Village Education Project Kilimanjaro, Sevenoaks, United Kingdomhttp://www.kiliproject.org
Village Education Project Kilimanjaro, Sevenoaks, United Kingdomhttp://www.kiliproject.org
Village Education Project Kilimanjaro is improving primary education by training and supporting teachers, providing equipment and materials, and working with communities to assist schools and pupils.
Children are leaving primary school with an insufficient education to equip them for further studies or future life. Particularly important is a sound knowledge of mathematics and of the English language as all further education is in English. Teachers lack subject knowledge and teaching methods, and a shortage of teaching materials to be able to provide a quality education. Only long-term work can bring lasting change, so that as many pupils as possible benefit from an improved education.
VEPK is providing weekly training for primary school teachers, head masters and the community in three village primary schools. In addition, VEPK is working with 10 other primary schools providing equipment and training seminars.
Basic education is the key to any lasting development for rural communities, and that is what Village Education Project Kilimanjaro seeks to improve.
Report 9th March 2013
We are approaching the school holidays in the primary schools. They opened on 12th January and they close for two weeks on 28th March. This term is always one of the most productive as everyone starts the new school year with enthusiasm and energy after the long break.
The last three months have been very busy, and all aspects of the programme are moving forward in a most satisfactory way.
The mathematics programme in the schools in Mabogini ward is going very well. Barbara Kerr is running in-service sessions with teachers and concentrating on the syllabus for Standard III (the third year of primary, with 9 to 10 year olds). Barbara has noted many deficiencies in the syllabus. Barbara has been collecting data from the district and the ward on tests and national examinations, and the analysis of this shows where the huge gaps in learning are, and many of these correlate to the weaknesses in the syllabus.
Jane Firth returned in February and she and Barbara ran a series of seminars for teachers of Standard III mathematics. The first day focused on the skills and knowledge pupils needed to have from Standard I and II before they could successfully embark on the work in Standard III. The next two days progressed to looking at how to teach multiplication and division. The teachers enjoyed the activities, but the seminar highlighted some gaps in their own subject knowledge. After the seminars Jane and Barbara visited the teachers in their classrooms to give support and to see where problems are persisting.
Jane gave an additional seminar for the Mathematical Association of Tanzania’s regional meeting. The participants were mostly secondary school teachers. Jane showed the importance of the basic concepts being mastered, and gave examples of topics in secondary school which are not understood because of the lack of the basic concept.
Later this month Barbara and Jane are presenting at the Mathematical Association of Tanzania’s national Pre-Pi day in Dar es Salaam.
Other aspects of the Whole School Development Programme are developing well. Jane Firth also gave another Chatter Matters session in February to parents of young children to show the importance of engaging with their children and talking to them. Jane also gave a two-day seminar on Storytelling and Handwriting for teachers of pre-primary and Standard I classes. This is to develop creativity through story-telling and acting, and to emphasise the development of motor-skills in young children and sound methods of teaching children to write.
Jill Nash returned in February and is helping teachers at Benjamin Mkapa primary school with their English lessons.
Katy Allen and Dilly Mtui presented the NOEC books for teaching English in primary schools to the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services in mid-January, and this was very well received. The chairperson of the Committee, Margaret Sitta, committed to help to get the books into the primary schools. In late January Katy and Dilly gave a Press Conference in Dar es Salaam and 36 journalists and photographers attended. The ensuing newspaper coverage was good. This was followed in early March by three live television interview programmes, in Swahili, on three different channels. These were all early morning programmes which are watched by many people at home and in offices. The response was most encouraging and certainly awareness of the NOEC books and the support they contain for teachers is now nationwide. The NOEC books have now been submitted to the Education Materials Approval Committee and Margaret Sitta assisted in that submission.
We have obtained the proposal document from Kazi Services, a company we identified as the facilitator to be able to work with the District Education Officers (DEOs) and Chief Inspectors of Schools (CISs) of the seven districts within Kilimanjaro region. The aim of Kazi Services providing training to the DEOs and CISs is to create a forum for them to share their problems and ideas, and to form solutions to those problems. Also within that forum to formulate suggestions for changes and improvements needed in the primary education sector, and to create an audience for those suggestions so that they are seriously considered by policy makers and others in the central Ministry in Dar es Salaam. Alongside this is the aim of improving communication and planning within each district. We have discussed the proposal document with the Zonal Chief Inspector of Schools for the North-Eastern Zone, and he is liaising with the District Executive Director of each district to obtain their commitment to the programme and to financial support to enable the officials to attend.
In February we had the benefit of Jessica Clarke-Nash visiting to take footage for a short video she will be producing about our work. Jessica is a professional focus-puller and has previous experience working in Africa. We hope to get the finished video in May and to put it on You-Tube in order to publicise and make more people aware of the work we do.
Again, we thank all of those who support our work for their generosity in donating to VEPK. We strive to use your funds effectively and we certainly feel that our work is making a real difference. We are now making changes in the primary schools as well as working more and more with officials at District, Regional and Ministerial level where, as our reputation grows, our views are respected and valued.
Thank you all for enabling this work to continue.
Very best wishes
The school year ends when the primary schools close on Friday 14th December. Everyone is exhausted and in need of the long holiday. The new school year starts again on 14th January 2013.
The last three months have been busy and productive, and the work carried out has very much paved the way for the full programme that we will be running next year.
Barbara Kerr, our primary school teacher with over 33 years of experience in Australia, started working with us in August. Since then she has been instrumental in organising and planning mini in-service sessions (Insets) for teachers of mathematics which are conducted by Barbara and David together. These are now held twice a week in four schools, and provide an opportunity for the teachers to discuss difficulties and share ideas, and tap into Barbara’s experience of teaching mathematics. The mini Insets are now a key feature of the work VEPK undertakes in the primary schools in Mabogini ward.
