We’re delighted that Zanzibar Schools Project has 3 experienced volunteers who’re generating lots of momentum now that the Ramadan is over. Kristina will be at ZSP for the next 6 months, which provides fantastic continuity in the important lead up to the public exams for the 12 and 13 year old students in Standard VI. Kristina’s a Danish student studying for a bachelor degree in Social and Special Education. She’s previously worked in Mwanza, so appreciates Tanzanian culture, but she can see how different Zanzibar is due to the predominantly Muslim culture. She’s enjoying getting to grips with the ability of the kids and how to motivate the teachers to believe that they can succeed.
Recently Kristina ran a repeat English test on the new intake of 126 Standard VI students. We ran the tests for the first time in March to get a baseline on the new intake. The results are encouraging – on average the top group increased their scores by 40%. But even more exciting is that the lowest group increased their scores by 30%. It’s particularly rewarding to see one girl increasing from scoring 0 to 33%! Maths was also tested but sadly the students are scoring on average 7%. We are trying to think of ways to improve this – possibly by employing a specialist local maths teacher.
The three month review also showed the link between achievement and attendance. There is a group of 30 students who are showing no improvement and frequent absence. Individual discussions are being held with this children to find out why they have poor attendance. They’re being put into a remedial class with Sadiq (our best local teacher) to motivate them to see that they can improve too. If not, they won’t be able to stay in Safari English Club. Everyone is told that lunch and tuition is provided ONLY in return for effort and attendance. This may seem a bit harsh to First World readers, but it’s important not to create a “dependency culture” when free lunches are provided with “no strings attached”.
Jack and Lucie are British volunteers who’re taking time out from their working lives to travel around Africa. They’ve been planning this trip for a long time and before leaving home they studied for CELTA English language teaching qualifications. Jack’s going to be particularly popular with the boys as he has a football training qualification and the boys are fluent in the international language of sport! Jack’s worked on volunteer projects with kids in West Africa and most recently was working in London as a Family Sustainment Officer working to prevent homelessness and sustain families across Westminster. Lucie has been working with children, young people and at some points their families for the past 9 years, ranging between the ages of 2-16. She’s interested in the arts, enjoys dance and is looking forward to sharing her enthusiasms with the children in Unguja Ukuu.
Lucie and Kristina are working on plans for the advanced class…they’re planning on running a course on independent study and life skills with a view to developing the course to cover topics such as having a healthy mind, relationships and conflict resolution. Jack is planning a “getting to know you” session for Standard V. He’s taking over this class from Sadiq who’s going to be working with the students from Standard VI who need a bit more motivation and help with basic English language skills.
I couldn’t resist putting in this photo of Feroz with the President Ali Shein, the 7th President of Zanzibar – he was visiting London recently and found time for tea with Feroz. Dr Shein was a student at Lumumba school in Zanzibar, the school that one of Safari English Club’s students joined in February.