Ready for a real lesson?! Education in Tanzania is organized differently than in American. Instead of elementary, middle and high school there is:
- 2 years of pre-primary education for ages 5–6 (year 1 and 2)
- 7 years of primary education for ages 7–13 (Standard I-VII)
- 4 years of secondary ordinary level education for ages 14–17 (Form 1-4)
- 2 years of secondary advanced level education for ages 18–19 (Form 5 and 6)
- 3 or more years of university education
Here we’ll focus on primary education because most of Amani’s children are under the age of 14. Although the Tanzanian government has made public primary school free, children must purchase mandatory uniforms, school supplies and pay all test fees. This is a barrier for many children who want to attending school. Primary education is a vital period in any child’s journey because it is when they begin studying the basic 12 subjects of the Tanzanian curriculum: Swahili, mathematics, science, geography, civics, history, English language, vocational subjects, French, religion, information and communication technology, and school sports. Students must excel in these subjects, and pass their Standard VII exams in order to continue onto secondary education. The odds are not in the children’s favor as in 2009, 49.4% of the 999,070 students who sat for these exams received passing marks. That means 51% of children education stopped at age 12 or 13. As education is the surest pathway to a secure livelihood poverty prevention and better health, these children are crippled when they stop attending school just after primary school.
Without his or her basic needs taken care of, no child be expected to excel in school. With an average teacher:student ratio of 1:40, the children are already at a severe disadvantage. Now factor in hungry bellies, tattered school clothes, and a lack of textbooks & school supplies.
Some other key barriers are:
- Lack of fundings and household income
- Insufficient secondary schools
- Quality of Education: Public school teachers are not fully committed to their job due to being underpaid, they look for other means of income, not attending classes for several days and thus the children left unsupervised, which surely lead the pupils to fail their exams. Therefore the 20% who go to secondary are mostly from private schools.
- Over crowded classes
- Limited space & resources in schools (i.e. No desks, chairs, teachers, blackboards etc.)
- Child labor (This is mostly in females, as they have lot of domestic chores… they can’t manage both work & study)
- Poor families cannot afford fees for exams or uniforms
- Travel distances: In rural areas almost ¼ household live 20kms from Secondary School.
- Traditional practices bias against girls’ education
How would your elementary school experience have played out if you had to live like this? Share the ways you have been blessed and contribute to Amani Orphanage’s education fund! Make your donation, and attach a message stating you request the money is directed towards uniforms, school supplies or exam fees! Juma can even send you a periodic update on how your money is making a difference in the lives of these children.
As the Tanzania school year is about to begin, let’s join in and help out!