Having gained a good insight into the WSD programme’s objectives in early-mathematics, David and Barbara started collecting data in order to help teachers and other educators to see progress and to plan for future seminars and mini Insets in schools. Data obtained by both VEPK and by education officials is being used to give a measure of the impact of our work, and also to provide detail from which to guide our work in schools. The data will help us to identify overall needs, and to show progress, and so will help to ensure that our work is as effective as possible.
In September 2012 Jill Nash joined the programme. Jill is also from Australia, although originally from England. Jill was so enthused by her three-month assignment that she will now be returning twice each year. Jill has worked for three months in Benjamin Mkapa primary school to assist the teachers in their teaching of English as a foreign language. Jill very soon noticed the lack of any support to the teachers from the text books. In the classrooms Jill observes, and does partake in some team-teaching. However, Jill’s vital work is outside the classroom when she can guide each teacher on improvements which could be made to the lesson, and give ideas for putting the language in a context that would make it relevant and memorable for the pupils. Jill started sessions for all the teachers of English to sit with her and to work on difficulties of teaching, and also for Jill to take them through grammar structures etc. to improve their English. These sessions were so popular that not only did they increase from once to twice a week but also all the teachers in the school requested to be able to attend.
During Jane Fith’s visit in September she conducted two workshops called ‘Chatter Matters’ for parents of babies and young children from the neighbourhood of two primary schools in Mabogini ward. The parents – with men comprising about a third of those attending each workshop – were very keen to help their children. They had little knowledge about how children develop, and so understood little of the play activities that were suitable for helping ‘motor’ skills, thinking skills and speech development. After many activities in the seminars the parents understood that they had an important role to play in their children’s development especially before they go to school.
These ‘Chatter Matters’ workshops were very popular and all the parents who attended asked for more training and help. Jane intends to run more of these seminars next year.
The three maths books which Jane has written to guide teachers in the teaching of basic mathematics to pre-primary, Standard I and Standard II classes, are now ready to be printed. This has taken time as the translation into Swahili had to be checked carefully, and the layout/designer worked closely with Katy Allen (a fluent Swahili speaker) to ensure that page-breaks are suitable and all the diagrams are correctly labelled and in the right place!
In the last quarter VEPK commissioned Mr Mkiramweni and Mr Lusingu of Singa Chini Teacher-Training College to write a handbook for school committee members, so that they can be guided in their roles and responsibilities. This has been printed and will be distributed to schools in Mabogini ward and elsewhere in the new year.
We have achieved much in 2012, and with new long-term professional volunteers committed to the projects we should go from strength to strength in 2013.
Our work is not possible without funds, and with the economic difficulties in the UK and inflation in Tanzania we are ever ‘cutting our cloth’ according the funds we receive.
We thank all of you for generously supporting our work and enabling our projects to flourish and develop.
A very merry Christmas to all our supporters, and we hope that 2013 will be a good year for us all.
Very best wishes
Whole School Development Programme - September report 2012
Tanzania’s primary schools re-open on Monday 10th September after an extended holiday because of the national census which took place in August. The Standard VII end-of-primary national examinations will be held on 19th and 20th September, and the schools will close for the year on 14th December.
Jane Firth visited again in July and gave a seminar for the School Inspectors from Moshi Rural District. The seminar was to show them Jane’s teaching methods for basic mathematics, and how all her activities, materials and resources relate to topics in the national syllabi. The inspectors enjoyed the demonstrations and certainly gained confidence to be able to assist teachers during future inspections. This is a crucial step in ensuring that teachers using the new methods are fully supported.
Also in July Dr Anne Samson returned. Anne held another seminar with the Inspectors of Schools for Moshi Rural District and the tutors from Singa Chini Teacher-Training College. The major focus was on ‘participatory’ teaching and assessment. This meeting, following on from two previous ones, was conducted with an Inspector from the Zonal Inspectorate office for the North-Eastern Zone. The seminar developed further the discussion of how best to assess pupils’ work. With the emphasis now being strongly on ‘participatory’ teaching methods, the old methods of assessment (written exercises and tests) can no longer be the only assessments of work. There was much healthy discussion and many questions, but also agreement that new methods of assessment must be allowed in the primary schools. Anne wants to develop , in a future seminar, the understanding of ‘participatory teaching’ which itself would lead to a greater understanding of how to assess the pupils’ learning.
Anne also found time in her visit to sit with the head teachers of the eleven government primary schools in Mabogini ward to talk to them about our Whole School Development Programme and whether they have seen any benefits or improvements. The teachers all agreed that the benefits to date had been enormous. The management training for head-teachers, and the training for some school committee members had helped the running of the schools and the understanding of the duties to be performed. The training in teaching basic mathematics had had the greatest impact, with teachers enjoying their work, pupils turning up because they enjoy using the materials/resources, and other teachers wanting to teach the younger classes, and seeing the benefit of the use of resources. This was most encouraging for our project, and in particular for our current follow-up work where we spend 4 days a week in schools to support the use of the new methods.
Katy Allen and Dilly Mtui have made two visits to Dar es Salaam, mostly to promote the English course books for teaching English in government primary schools – the NOEC. They met the newly appointed Commissioner for Education at the Ministry of Education & Vocational Training and had a very positive discussion about the use of the NOEC books. This was coupled with meeting Zonal Chief Inspectors of Schools in Arusha and Dar es Salaam and getting their commitment to study the NOEC books and give feedback on the need for them. A very good meeting with professors from the Education Department of the University of Dar es Salaam promises to lead to a workshop in November.
