Tanzania makes tree-planting mandatory for students

Thursday October 20 2016

Schoolchildren plant a tree. Tanzania has made tree-planting mandatory for primary and secondary school students. PHOTO | FILE

Schoolchildren plant a tree. Tanzania has made tree-planting mandatory for primary and secondary school students. PHOTO | FILE 

By Beatrice Materu

Starting next year, Tanzania’s first graders will be required to report with, in additional to their new books, a tree seedling.

The primary school children are not alone. Those joining secondary schools will also be mandated to bring with them three seedlings.

The Environment Minister January Makamba said the new directive, which is part of government efforts to protect the ecosystem, will apply to both public and private schools, and will form part of the end-of-school assessment.

Mr Makamba said the children will have to take care of and nurture the young trees they plant through their schooling years – a new requirement for granting of leaving certificates.

He said his office will issue the directive to all local councils and the Ministry of Education.

Forestry experts and government officials including district commissioners will meet in Arusha early next month for training on environmental protection, including tree-planting and preservation of water sources.

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In Tanzania, children join Standard 1 at age 7 and take seven years to finish primary school. Secondary schooling takes four years.