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PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has reiterated the government’s commitment to provide free education at both primary and secondary levels, to make education accessible to all school age children.
Addressing diplomats accredited to the country at the New Year sherry party, hosted for Heads of Diplomatic Mission and International Organisations at the State House in Dar es Salaam on Friday evening, President Kikwete said the idea to make primary and secondary schools education accessible to every Tanzanian was a major undertaking on his government's part.
"The New Education and Training Policy was approved by Cabinet. The policy underlines improving access and quality of education and training as core tenet of the new policy.

Everything else is an elaboration of how to see this core policy tenet is realised. There are two important factors of the new policy that are worth mentioning.
First the renewed emphasis on ensuring that Tanzanians get the type of education that will cater for the needs of the job market in terms of wage employment and self employment.
The second is the aspiration of making secondary school education free from next year, 2016," said the president. He explained that through Public Partnership about 3,500 community secondary schools have been built since 2005 to date.
With regard to availability of primary and secondary school teachers, Mr Kikwete said 36,339 teachers were employed in 2014 remaining with a shortage of 45,233 teachers of whom 26,946 teachers are for primary schools and 18,288 teachers are for secondary schools.
“This is the lowest shortage of teachers we have ever seen in the last seven years. Indeed, the cooperative endeavour of some of you and us, to invest in teacher training is paying desired dividends,” Mr Kikwete said.
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He underlined realisation of the aspiration to make primary and secondary schools education accessible to every Tanzanian, with coordinated preparations for smooth realisation of the noble goal. With regard to availability of text books in primary and secondary schools, the president said steady progress in tackling the challenge had been recorded.
In 2005, for example, President Kikwete said, in primary schools the ratio of book to students was 1:6 while in secondary schools it was 1:5. Through using own budgetary resources and support from development partners, in 2014 the ratio was 1:2 for both.

“I would like to use this opportunity to thank our development partners for their support, particularly the United States of America (USA) for donating 2.5 million science and mathematics books for secondary schools last month. The aim is to get to 1:1 ratio by 2016.
Your continued cooperation and support will be highly appreciated,” he said. Commendable progress was also registered in other socio-economic services namely health care, water supply, roads, airports and railways. "Equally important progress was made in the health sector.
This was in terms of building and equipping health delivery centres and dealing with diseases. "With regard to employment, in 2014 we employed 8,345 health professionals of whom there were doctors, nurses and other cadres.
With regard to training of health personnel, we were able to reach 97 per cent of our target of admitting 10,000 students by the year 2017. I am sure, therefore that, we will surpass that target by far by that time'" he said.
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He further noted that remarkable progress had been registered in infrastructure development in 2014. The tarmac road network was extended by 1,459 kilometres with 19 tarmac roads completed in 11 regions. "This year we expect 24 roads to be completed in 12 regions.
This will add another 1,339.06 kilometres. We also expect work to start on eight new roads in Dar es Salaam, Iringa, Shinyanga, Simiyu, Kilimanjaro, Katavi and Arusha regions.
"Thousands of kilometres of earth roads have been improved using the Road Fund whose budgetary allocation has been increased to 751.7 billion shillings in 2014 from 504.4 billion shillings in 2013," he elaborated.
As for implementation of the rural electrification programme being undertaken by the Rural Energy Agency (REA), the president said 3,836 villages have been electrified by 2014 and another 1,500 are expected to be reached by June, this year.
"This means 43 per cent of all villages in the country will be covered giving an access to electricity for 38 per cent of Tanzanians as compared to 18.4 per cent in 2012.
This is no small achievement in a short period of two years. A lot has been achieved as well in the railway, ports and water sub- sectors. For brevity of time I will not go into details today," he noted. The Representative of the Pope in the country, Archbishop, Francisco Montecillo Padilla wished the country peaceful elections.
“We pray that Tanzania once again undertake peaceful elections to allow the people choose leaders of their choice,” he said. Speaking on behalf of other envoys, the Dean of Diplomatic corps, Ambassador Juma Mpango, who is also the DRC Ambassador to Tanzania, commended the government for immense contribution to peace in the continent.
“The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has spearheaded peaceful negotiations in Southern Sudan for restoration of peace to end armed conflict that claimed thousands of innocent lives.
Tanzania has peace keeping troops in the DRC and Dafur. This is clear indication the country’s commitment to promote human dignity,” he explained.