Feb 8, 2010

October Update

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.

Feb 8, 2010

Whole School Development Programme

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.

May 11, 2009

Thank you!

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.

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