Katy and Dilly continue with their columns in two national daily newspapers: The Citizen and Mwananchi. Katy has a weekly column in the Young Citizen which appears in the Sunday Citizen. These articles incorporate printed stories and comprehension questions from the NOEC and are aimed at a young audience . Dilly has a weekly column in Tuesday’s Mwananchi (a Swahili daily and also the best selling newspaper in the country). Dilly’s column has a serious commentary on the teaching methods used in the books, and also has a weekly quiz in the form of a short story with a cartoon and questions to test and show the many words in Swahili adopted from English. The columns are to promote the NOEC books, and several emails have been received by readers ranging from interested parents keen to get the NOEC books for their children to those interested in the work that we do in general.
Barbara Kerr joined the project in August, and Jill Nash has also just joined for a three-month assignment. Barbara will be working in the primary schools in Mabogini ward with teachers of mathematics from Standard III to VII. Barbara will help to extend our mathematics programme beyond Jane Firth’s work in Standard I and II, and will be delivering seminars on top of her core work as a teacher-mentor in the classrooms. Jill will be in Benjamin Mkapa primary school in Mabogini ward helping the teachers with their teaching of English.
Our website has been updated, and the new Facebook page (linked from the Home Page of the website) has regular updates on our work where you can stay in touch with week-to-week activities in the project.
The donations which come through Global Giving are mostly anonymous, and so we are unable to write personal ‘thank you’ messages to those donors. We are very grateful to receive such generous gifts and hope that those who give towards our work know how much we rely on those donations to continue with our work, and how very grateful we are for them.
With many, many thanks to all our donors for their kindness in helping our Whole School Development Progamme.
8th September 2012
Whole School Development Programme - June report 2012
David Jones was regularly visiting the schools in Mabogini ward, accompanied by Mr Msuya, the ward education officer, and giving support to the teachers in pre-primary, Standard I and II with their maths lessons until the rains came. Unfortunately, on a very wet day the mud got the better of the car and there was a slight mishap! The visits were then interrupted which was a great shame.
George Kasenga, the programme manager, left the programme at the end of April. George had to return to government service in order to protect his pension rights which had built up over many years when he worked as a teacher-trainer in government colleges. A new volunteer, Barbara Kerr, will join us in the next quarter and will be with us over the long term. Barbara is a very experienced primary school teacher who has worked for the past four years in Africa. Once she has joined we will be able to see what specific role there is for a new programme manager.
In May two tutors from Singa Chini Teacher Training College, Mr Lusingu and Mr Mkiremweni, gave a three-day seminar to members of school committees from Chekereni, Mwamko and James Ole Millya primary schools in Mabogini ward. The committee members learned about and discussed the election of members, their duties and responsibilities, the role of sub-committees and the different meetings to be held and how to call them and to conduct them. The District Education Officer for Moshi Rural District turned up on one of the seminar days to see how it was going, and he gave encouragement to those present to carry on their volunteer work as committee members to the best of their ability.
The tutors from Singa Chini Teacher Training College have now started work at our request on a booklet for school committee members to act as an induction guide and working hand-book. Such a booklet should then reduce the need for training seminars. School committee members are re-elected every three years and it is not feasible to give training to each committee every three years.
David has also been busy organising future training seminars. The Inspectors for Moshi Rural District will all attend a two-day seminar to be given by Jane Firth in early July. This will reinforce for the school Inspectors the methods for teaching mathematics that Jane has been introducing to teachers of pre-primary, Standard I and II pupils. This will assist school inspections and how the inspectors can help to support those teachers. Dr Anne Samson returns in July and will be with the Zonal Chief Inspector to hold a workshop with the district school inspectors and tutors of Singa Chini Teacher Training College to consider government regulations on assessment of pupils’ work and the possibilities for matching assessment methods with participatory teaching and learning.
In the UK Jane Firth and Katy Allen have worked on short stories for young children to be in both English and Swahili. Several stories are now ready to be illustrated. Printing and publishing of the stories for use in the schools is a project for the future for which funding will be needed. Jane and Katy have also been in discussion about a workshop for parents of pre-school children to show the importance of talking to their children. Jane is researching a ‘chattter matters’ programme which could be adapted for use in Tanzania. It seems that many children are with siblings and other young children most of the time and have insufficient time being talked to or engaged in any exchange of conversation. This can be detrimental to their development and affect their performance at primary school.
In the first week in June Katy and Dilly Mtui, the overall coordinator, had a meeting in Dar es Salaam with the managing director and education editors of a large communications group who publish two national newspapers, one in English and the other in Swahili. The meeting was about running a media campaign to promote the NOEC books for teaching English in primary schools. Katy and Dilly have been given an opportunity to have a weekly column in each.
The 2012 newsletter was prepared and can be seen on the following link:
We continue to receive generous donations and we are extremely grateful for all of those. We thank all those who have been able to give and who support our work. The primary schools in Mabogini are benefiting enormously, and working in those schools helps us to suggest to government education officials the changes we recognise as needed in the primary education system.
Many thanks to all our donors and very best wishes,
11th June 2012
Whole School Development Programme - March report 2012
The new school year started on Monday 9th January, and at the end of this month the primary schools close for the Easter break.
On 23rd January Katy Allen, the Director, and Dilly Mtui, the project’s coordinator, had a meeting with the Deputy Minister for Education in Dar es Salaam about the progress of the course books to be introduced for teaching English in the primary schools. This was disappointing as the Deputy Minister had not been properly briefed. Next week Katy and Dilly are meeting Dr Mwinyimvua in the State House for what is hoped to be a more productive meeting.
