Posts Tagged ‘Zanzibar’

Today Zanzibar is a part of the country of Tanzania, but the island still retains remnants of its centuries of separation from the mainland. After hundreds of years apart, it’s been just 51 years since the island joined with Tanganyika, and this history still shows in the semi-autonomous governance of the island.

So when Tanzania decided to abolish school fees in 2002, offering its students a free primary school education, Zanzibar didn’t immediately follow suit. As of July 2015, however, Zanzibar’s children can look forward to a free primary and secondary school education.

Zanzibar has long emphasized the importance of education. Its first president after unification with Tanzania, Abeid Amani Karume, announced free education within months of his election.

Ali Mohamed Shein, Zanzibar presidentAli Mohamed Shein, Zanzibar’s current president, proposed the new plan

But over the decades, budget shortfalls made the program more and more difficult to maintain. By the late 1990s, parents were obligated to pay school fees for students of all ages, a move which has led to increasing absenteeism ever since.

In the last few years incomes on Zanzibar have risen substantially, as much as 38% per capita since 2010. This increasing prosperity has led to a more robust tax base, according to current president Ali Mohamed Shein. He plans to use these government windfalls to finance the new education program.

After the mainland made the switch to publically-financed education, the number of primary school students in the country more than doubled in just a decade. The Zanzibari government hopes to see similarly positive results from this new program.

Read Full Post »