During a visit to a local school on Friday, Antony Ntaka, the regional commissioner of Dodoma, the Tanzanian capital, said parents of children who do not attend school will be arrested.
He made the emotional announcement , two weeks after the start of the academic year.
At that school only 67 of the 165 form one pupils had shown up.
It is believed that some parents allow their children to do petty jobs or allow them to become domestic workers.
The governor said he would not stand for it.
“I can’t build classes, put desks in classrooms, and you fail to take your child to school. I will make a thorough search from 04:00 from door to door, arresting those parents,” Mr Mtaka warned.