At the very beginning of February more head-teacher training sessions were run. Previously the head teachers had had a very good three-day training workshop with Evans Lushakuzi looking at management, delegation of duties, team-building etc. This time Inspectors from the Zonal Office (that is the Northern Zone of Tanzania), District Office and the Teacher Service Commission ran a three-day workshop which guided the head teachers and their deputies on the meaning and implementation of government directives, budgeting requirements, teacher rights and disciplinary procedures, academic responsibilities etc. The workshop was held for three days with head teachers in Mabogini ward, and then in the following week for head teachers in Marangu East ward.
In February a new volunteer, David Jones, arrived. David had volunteered on the project when he was 19 years old, and has now returned on a career-break. David is now assisting George Kasenga, the programme’s manager, and will be working in Mabogini ward supporting the teachers with their teaching of maths in the early years.
Jane Firth returned at the end of February for another series of seminars in Mabogini ward. On this visit Jane has been running refresher courses. She started with head teachers who have been newly appointed, and four visiting teachers from Karatu who had heard about her work and had requested to be able to attend. Jane spent two days giving an overview of the teaching of basic mathematics to pre-primary pupils, Standard I pupils and Standard II pupils. The head teachers need to know the methodologies and stages so that they can assist and supervise their teachers. Jane spent another two days with pre-primary and Standard I teachers together, reminding them of the important stages of learning for their pupils, and how they can assess their pupils through the classroom activities. Next week Jane will spend two days with Standard I teachers and Standard II teachers together, again showing the progression of the pupils’ learning, and techniques to help understanding and to help teachers assess the pupils’ ability. After that Jane will have a day with a session in the morning with one set of teachers, and the same session with other teachers in the afternoon. This will be to help with resource management, as the teachers now have many hand-made cards/dominies/games etc for classroom activities. The storage and use of these, with over 50 children in many of the classes, is another skill the teachers need to master. One of the teachers, Mary Mtei at Mserekia primary school, will give a demonstration lesson for all the other teachers to observe and see how she uses her pupils to manage those resources and how she has developed her pupils to work in groups.
Dr Anne Samson returned to Kilimanjaro at the beginning of March. She attended the first days of Jane’s seminars. Anne and Katy then had a very encouraging meeting with the Zonal Chief Inspector and his head of Primary Inspector and head of Teacher Education Inspector. The meeting was arranged so that the methods of assessment of pupils’ work could be agreed upon. From previous discussions it has transpired that tutors at the Teacher Training College were promoting assessment of pupils’ work by observation of group activities, and participation in discussions etc. The District Inspectors on the other hand still insisted on pupils’ work being assessed by written work in exercise books. The Zonal Chief Inspector explained that sometimes central government circulars on matters such as this are sent directly to the Teacher Training Colleges and by-pass his office and so his inspectors might not always be aware of things. He requested that a meeting be arranged in July, when Anne Samson is next in Tanzania, so that the he can attend and all parties can agree on methods of assessment of pupils that are suitable for the ‘participatory’ methods of teaching and the new ‘competence-based’ outcomes that are now expected.
Anne, Katy and Dilly travelled to Morogoro to the Teacher Training College (TTC) there as that is the central college that trains TTC tutors. They met a couple who are working there under VSO and who have knowledge of new trainer-education material which is being introduced.
The Ministry of Education has just announced revised term dates for the rest of this year because of the national census taking place in August. Primary school teachers will be used to conduct the census and so the schools will be closed. The usual long mid-term holiday in June is now much reduced and a new school break has been imposed for the whole of August. This affects the work of some of our volunteers who have already booked flights – but part of our work here always involves overcoming hurdles such as these…….
Again we thank all of you who have donated and who share our view that a long-term commitment in schools, working with teachers and education officials is the only way to bring about any change in the government primary education sector.
Many, many thanks and good wishes,
9th March 2012
9th March 2012
Whole School Development Programme - December report 2011
The government primary schools closed on Friday 3rd December, and the school year is over. The new school year will start again in mid-January.
In the last three months much has happened, but the most exciting news is that in mid-November Katy Allen, the Director, and Dilly Mtui, the co-ordinator, had a meeting with Dr Jakaya Kikwete, the Hon. President of the United Republic of Tanzania. The meeting was at the State House in Dar es Salaam, and Katy and Dilly were with this His Excellency for about an hour. The meeting, attended by some of the President’s advisers and aides, was to present to the President the sample books which form the course for primary school pupils to learn English as a foreign language. Aside from the excellent material in the books, and the many and varied ways of giving the pupils a solid foundation in the skills of speaking, reading and writing, and particularly of reading comprehension, the new development is that the teachers’ books give all the instructions and explanations in Swahili, with a mini dictionary and pronunciation guide. There are few teachers in the government primary schools who are teaching English with any confidence, and these course books will help to build their confidence and guide them through every lesson. The President was visibly enthusiastic and said that he wanted this project to go ahead. We are now liaising with one of his aides. A short mention was given on Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation radio that the meeting had taken place, and also the Daily News carried a paragraph about the meeting. (There is a photograph of the meeting posted with this report)
In October Jane Firth returned and, again working in Mabogini ward, she ran a four-day seminar for teachers of Standard II pupils (8 year olds) to help them with the teaching of mathematics. At this level the pupils are expected to become competent with addition and subtraction and multiplication tables and to be introduced to fractions. Jane emphasises repeatedly the necessity to use real (‘concrete’) items first with gentle progression to the ‘abstract’ of writing down a sum for the pupils to write down the answer. On the day preceding this seminar Jane was with the head-teachers so that they could get an overview of what their teachers would be taught in the following four days, in order for them to support their teachers. Jane Bentley, starting her three-month assignment, accompanied Jane Firth on her classroom visits to see how the teachers were coping. It seems that greater classroom management skills are needed, in order to facilitate maths games with the resources which need storing, distributing to the pupils and collecting back in again. The work now is to help the teachers, some of whom have over 60 pupils, to have confidence in using equipment, and to give their own pupils responsibility over much of the equipment. Mama Sandi, who has worked with Jane Firth on all of her seminars, has continued to visit teachers in their classrooms to give them support, and Jane Bentley has accompanied her.
