The transition to secondary school is difficult for any child, but particularly in Tanzania, when they suddenly are supposed to start learning in English. From having a few teachers speaking Swahili to many new subjects in a new language this is a big challenge. Many students struggle to understand their teachers and start to drop behind and lose interest.
Therefore we were delighted to receive a grant from the Eddie Byers Fund to enable us to support four rural government secondary schools start pre-form English programmes. These recruit standard seven primary leavers when they finish in September and allow them to attend induction classes in their new secondary school for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week for 3 months. There, not only do they learn English ready to access the secondary curriculum, they also get to meet their new teachers, fellow students and generally find their way around.
The 4 schools involved last year reported that the scheme resulted in much more confident, high achieving pupils in form 1 and few drop outs, particularly amongst girls. Grace, a form 1 student at Ikondo said "in primary school I found English very difficult and was shy to speak it, but after these classes I am much more confident about answering questions in class and like school much more".
We were extremely grateful to receive an additional £2500 this year to fund the project in 4 schools again this year.