Tanzania was created in 1964 through the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Tanzania covers 945,203 square kilometers – it is 31x bigger than Belgium and has a population of 40 million. It is among the 4 most naturally diverse countries on earth; with 30% of its natural habit protected. It has over 320 types of mammals, over 1200 kinds of birds and over 10,000 plant species.
Tanzania remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The United Nations Development Programme ‘s (UNDP) human development index (HDI) listings, which arranges countries according to their overall level of human development, ranks Tanzania 156th out of a total of 174 nations. The 18th poorest country in the world! It receives over $1 billion annually in aid. The average salary is $60 – $80 a month but a third of the population subsists on under a dollar a day. It is very ethnically diverse with 128 officially recognized tribes. Its national language is Kiswahili.
Education in Tanzania
The structure of the Formal Education and Training System in Tanzania constitutes 2 years of pre-primary education, 7 years of primary education, 4 years of Junior Secondary (ordinary Level), 2 years of Senior Secondary (Advanced Level) and up to 3 or more years of Tertiary Education. Specifically, the education system has three levels, namely: Basic, Secondary and Tertiary Levels.
Basic or first level education includes pre-primary, primary and non-formal adult education. Secondary or second level education has Ordinary and Advanced level of secondary schooling while Tertiary or third level includes programmes and courses offered by non-higher and higher education institutions
Medium of Instruction
The main feature of Tanzania’s education system is the bilingual policy, which requires children to learn both Kiswahili and English. English is taught as compulsory subject in the primary education whereas at post primary education it is the medium of instruction. With regard to the Kiswahili, it is the medium of instruction at primary education while at tertiary education is taught as compulsory subject at secondary education and as option at tertiary education.
In Tanzania, primary school covers Standards one to seven and the legal age of entry to primary school is seven years. There are 194 school days per year. Each day a pupil should receive between three and four hours of lessons .At the end of Standard V11 pupils sit for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). The examination acts as a selection examination for entry into secondary school. In 2009, 49.41% of the students who sat for the National Standard Seven Exams received pass marks. All classes are conducted in Kiswahili in Standards One to Seven, but thereafter all instruction switches over to English. This is a brutal transition for students who have not mastered English.
Baraa Primary School
The Baraa Primary School (BPS) is a government school that has approximately 1450 students. The school teaches the students from age four through fifteen in pre-school (Awali) through to Standard Seven. In 2010 BPS students in Standard Seven ranked 94th out of 96 schools in the Arusha District on a national exam. In 2011 BPS moved up to the 84th position.
In 2009 The iThemba Foundation, located in Belgium, selected BPS as a project site. Investments totalling 400,000 €, to date, have paid for the renovation and addition of the school’s classrooms, a new food preparation facility, new latrines, and teacher salaries. The improvements have taken BPS from the widely acknowledged worst school campus in the Arusha District to the finest.
The iThemba Foundation also sponsored on-going training for teachers in English reading, writing, and conversation skills and basic computer skills.
All of the students at BPS walk to the school. The BPS campus now consists of 24 classrooms, a garden, two playing fields, a kitchen with 3 large capacity cookers, and latrines for both teachers and students. Thanks to iThemba Foundation the school has a well-stocked library and a computer laboratory. The iThemba Foundation also sponsors a librarian, a computer technician and a sports teacher. Baraa Primary School runs computer lessons, book clubs and sports sessions for its pupils.
We are now started with a medical health program : vaccination. Once a year qualified physicians come to the school and perform bloodtests, dental check-up, general check-up,…
iThemba also supports a school in South Africa by paying the schoolbuses (fuel, tires, maintenance,…)