Dr Anne Samson was in Kilimanjaro for a week in October, and hosted the second meeting for the Inspectors of schools for Moshi Rural District and the tutors of Singa Chini Teacher Training College to discuss ‘assessment’ of pupils’ work. The first meeting had highlighted great differences which were impeding the development of teaching methods. After much discussion it was found that different information flows from the central authorities to the inspectors from that which is given to the Teacher Training Colleges. This may be merely a matter of timing, in that one body gets more recent regulations and procedures than the other. However, both groups asked that Anne Samson and Village Education Project try to sort out this discrepancy with the central Ministry of Education and education and inspectorate departments. This will be tackled in the new year.
All of the seminars, visits and meetings were organised by the Programme’s manager, George Kasenga, who has also kept essential reports and records.
In the UK two more meetings of the Network of UK charities which work in education in Tanzania, were held. The last meeting in November attracted new faces, and the forum proved its worth in enabling information and contacts to be exchanged.
As 2011 comes to an end we are pleased to share these snippets of our work. We are achieving our aim of working to gain the trust and confidence of those within the primary schools, and then with knowledge of the difficulties they face we are promoting greater liaison between others in the government primary education sector. It is only with detailed knowledge of the ‘grass-roots’ that we can work with all involved to see what feasible solutions there are. Our approach seems to be working and we are optimistic that we can do even more to help in 2012.
None of this would be possible without our donors – whose generous gifts fund all our work. A huge ‘thank you’ to all of you who have so kindly given towards our work. On behalf of everyone who is benefiting from our work in Tanzania we hope that all our donors have a very happy Christmas and enjoy the festive period to the full.
Very best wishes
8th December 2011
This week is half-term. Last week Standard VII pupils sat their national examinations marking the end of their primary school studies. Standard VII pupils are mostly 13 and 14 year olds, and these examinations determine whether they continue into secondary school.
Since our last report Jane Firth and Anne Samson have both visited, and for the first time their visits coincided and they worked together. Jane continued working with the teachers and head-teachers from primary schools in Mabogini ward. Jane conducted a seminar on teaching basic mathematics and handwriting to Standard I pupils (7 year olds), and the teachers of these pupils were introduced to the necessity of using real (‘concrete’) items such as stones, sticks, and beans, for the children to count. Jane demonstrated the teaching of addition and subtraction using straws – individual straws, and bundles of ten straws tied together – to show the meaning of units, tens and hundreds. The teachers were given these and other materials to use with their pupils, and on the last day of the seminar they made more of any materials they particularly wanted to use. Jane visited some of the teachers in their classrooms in the week following the seminar, and was delighted by the teachers’ enthusiasm, and their willingness to try to implement the new methods of teaching.
Anne Samson spent time meeting head-teachers, school inspectors and the district education officer to discuss how the work conducted within our Whole School Development Programme is progressing and what needs there are. Anne then planned with George Kasenga, our Programme manager, work for the next three months. Anne and Jane worked together to give a most valuable one-day session at Singa Chini Teacher Training College attended by the Teacher Training tutors and most of the district school inspectors. Jane demonstrated her teaching methods to use with young learners, and Anne developed this to show the real meaning of participatory teaching/child-centred learning. Within these methods are many ways of assessing the pupils’ progress. This led to a discussion on assessment, marking and evaluation. Such were the differences of opinion between the tutors and inspectors on the needs and merits of different ways of assessing pupils that a special session will take place in October to try to reach some conclusions. We are delighted that our work is now enabling such important issues to be openly discussed, and enabling these main stakeholders to query the interpretation of government policy.
George Kasenga has been active since Jane and Anne’s visit doing follow-up work in the schools and noting any needs and problems.
In August Dilly Mtui and Katy Allen met the Prime Minister, the Hon. Mr Pinda, to show him the sample books of the proposed course for teaching English in the primary schools. The book project is progressing and will be presented to the President soon.
Later this month Jane Firth returns to further her work in Mabogini ward. A new volunteer, Jane Bentley, will start a three-month assignment intending to support the teachers with basic mathematics teaching. In October and November Anne Samson will host two more meetings of the Network of UK charities which work in education in Tanzania, which was started in June this year.
We are pleased with the steady progress we are making, and how we now have the confidence of government officials to work so openly with us. We remain convinced that only long-term projects can hope to bring about any lasting change, and we thank all our donors who support us so generously in this.
13th September 2011
The primary schools are now closed for their long, mid-year holiday, and will not resume until 4th July. However, in many schools there is daily tuition for the pupils in Standard VII who sit their national examinations in September. Those examinations will determine which pupils are offered places to continue their education into secondary school. Most Standard VII pupils are 14 years old, and so this is a critical stage in their young lives.
In April we held a most successful three-day training course for head-teachers and their deputies from 11 primary schools in Mabogini ward. The training was run by Mr Evans Lushakuzi who has worked with us since 2006. The participants were highly motivated and were very keen to glean as much as possible from Evans. They looked at principles of good management, styles of leadership, how to effect good delegation of work, and how to build an effective staff team. At the end of the third day each had written their own individual action plan. Our coordinator, Dilly Mtui, and the programme manager, George Kasenga, made a follow-up visit in May. They were most reassured to see that the teachers were implementing what they had discussed; in one school the head-teachers had sat with all her staff and written detailed job descriptions, and in another the head-teacher had designed a form for delegating duties to staff and the forms were in use with everyone aware of expected outcomes and deadlines.
