IPP Media: Giving up on school to get married Too many girls, especially in the South of Tanzania are forced to leave school, due to pregnancy. In Tanzania, the law requires pregnant girls to leave school, although there has been much debate in Parliament about changing the law so they may return after giving birth. Of course, most times the girls are not in a position to return to school, as they have the new responsibilities of childcare to deal with. The article focuses particularly on the impact of traditional initiation rites that, it claims, lead to more girls getting married at a young age or getting pregnant. There are a few good points made in the article. First, there is definitely a correlation between teen pregnancies and local drum circles, which many teens attend at night. Second, the practice of bride prices in Tanzania does sometimes lead parents to try to marry off their daughters too early in order to receive some income. Third, there is often too much focus by parents on initiation rites. While I think it is great to keep traditions alive, parents will often spend most of their cash earnings for the year on the ceremonies surrounding initiations, while forsaking the school fees and other supplies needed for their children’s education. It is not unusual to hear of a parent who has “mortgaged” their house in order to get cash for the ngoma. Jando and Unyago rites are an important part of tribal culture, and many parts of the country have given them up completely. They should, however, be conducted in such a way that will still allow the children to get the education they deserve.
IPP Media: Abolishing Boarding Schools At Our Own Risk This articles describes the motivations for the Tanzanian governments recent shift away from boarding schools, as well as some unintended consequences that the decision could bring. I tend to agree with the author, Issa Mcholo Omari, that it will make it more difficult for the poor to get access to quality education. As Omari stated, girls will probably be especially effected by this decision as they tend to study less while attending day schools due to the amount of chores they are given when living at home.
IPP Media: The Shortage of Teachers and Where We Went Wrong An interesting editorial about the current shortage of teachers in Tanzania and the causes dating back to the 1970s.
IPP Media: Minister: No Teachers for Schools Without Teachers’ Quarters Deputy Minister says no new teachers will be posted where there are no teachers’ quarter. Many school have been recently built as part of the Secondary Education Development Plan (SEDP) and have only classrooms, lack books, and lack the necessary teaching materials. These problems will now be compounded by a lack of teachers.