Jess and Oswin outside the Hoja Teacher Training and Learning (TTL) Centre in 2017
The success of COCO’s Schools for Life programme has highlighted the need to spread such initiatives throughout Tanzania and the East African region. Whilst the exam results of members of the Schools for Life project have been impressive, these results do not extend to the many other schools in the area. An effective method of raising teaching standards across the board is through high quality teacher training, soon to be implemented at the Hoja Teacher Training and Learning (TTL) Centre, which is due to open next month. By training teachers, COCO can impact more broadly across the region to improve the quality of teaching and education, as well as making teachers aware of social issues that may constrain pupils in their development.
Common criticisms of education in Tanzania are high student to teacher ratios, a lack of skilled and motivated teachers and the absence of adequate resources. Furthermore, school-going children often do not achieve foundational learning outcomes such as literacy, numeracy and the development of key life skills, which determine future prosperity and life opportunities. Results from the 2014 primary school leaving examinations in mainland Tanzania revealed that only 8% of Grade 2 pupils (second year of secondary school) could read and complete basic arithmetic. Increasing the number of properly qualified and committed teachers can alleviate these issues.
Educational opportunities for marginalised groups, in particular girls, children living in under-served communities and disabled children are often undermined by social and cultural attitudes. These groups are most vulnerable to dropping out of school or never going at all. Whilst it is estimated that 7.9% of Tanzanians are living with a disability, less than 1% of children in pre-primary, primary and secondary school are disabled. Meanwhile, adolescent pregnancy led to almost 3,700 girls dropping out of primary and secondary education in 2016.
Consequently, we are working towards ensuring that all of our partner Schools for Life are equipped with partitioned dormitories and facilities for disabled children to attend school. COCO is working alongside the Hoja Project to make its qualified teachers aware of these issues, so they can educate pupils and parents about the importance of universal education.
Hoja are COCO’s main implementation partner in Tanzania. In 2018, they received recognition from the Tanzanian government in light of their contribution to development in the Ruvuma region:
"Hoja Project is one of only a few private institutions that have been recognised for their great contribution to the development of the region, in various areas, from education and social health to sustainable agriculture."
Oswin Mahundi is the East Africa Partnerships Coordinator and founder and director of the Hoja project, Tanzania. Oswin had faced many difficulties in accessing education during his youth and was keen to prevent other young people growing up in Tanzania from facing the same difficulties.
The Hoja TTL Centre is the next initiative to spread the success of the Hoja Project over a wider horizon. As well as addressing the lack of qualified school teachers, the Hoja TTL Centre aims to focus on the education gap between secondary school and higher education. To access top jobs and university courses, students have to complete a final 2 years of education, in a similar manner to sixth form in the UK. This education is difficult to come by; of 269 secondary schools in Ruvuma, only 12 offer further education. This crippling lack of higher education hits the poorest students hardest, as places are competitive and thus expensive. Hoja TTL Centre will give students from economically deprived backgrounds the opportunity to gain higher educational opportunities and access to top jobs that can lift themselves and the rest of their families out of poverty.
At full capacity, Hoja TTL will enrol students for the following qualifications each year:
- 35 in Business Administration
- 35 in Community Development
- 20 in Sustainable Agriculture
- 80 in Form 5 for further education that can lead onto university
- 10 in Nursing
- 20 in Secretary
- 55 in Teaching Certificate
- 22 in Teaching Diploma
The total reach of the project will extend much further than the 277 yearly students. At full capacity, the centre will have 27 staff and has already begun to stimulate the local economy with residents preparing new businesses such as shops and rental homes. Teacher training takes two years and every year 110 students will graduate from Hoja TTL Centre. If each of those trained teachers works in a class of 40 children, 4,400 children would immediately benefit.
To ensure sustainability of the Teacher Training Centre, COCO has developed a food farm to feed students and raise extra income. This has included selling chickens, maize, milk, guinea pigs and rabbits, enabling the centre to become financially independent.
Income generation techniques have funded the installation of a water supply, construction of a fence around the Centre and teaching of bio-intensive agriculture so students can spread the message of sustainable agricultural training when they become fully qualified teachers!
You can read more about Hoja Teacher Training and Learning Centre and its total outreach here.
Donate now to help us increase the number of children who have access to our Schools for Life programme or contact [email protected] if you would like to support the Hoja Teacher Training and Learning Centre!