In April the Director, Katy Allen, met the Hon. Minister for Education & Vocational Training, Dr Kawambwa in Dar es Salaam, and progressed discussions about the reintroduction of English course books for learning English as a foreign language in primary schools. Following the discussions Katy made a formal submission of the book project, and samples of the books are being printed in India.
George Kasenga has been busy preparing for the next visit by Jane Firth. Jane arrives in early July and will be with teachers of Standard I pupils in Mabogini to help develop their teaching of basic mathematics. George has also been liaising with Singa Chini Teacher Training College for a one-day workshop in mid-July in which Dr Anne Samson and Jane Firth will work with the College tutors to explore how participatory teaching or active-learning can be understood and adopted by the student trainee teachers at the College.
In the UK we have been involved in a Network Day. This was organised by Dr Anne Samson. Representatives from other charities working in education in Tanzania met in London. We discussed our work, difficulties we face and how we might work more effectively in collaboration on certain issues. The day was a success and two more meetings have been arranged for the autumn.
Jane Firth and Dr Anne Samson arrive back in Tanzania in July.
The generosity of our donors enables our work to continue, and we thank all of them for their support of, and interest in, what we are doing.
21st June 2011
The primary schools are now closed for the mid-term holiday, and resume on Monday 11th April.
In February Jane Firth returned for another assignment with us. This time we started work in schools in a different education ward, but still within the district of Moshi Rural. Mabogini ward is west of Moshi and we worked in the cluster of primary schools under Chekereni teacher-resource centre. During our preparations we met all the headteachers and briefed them about the work that Jane would be undertaking with their pre-primary class teachers and the teaching that we hoped the teachers would adopt after the seminar. One of the headteachers was concerned that she would be unable to monitor her teacher if she did not know the contents of Jane's seminar. For this reason Jane happily gave a one-day seminar for all the headteachers. Then for four days Jane worked with the pre-primary teachers on how to teach basic mathematics to their pupils, how to evaluate their progress, how to organise groups and group work, as well as a very lively session on story-telling in the classroom. For the remainder of her stay, Jane visited teachers in Marangu with whom she has previously worked and observed their progress and gave hands-on help where necessary. Jane will return in July.
In March we hosted our fourth workshop with District Education Officers and Chief Inspectors of Schools from the seven districts of Kilimanjaro region. This was held in Boma Ng'ombe in Hai district and, as last time, was facilitated and led by two trainers from the Business School of the University of Dar es Salaam. The topics covered in the three days ranged from managerial communication, building relationships and team-building, to conflict management and leadership and emotional intelligence. The fourteen participants, mostly newly appointed to their posts, enjoyed the workshop and the interaction and the opportunity to sit together and discuss problems in their work. They all requested another such workshop but to cover five days instead of three!
In the coming months we are holding a training seminar for headteachers in Chekereni, Mabogini, and Dr Anne Samson will be visiting to assess the progress of the programme and to plan its next stages.
Again, we would like to thank our donors for their support of our long-term work in the primary education sector.
31st March 2011
Whole School Development Programme
The last three months have been quiet with the end of the school year in Tanzania. Schools closed on 3rd December, and before that the teachers were busy with examinations and end-of-year reports.
George Kasenga, the programme manager, attended a conference in Dar es Salaam, the third of its kind, on the theme of 'Practice on learners' centred education'. Officials from the Ministry of Education & Vocational Training outlined the proposed strategy for in-service training for government teachers.
The director was in the UK for most of the time, and was able to start to send material to India for the printing of samples of the books which we are recommending for use as course books for teaching English in primary schools.
Other organisations and projects have made contact with us requesting links or advice on how they can begin or further their work with local teachers. In the UK the director met representatives of two of those projects, and plans are in place to visit and see what they are doing early in 2011.
New volunteers arrive in January for work in local schools, and Jane Firth will be visiting again and giving more training seminars in February and March.
We would like to thank our donors again for their support, and hope that 2011 is a good and successful year for us all.
Whole School Development Programme
We have had a busy three months with more training seminars, and liaison with education officials in Dar es Salaam.
At the end of September Jane Firth visited again for three weeks. Jane visited teachers who had attended her previous seminars for teaching early-years mathematics. Jane also gave a four-day training seminar for the same 22 teachers who were chosen by the District Education Office to attend her seminar in July. This is so that Jane's work can be shared as widely as possible. The seminar was on methods of teaching basic mathematics to Standard I and Standard II pupils who are seven and eight years old. Jane was, again, encouraged by the teachers' ability to pick-up the new ideas and to understand the reasons behind the teaching methods.
In September school committee members (the equivalent of school governors) from Sembeti primary school, Samanga primary school and Mengeni primary school received training for four days. The roles of the school committee members were examined, as well as the calling and conduct of meetings. Attention was also given to school budgets and possible ways to increase school income. Importantly, the relationships between the committee and other stakeholders such as the teaching staff, parents, the community and village government were considered with much discussion. The training was facilitated by a tutor from Singa Chini Teacher Training College and a member of the District Inspectorate.
All of our training sessions are conducted in Swahili so that the participants derive maximum benefit. Jane Firth works with someone to translate for herr. George Kasenga, the manager of the Whole School Development Programme, organised all the training sessions. George is also carrying on the weekly visits to local schools as part of the in-service training for the teachers and particularly the school management teams. However, his visits were interrupted in September by the national leaving examinations for Standard VII pupils and the mid-term break.
Dr Anne Samson, who supervises and researches for this programme, visited in August and September and attended many meetings in order to assess progress and to plan for the coming year. Dr Samson, with the project co-ordinator Dilly Mtui, also visited a project operating in Mikindani, Mtwara with a view to assisting and advising them.
