Dar es Salaam schools: Poor toilets, little sport.

Dar es Salaam residents may have a long way to go before their children can enjoy quality sanitation and good sports infrastructure in public schools. In a research brief released today, Uwazi at Twaweza shows that public primary schools in Dar es Salaam are in dire need of more and better quality sanitation facilities--toilets, clean and safe water and playgrounds for extracurricular sports activities.

The brief titled “Public Primary schools in Dar es Salaam: poor toilets, little sport” is the second in a series of analyses based on a survey of a sample of 40 primary schools in Ilala, Temeke and Kinondoni conducted between August and December 2010.

It shows that on average 90 pupils have to share a toilet that should normally cater for 20 girl pupils or 25 boy pupils.  The brief observes further that in some schools more than 100 pupils have to share one toilet hole.

Concerning sports, the researchers note that the Government recently reinstated sports subjects and competition in games to encourage gifted pupils to purse sports and to make the learning environment more exciting. However, the survey,  shows that one out of every four schools did not have a playground, and those that had them still complained about their inadequacy and lack of equipment. Also in some schools, spaces reserved for playground have been invaded by neighbours.

Dar es Salaam is closest to where policies are made and money disbursed, so one would assume that the situation here is generally better than elsewhere. The fact that findings reveal such high level of problems is as such disconcerting.

The researchers emphasize that provision of good quality sanitation facilities should be a priority in all schools. This can be achieved by making sure that sanitation facilities (toilets and water taps/wells) are installed before schools are opened, and that they undergo the necessary maintenance each year.

Regarding sports, the researchers recommend that the Government make sure that, all schools have proper playgrounds; that schools receive and/have at least the minimum package of sports equipment every year; and that school compounds are protected for example by fencing to avoid that neighbours encroach on spaces reserved for playgrounds.

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