Education is not the solution to poverty, but it is the best tool we have to fight it.
If we can help to give the children of Babati the education they deserve, then we can set them on the road to the improving their lives and the lives of the people in the community where they live. We cannot do this alone though and need your help, if you can help us by making a donation, please click HERE.
In 2002 the Tanzanian Government adopted the United Nations Charter for Free Primary Education for All. This was a great step forward; primary education became compulsory throughout the country. However this lead to a tidal wave of children arriving at the existing schools only to find a lack of classrooms, teachers, desks, books and other teaching materials. The Government were unable to meet the huge demands and delegated responsibility to the community to build classrooms and teachers houses while the Government set about increasing the supply of teachers. Poor quality classrooms, limited accommodation and fast-track teachers was the result.
Free Primary Education is a misnomer; it is in fact not free. The households are required to contribute towards building materials, building maintenance, the school chef, school meals, a security guard, exam fees, paper and pens. This has placed an economic cost on each of the households that previously never existed and for some households it is a cost they can ill afford. Failure to make the contributions leads to arrest, so some parents have felt forced “run-away”.
When the Livingstone Tanzania Trust arrived in Babati in November 2006, pretty much all the schools were in a poor state of repair, so we started with the worst and our desire is to improve each of them when funds become available.
By 2009, that first wave of children were taking their exams and seeking to go on to secondary education; but there simply were not enough classrooms to accommodate them all. Sadly even some of those students who passed their exams were denied access and had to stop their education. Secondary school education is not free and many households struggle to find the money to pay for one child let alone 5 or 6 children. Families when faced with this problem tended to select the male children over the female.
Secondary and all further education is taught in English. For those students whose primary school teachers could hardly speak English this put them at a huge disadvantage and the students unsurprisingly struggled and some subsequently dropped out of school. There are valid points on both sides of the argument for having English as the medium of instruction, but while it remains in place the LTT aims to improve the knowledge and ability to teach English of primary school teachers and to motivate their students to speak as much English as possible.
While the Government is trying to address the needs of the secondary schools, the lack of funds makes progress very slow, many communities lack the basic resources like kitchens, suitable toilets, books, teaching aids, science labs, or computers. LTT wants to be able to help secondary schools develop so that the students can get an education that gives them a chance when competing with students from other towns, cities and countries.
Please take some time and look at the pages in this section to see the work we are doing and how with your help we can give the young people in the community the skills to improve their life prospects.