The Director made four visits to Dar es Salaam for meetings with the Minister for Education, his Permanent Secretary and others. The Director also had meetings at Dfid and Uwezo. All of these stem from initial meetings in 2008 concerning recommendations for course books for teaching English in primary schools. The pupils' books emphasise sentence and structural patterns as well as reading comprehension. Each teacher's books is extensive with teaching notes and explanations so that the teachers are able to understand what to do in each lesson. It is hoped that the books will be adopted for national use as the teaching of English in the primary schools is poor and is affecting the future education of all concerned, particularly as secondary education is all in English.
We would like to thank our donors for their support, and we hope that our long-term approach to improving the quality of primary education is seen as the sensible approach. Short-term programmes or projects do not seem feasible for bringing about lasting change, and change by its very nature is a slow process if all those involved are to understand the need for it and the benefits to be derived.
The workshop for District Education Officers and Chief Inspectors of Schools for the Kilimanjaro region was conducted by facilitators from the Business School of the University of Dar es Salaam. This was a great success. Since our last workshop in 2008 some new officers are in post, but all appreciated the opportunity to be together, and to learn about and discuss management and communication issues. We hope that we will run another such workshop soon so that this valuable forum can become an established part of their work.
In June, immediately after the primary schools closed for the long mid-year break, Mr Evans Lushakuzi worked with us again to facilitate a three-day training course for head-teachers. Head-teachers from thirteen primary schools attended. The aim was to enhance skills in leadership and management, and thus improve their capabilities to communicate with their teachers and to create happy, loyal teams. There was much discussion of specific problems in each school such as staff absences, staff arriving late to work, parents unable to pay mandatory contributions. The head-teachers participated enthusiastically in the exercises given by Mr Lushakuzi, and Mr Lushakuzi notetd that there was evidence of skills development in the head-teachers' ability to develop action-plans to address the challenges they had identified in their schools. It was suggested that the training sessions be offered to assistant head-teachers.
In July Jane Firth visited again. Jane visited teachers who had attended her previous seminars for teaching early-years mathematics. Jane also gave a four-day training seminar for 22 teachers who were chosen from the Moshi rural district. The District Education Office was keen for Jane's valuable work to be shared as widely as possible, and wanted recognized, good teachers to benefit from her in-put so that they could not only improve their own teaching but also start to impart some of the teaching methods to their colleagues. The seminar was on methods for teaching basic mathematics to pre-primary pupils of five and six years old. Jane was greatly encouraged by the teachers' ability to pick-up new ideas and to understand the reasons behind each stage of teaching the numbers and number-bonds.
All these training sessions were conducted in Swahili so that the participants could derive maximum benefit. Jane Firth works with someone to translate for her. George Kasenga, the manager of the Whole School Development Programme, organised all the sessions. George is also carrying on the weekly visits to local schools as part of the in-service training for the teachers, and particularly for the school management teams.
Whole School Development Programme - update May 2010
Dr Anne Samson, the researcher and adviser for this programme, visited in February. Anne spent time with George Kasenga, our new programme manager, planning the next stages of work. Anne and George had a meeting with the headteachers of the four schools in which the main in-service training is taking place, together with the ward education officers responsible for those schools and the Teacher Resource Centre coordinators who assist George with the in-service training. The meeting was to discuss progress and plans, and for Anne to help with ideas for future work. Anne and George also met the district education officer and the chief inspector of schools for Moshi Rural. They arranged that the inspectors will visit, together with Mr Temba of Singa Chini Teacher-Training College, and evaluate the teaching and learning in the four schools. This will then assist in assessing our work in those schools.
In March Jane Firth visited again. Jane gave a three-day seminar to teachers of pupils in Standard II to guide them in teaching mathematics. The seminar covered the work the pupils should know from pre-primary and Standard I, and looked at most of the Standard II syllabus but particularly the important topic of hundreds, tens and units and 'place value', and basic multiplication. Jane visited many classrooms to observe and help the teachers who have attended her various seminars on basic mathematics for pre-primary, Standard I and II. Jane found many problems with classroom management and organisation, and particularly with the storage of equipment, and handing out of equipment and materials to pupils for essential number activities. Jane was able to help with these problems and encouraged the teachers to use the pupils far more to take responsibility for looking after much of the equipment and materials. Jane will visit again in July and October.
The Hon. Minister for Education in Tanzania is proceeding with the charity's proposal to re-introduce an old English course for the teaching of English as a foreign language in government primary schools as a way of addressing the current crisis in language teaching and learning. A new course has been written by this charity for Standard I and II pupils in-line with the original proposal, so that the old course starts in Standard III as it is designed to do. Maths booklets to be used as guides for primary school teachers to improve their knowledge of difficult topics in the primary mathematics syllabus are now with a publisher in Dar es Salaam. These booklets were written by a volunteer who worked with us over many years helping the teachers in the classroom, and we hope that they might be adopted nationally as training guides. They will be in Swahili.
In early March the annual school outing to Lake Manyara National Park was enjoyed by 35 pupils from Masia Marangu and Masia Mamba primary schools. All the pupils were from Standard IV, and they stayed the night in the park hostel. They saw many animals but were disappointed not to see any lions. They were intrigued by the hot spring which is naturally hot water coming from the ground and is part of their studies of the Rift valley.
We are looking forward to running a workshop for district education officers and chief inspectors of schools from each of the six districts in Kilimanjaro region. This workshop will be facilitated by two people from the Business School of the University of Dar es Salaam, and will take place over two days and cover managerial communication, team-building, conflict management and performance management.
We thank again all those you have donated towards our work and given us support. This is very generous and is greatly appreciated.
The last months have been busy.
