Exciting news from Tanzania! One of the students we are looking to sponsor, Kornel Mbele, was recently chosen as one of five students to represent Tanzania in a Youth Leadership program sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. They will join fifteen other students from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. They will meet in the U.S. for one month for youth leadership and community development training. This is very exciting news for Kornel who has only been to the capital city of Dar es Salaam twice (on the same school field trip) and has very rarely left the remote rural community where he lives. Read the U.S. Embassy Press Release
By The Guardian Reporter First Lady Mama Salma Kikwete has said that discipline is instrumental for girl students to excel in education. Mama Kikwete, who is also Women and Development Organization (WAMA) chairperson, made the remarks here over the weekend when she visited Mpanda Girls’ Secondary School. She said for years women and girls were denied their right to education, adding that it was now prime time for girls to seriously concentrate on their studies. The WAMA chairperson noted that early pregnancies had remained a stumbling block in girls’ education. “You will only get out of that trap if you seriously embark on education. Through education you can be able to identify better opportunities to uplift your families and the nation at large,” she said. Meanwhile, the government has donated 52m/- for the construction of four class rooms, toilets and a teacher’s house at the school. The school’s headmistress, Nyabise Sabasi, said the 23-year-old school was facing shortage of dormitories. “Some students sleep in classrooms,” she said.
Read it here An excellent article in the Yale Globalist highlights a lot of issues with the Tanzanian education system. The author has clearly done her homework as she talks about various NGOs that are having a big impact like Haki Elimu and Femina.
Tanzania will get a USD 90 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to improve science subjects in secondary schools… Read full article at IPP Media. This funding is much needed, as the number of secondary schools has skyrocketed in the past few years. Almost all of the new schools like supplies or laboratories adequate for the teaching of science. Unfortunately, this loan will probably not address an even more pressing problem, the lack of science and mathematics teachers. Although the article mentions the training of teachers, the number of new science and math teachers in some rural districts is as few as four or five. These districts have over twenty schools. Over time the number of teachers would increase, were it not for the desire of most teachers to go on to university education, meaning even those four or five new teachers may yield a net gain of zero new teachers, as older teachers leave their posts to resume their studies. Another problem that arises is the one of teachers who are not comfortable with laboratory materials. Many teachers were not exposed to actual laboratories while they were in secondary school and so they are not familiar with them. In some schools, this means that, although supplies are present, they are not being used, due to the teacher’s lack of knowledge. Finally, loans to provide chemicals to schools are not sustainable. While I applaud the effort to promote science, I wonder who will provide more chemicals as these are used up? Some chemicals which commonly are part of the practical portion of the national exams are used quite quickly. Without a change in the way the Ministry runs the schools and provides their funding, these new chemicals will only prove to be a temporary fix.
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/15/opinion/15theroux.html?pagewanted=1 A darker Paul Theroux (former Peace Corps volunteer) take on development. A solid reminder on how important it is to view the stakeholders and outcome of a development project and avoid becoming “Jellybellys.”