My Views on Free Education in Tanzaniaby Shirumisha Kwayu on 01/17/18
In the past, I was a firm believer of providing free education funded by the state. However, more recently, my view has shifted to the opposing argument. I now believe that both the individual and the state should fund education. To be clear, everyone should have a right and an opportunity of getting the best education, regardless of their income or background. I believe education can be given at differential prices, wherein the government subsidises the fees depending on set factors, such as income level for example, where by some students can get free education, some a subsidized one and others that cover their own fees.
In the 2015 presidential campaign, the opposition promised free education as opposed to the subsidized one by the government. I believed these to be a superficial promise that would only diminish the quality of education. My reasons being that first, accomplishing this would need a lot of funding and no one knows where it would have come from or in expense of what. Secondly, the prevailing government system had its own responsibility while individuals and local community had their responsibility. What I mean by this is for example the government paid teacher and for the cost of running the school whereas the community had to build school. The truth is that both the government and the community have failed to fulfil their responsibility to a point of taking others responsibility. Thus, the promise of free education is at least with the prevailing socio-economic condition an immature one.
Soon after the election, the president announced free education, which was a demand from the masses of the public. A lot of effort has been channelled to ensure that children get free education for instance the desk campaign. Nevertheless significant challenges on free education have occurred. Today the president has given clarification on what free education means and directed two minister to ensure that it is implemented. The president’s announcement comes as a response to former PM Sumaye’s view on the state of free education in the country. The biggest question on free education is whether there are enough funds to provide uncompromised education.
I think the government should not remove people from the responsibility of providing education to their children. There are different ways that people can contribute on education apart from fees, through firstly providing moral support, secondly, physical support – parents and guardians can physical supports schools in different ways that can be directed to improve the quality of education provided and the educational resources available. Lastly, I suggest the government should return the notion of charging fees so that people should know the cost of education. Then, the government can provide waivers to schools in certain areas depending on the ability of the surrounding community to meet fee requirements. A school in town should not get the same government support as a school in a rural village. All in all we should think on better ways that we can redistribute our resources in a fair and responsible way that will allow us to make a step forward in the right direction as a united nation. Equal distribution of resources taking from those capable and giving to those in need.