Mama Sandi continues to give weekly training sessions for primary school teachers in order to help the teachers increase their knowledge and confidence. The Whole School Development Programme is extending to two more primary schools, Mengeni and Sembeti and Mama Mkure who is the co-ordinator of a nearby teachers' resource centre is to lead the work in these two school.
Jane Firth returned on 2nd October to give assistance to teachers of pre-primary schools and those of the first year of primary school. Again, her emphasis was on basic number work so that the children understand 'number correspondence', 'number bonds' and 'place value'. The teachers were introduced to many activities, including the use of number squares - or 100 squares - and dominoes, and the use of bottle top and kidney beans for counting, and bundles of cut-up drinking straws for the understanding of units and tens and their place value. They also worked on story-telling for the young children.
In August Dr Anne Samson, Dilly Mtui and Katy Allen attended the 6th Pan African Reading for All Conference held at the University of Dar es Salaam. They gave a colloquium on the work of the Whole Schoool Development Programme and the plans to introduce material for the teaching of English as a foreign language. The latter gave rise to significant interest and at the end of the presentation members of the audience flocked to the front desk to learn more about the availability of the material.
Katy Allen met both the Permanent Secretary and the Minister for Education at the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training in Dar es Salaam to discuss the plans for those English materials. In September Katy wrote and submitted a Concept Paper and it is expected that the plans will progress for the material to be introduced in the primary schools in January 2011.
Plans are in place for another workshop to be held for District Education Officers and Chief Inspectors for each of the seven districts that comprise the Kilimanjaro Region. Negotiations are progressing with the Business School of the University of Dar es Salaam for them to facilitate training in communcation and management. If all goes well the workshop will be held for three days in early February 2010.
Please see the attached document for photographs of our latest work.
Thank you again to all our donors for the invaluable support to our work. This is helping us to achieve our goals of dealing with all strands of the primary education system. We are working at the grass roots to find out the real problems, their causes and to try to solve them, and then we are liaising at District level and now at Ministerial level to influence some changes. There is still much to be done - slowly but surely we are improving the quality of primary education. Thank you all again and we are very happy to hear your views or to deal with any questions.
2010 has started well, and the next few weeks are set to be busy. We are pleased to announce that George Kasenga has joined the Whole School Development Programme. George has many years of experience as a tutor at government teacher-training colleges, and has worked with a large NGO for the past five years on a similar programme providing in-service training and support to government primary schools. George is now the WSD programme's Tanzanian manager.
Mama Mkure is working with the teachers in Mengeni and Sembeti primary schools, and Mama Sandi is continuing with Masia Marangu and Masia Mamba primary schools. George is now working with them and getting to know all the teachers, headteachers and school committee members.
Dr Anne Samson returns in mid-February for another visit to assess and plan. Anne will meet George and they will be planning for the next stages of the programme. George is very keen to develop training for the headteachers, and our work with school committee members is scheduled to continue.
Jane Firth arrives again at the beginning of March. Before her arrival George is accompanying Mr Temba (of Singa Chini Teachers Training College) and a school inspector for several days to visit most of the pre-primary schools whose teachers attended Jane's training workshops. They want to see how the teachers are getting on, and to assess what support they need. Jane will also visit as many as she can when she is here. Jane will also visit the teachers of Standard I (first year of primary) whom she assisted in her workshops last October. Jane will run another workshop, with Mr Temba, this time for teachers of Standard II, again developing the teaching of basic mathematics.
Suzanne Al Kaddah has just completed a short assignment. Suzanne is a trainer of primary school teachers and specialises in English as a foreign language. Suzanne met teachers in the programme's four main primary schools. In each school she gave help with difficult topics encountered in the English syllabus. Suzanne hopes to return but finding suitable dates to fit her college schedule in Abu Dhabi and the Tanzanian primary school term dates is a problem. However, Suzanne is on-hand to assist with developing some explanatory materials to help the teachers.
Katy Allen chaired a committee of six members in Dar es Salaam in January. The committee was formed at the request of the Minister for Education, and through the Tanzanian Institute of Education. The committee sat for three days with a brief to discuss and assess materials for the teaching of English in government primary schools. A report was submitted at the end of the three days to the Minister, recommending a new language awareness course for pupils in Standards I and II, and the reintroduction of a very thorough, detailed course for use in Standards III to VII.
In mid-February we are very much looking forward to a visit from the CEO of GlobalGiving UK. Sharath Jeevan plans to visit on 17th February to see the projects and some of the work that VEPK is undertaking and to meet those involved.
Many thanks again to all of you who are donating towards our work. Your generosity is very much appreciated and it is enabling us slowly to improve the primary education for Tanzania's children.
Thank you for all the donations received during the April challenge; we were so successful we came second and won an additional £500 from Global Giving.
We have recently held a three-day training workshop for pre-primary Teachers from 19 schools in Kilimanjaro. Pre- primary teachers are essential as they teach 5- and 6-year olds the basics in maths, Swahili and English.
Jane Firth, a specialist pre-primary teacher/trainer from the UK, taught the teachers new techniques in:
· a practical multi-sensory approach to learning numbers up to 10, and the establishment of number bonds, · the mechanics of learning to write and the preliminary stages that pupils should go through. The most important development for teachers was learning that letters should be taught in ‘families’ and not straight through from A to Z.
Jane also showed the teachers how to make teaching aids from materials found in Tanzania. The teachers transformed old cardboard boxes, corn cobs, beans and plastic bottles into counting games, literacy aids and finger- puppets. Each teacher left with a box of materials to introduce into the schools the following week.
Jane will return to Tanzania in July to work with individual teachers to help them how further to apply their new skills in the classroom.
As well as the pre-primary workshop, we are continuing to run weekly teacher- training sessions in three primary schools and we are planning a number of seminars with other primary schools. The present focus is on the teaching of English.