Ambitious 2.6 billion/- worth special needs education facility stalls

20Apr 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Ambitious 2.6 billion/- worth special needs education facility stalls

THE construction of the 2.6bn/- worth special education and training facility targeting to combine all ‘special needs’ schools under one roof, has stalled, despite the government remitting 90 percent of the building costs.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Ave Maria Semakafu stated here that the facility was supposed to have been ready by January last year, when the first batch of pupils and students were to be taken in.

President John Magufuli is expected to inaugurate the buildings on the 28th of April this year, which is less than ten days from now, which means heads will roll if the project won’t be ready by then.

The Permanent Secretary was speaking at Patandi Teachers training Centre during the inspection of the unfinished structures for the proposed multi-use education centre for pupils and students with various types of physical and mental disabilities.

Ave Maria Semakafu pointed out that, even after extending the completion period from early last year to January this year, the building is far from being complete and the government now wants clear explanation regarding the project stalling.

“This was supposed to be an exemplary training facility for people with special needs, including pupils, students and teachers, yet there seems to be no sign of it being completed in time while some parts do not meet anticipated quality standards,” said the PS adding that the next step is to revoke the contract of the construction firm undertaking the project.

The government is currently planning to establish special training and education facilities to cater for youth with special needs in each and every region of Tanzania and the first such project is being constructed at Patandi in the Tengeru Ward, of Meru District, Arusha Region.

Acting Principal for Patandi Special Needs Teachers Training Center, Mwalimu Andrew Tamamu said the project is being executed at the cost of 2.567 billion/- and so far the central government has remitted 2.3 billion/- which is 90 percent of the total expenses.

The facility will feature a total of 12 classrooms capable of taking 640 students, an administration block, four dormitories and a multi-purpose hall.

“We have been allowed to start recruiting students and so far we have permission to enroll 320,” said the Head of the institution.

Explaining the project delay, the contractor in-charge of the dormitory wing, Eliud Misana said the construction project entails high standards of workmanship but the available local masons are less qualified thus taking longer time to train and direct them on what to do.

“We are also crippled by lack of materials as these, especially gravel, are outsourced from far and the people hired to deliver them usually bring the lot rather late,” said Misana.