She thanked the British Council, Save the Children, CAMFED, Accountability in Tanzania Programme (AcT), British High Commission and British Aid for supporting the country’s education sector and organizing the event with the theme “Digital Generation, Our Generation” and said the government will do its part to ensure that all children go to school.
“With the theme of ‘Digital Generation, Our Generation’ reminding society that girls and boys have a right to digital technology, the government will not leave any group behind to be marginalized or Students with disabilities and girls because of their gender,” she added.
To help more children – especially girls and children from disadvantaged backgrounds – succeed in school, the government has also received support from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), for example, last January when it was awarded a $112 million grant.
Explaining this support, UK High Commissioner David Concar said, “This year’s theme – Digital Generation, Our Generation – reflects the increased demand for technology as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic.
“Against this backdrop, the UK has committed an additional £55 million (approximately 172.9 billion euros) to support Tanzania’s education sector, on top of the £400 already released for girls’ education this year (2021/2022), and this reinforces the UK’s ambitions to get more girls into school, improve the quality of pre-school, primary and non-formal education by strengthening teacher training and professional development, distributing more high-quality teaching and learning materials in underserved areas, and improving education planning and management.”