At least 860 school children who passed their National Standard Seven examinations last year and were selected to join various secondary schools in Bunda District, Mara Region, cannot read and write, District Education Officer Rabani Bituro has said.
Secondary school teachers said in separate interviews that the situation was an unbearable burden because they didn’t know how they would help the students to follow their studies.
The teachers, who preferred anonymity to protect their jobs, wondered how such students, illiterate as they were, managed to pass their examinations and were selected to join various secondary schools.
Bunda DEO Rabani Bituro admitted that there were such students in secondary schools, saying the number could be as high as 860.
“We're still collecting figures to establish how many do not really know how to read and write. The problem starts from family level. Parents do not supervise their children to follow their studies seriously. Most of them spend a lot of time at fish markets doing business to earn money," said Bituro in a telephone interview.
He explained that other factors contributing to the problem included poor infrastructure, absenteeism, lack of teachers and lack of textbooks.