IT was reported in the Press at the weekend that 52 parents in Kisarawe District, Coas Region, have been blamed by the authorities for failing to enable their children join secondary schools after passing primary school leaving exams.
This is, indeed, a disheartening scenario. It is unthinkable that academically brilliant primary school pupils who excelled in their final Standard Seven exams should fail to go up the educational ladder simply because their parents have a negative attitude towards education.
We are told that out of the 1,380 pupils who passed the exams in Maneromango, Chole Mzenga and Sungwi wards, only 1,115 joined secondary schools. Indeed, this is a pitiful scenario. Secondary school places are deemed as golden chances by pupils.
It is incredible that some of those who win prestigious school places only end up losing them at the whim of irrational parents, some of whom shun education. This is not acceptable. All children in this country have a constitutional right to education.
Parents who frustrate their children’s educational pursuits should pay for their folly, if proven guilty. Education officers nationwide should make sure that all primary school pupils who pass their final exams advance to secondary schools. The diabolical situation in Kisarawe District could be the tip of an iceberg.
Possibly, many other pupils elsewhere fail to join secondary school education. In some cases, some parents withdraw their girls from school so they get married – for a dowry. Others want the girls to help their mothers in household chores. And there are those who want their boys to help out in the farms or tend cattle.
Indeed, this is unacceptable behaviour. Parents should not be this mean to their children. Girls are hit the hardest in this ploy.
Thousands of schoolgirls have their educational pursuits cut short every year as a result of under-age marriages or pregnancy. This is a communal canker and a national headache.
It affects girls’ health, education, social status and future employment prospects. It also prevents victims from reaching their full potential in life.
Every year more than 8,000 girls drop out of school due to untimely pregnancies. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child says in Article 21 that: “States shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate harmful social and cultural practices affecting the welfare, dignity, normal growth, education and development of the child.”
And according to the “Basic Education Statistics in Tanzania” for 2012, a total of 610 primary school girls dropped out of school due to pregnancy. In 2011, a total of 5,157 secondary school girls dropped. Well, the rot must be stemmed.