Tanzania government urges parents not to send Kids to boarding schools

The government has strongly warned parents against taking children to boarding schools, especially abroad because this spoils them.

Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Anne Kilango Malecela
Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Anne Kilango Malecela

Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Anne Kilango Malecela told the National Assembly here that the emerging trend is disastrous to the future generation and in upholding national culture.

“Experts have stated that children below 14 years need to live under strict parental guidance and taking them to boarding school, more so in foreign countries, is disastrous,” she said.
Kilango said this in response to a question by the Special Seats MP, Mkiwa Kimwaga (CUF) who wanted to know why the number of pupils going to study in the neighbouring countries of Kenya and Uganda has declined.
The legislator argued that between 1985 and 1998 the number of Tanzanian pupils going for primary and secondary study in the East African countries was high compared to recent years.
“I would like to know why many pupils no longer go to the two countries as it was in the past decades,” said Ms Kimwaga.
But the deputy minister in her response said most parents used to send their children abroad for primary and secondary education with a notion that there was better education in the countries compared to Tanzania.
“Most parents were attracted by use of English language in the foreign schools than in Tanzania where teaching languages are English and Kiswahili,” she said. She added that between 1985 and 1998 there were only 41 schools in the country that used English as the teaching language compared to the current 740 of such schools in the country.
In addition, secondary school opportunities in the country were small and could not accommodate all those who graduated from primary school.
The deputy minister said for instance, pupils who passed standard seven examination and joined secondary schools was just 5.5 per cent  of those who sat the examination in 1985 and 19.1 per cent in 1998 compared to 55.5 per cent in 2014. In February this year, The Guardian reported on how kindergarten boarding school can spoil children.
It depicted one some of the parents who have come across such experiences. One Leonida Monera, a resident of Dar es Salaam said she was aware of the negative impacts of sending very young children to boarding schools but her busy family life has forced her to do so.
”It is better to send the child to a boarding school rather than leave her to a house girl who can harm her.
 ”We thus agreed to register our four-year-old daughter to start a nursery boarding school in Morogoro, Monera told The Guardian.  Another parent Grayson Rweyemamu also this year sent his son to start Standard One at Msolwa Missionaries of Compassion Centre, also in Morogoro.
Boarding pre-schools and primary schools started in the country in the 1990s. Many of the schools have performed well, at least academically.
 However, professional social workers  said youth ‘raised without parental warmth, love, or caring’ are more likely to develop emotional distress, lower self esteem, schooling problems, drug use, and sexual risk behaviours.
 Mussa Fumu a senior social work lecturer at the Zanzibar University and Deputy Chairman of the Association of Schools of Social Work in the country said that studies reveal that at the tender age guardians are reluctant to educate them on biological issues including sexual ones.
 Fumu said maternal communication is vital in parenting and often restrictive, saying this moral tone discourages youth from indulging in immoral activities.
 According to Kampala International University former Dean of Social Sciences Asia Mwanzi, lack of parental communications to youth leads to secret romantic relationships, cause early pregnancies.
She referred to a study by researchers that involved 700 adolescents that found out that single mother children or youth being raised by non biological parents engaged in sexual activity at early age compared to children raised by both parents.
  She said research further proved children without parents are at greater risk of being involved in drugs use and alcohol. According to her, children with none parental guidance risk mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality.
 Sipha Shabaan of the Open University of Tanzania said keeping children away damages family cohesiveness, allowing peer influence that results in alcohol and drug use as well as influencing child sexual abuse.
A senior social worker and administrative manager for the Association of Schools of Social Work in Tanzania (ASSWOT) under the American Internal Health Alliance (AIHIA) Stella Mngodo said children in such circumstances develop high risk of committing suicide at adulthood due to psychological disorders compared to teens living with their parents.
 For example in 1988, a study of preschool children admitted to New Orleans hospitals as psychiatric patients over a 34-month period found that nearly 80 percent came from fatherless homes. The study also revealed that children living with a never-married mother are more likely to develop emotional problems.
“Children who don’t live with both parents face behavioural problems such as less cooperativeness and lower intelligence capacity.
“They are disobedient, have poor relationships with their mothers and fathers and finally they become antisocial and mainly criminals.
Mwajabu Possi, Professor of Special Educational at the University of Dar es Salaam, told The Guardian that taking children to boarding schools should be the last resort when considering the children’s future.
 She recommended that children should join boarding school at Standard Five level and better still after completing primary education.
The Guardian

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