The President of Tanzania John Magufuli says his administration has allocated U.S. $69 million to provide free education between January 2016 to June 2017, according to reports.

Magufuli who has previously made promises to overhaul the education sector says the government will double the allocation saying, “We allocated Sh137 billion [ U.S. $ 62 million] for the provision of free education, but with these challenges, we are looking forward to doubling the amount,” the Citizen reported.

In a bid to make education accessible, the country’s education ministry last year said it had banned state schools from charging extra contributions of about $100 per year as some families struggled to meet these extra costs.

Tanzania introduced free primary education in 2002, and recently announced that annual fees at secondary schools will be abolished this year.

The education ministry recently banned state schools from charging extra contributions Photo: Global Giving

The education ministry recently banned state schools from charging extra contributions Photo: Global Giving

Although the country has in the past failed to meet UNESCO’s Dakar commitment to allocate 20 percent of the national budget into education, President Magufuli has indicated that his government is prioritising the introduction of free education.

A total of 1.3 million pupils have been enrolled for primary school education throughout the country owing to the introduction of the free education policy, the Citizen reported.

The allocation indicates that offering free education is indeed among Tanzania’s top priorities in terms of the government’s financial allocations.

Expensive school fees continue to be a stumbling block preventing students in many African countries from accessing education, and the development will undoubtedly encourage enrolment levels.

Countries such as the Gambia have also abolished school fees to help increase access to education. Recently, Kaduna State in Nigeria announced it was abolishing primary school fees.

Source: the Citizen