THE government of Tanzania plans to distribute fire extinguishers to all public primary and secondary schools across the country in an effort to curb damages caused by fire breakouts.
All district executive directors (DEDs) have therefore been directed to oversee the smooth supply of the extinguishers that are expected to at least mitigate the effects of serious firebreaks while waiting for the fire brigade.
The deputy minister of state in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Suleiman Jafo, told parliament here yesterday that the directive is in line with efforts to contain a recent wave of fire outbreaks in schools across the country.
A total of 29 secondary schools, two of them privately-owned, were burnt down last year, while two primary schools - one privately-owned - also experienced fire incidents.
“Some schools experienced fire outbreaks more than once, and the worst episode was when five schools were burnt down in the short period between August 1 and 12 last year,” Jafo noted. He said no fire outbreaks have been reported in any schools so far this year.
The deputy minister informed the House that the root cause of the spike in school fire incidents has yet to be established, though it has been argued that electric faults may be at the heart of some of the incidents involving schools with outdated power systems.
He said such incidents can be controlled through joint efforts by all interested parties in identifying their signs and causes.
According to Jafo, district council leaders have been directed to form committees with other stakeholders to deal with such cases at the lower level.
He made the remarks in response to a question raised by Bububu member of parliament Mwantakaje Haji Juma (CCM) on what the government is doing to avert fire outbreaks in schools.
A total of 27 people were arrested by police in Arusha last year in connection with a series of school fires that plagued three districts in the region.
The sweeping arrests came after yet another education institution, the Winning Spirit secondary school, went up in flames.