Tuleeni Academy

Education in Tanzania

In 2001, the Tanzanian government eradicated primary school tuition fees as part of their move towards the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education. As a result, enrollment skyrocketed and the drastic increase in the quantity of students caused an appalling decrease in the quality of education and learning environment—most schools only have one classroom for the entire grade to cram into (usually a minimum of 50 students and only 1 teacher), with only a few desks and one book for every 5-10 students.

IMG_8172

Tanzanian children are struggling to learn anything at all in these schools and over 20% of them drop out before they complete their primary school education. When looking at the youngest grades in the school, there is a commonality amongst the students who are excelling in their studies. The students’ success seems to be reliant upon their academic readiness prior to entering primary class 1.

Academic readiness can be achieved through a variety of different outlets, the most important being parental involvement and early childhood education. Unfortunately, the government does NOT sponsor pre-school and the financial demand is too great for more than half of the country, making academic readiness often completely unattainable to the children who need it most.

Research has shown that pre-primary schooling not only helps children develop linguistic, cognitive, behavioral and fine motor skills but also establishes the academic foundation they need to perform well in school.

The combination of these poor educational circumstances led to catastrophic results on The National Primary School Leaving Exam in 2013 where 49.6% of students scored below 40%. Failure to pass this exam often results in the end of a child’s academic career. In 2013, only one third of students who completed primary school went on to receive a secondary school education.

Neema International’s Goal

In 2011, Neema Int’l began funding the Tuleeni Orphanage Extension Project in Kitandu Village, Uru (about a fifteen minute drive from the current orphanage) with the plan of building a new two story home for Mama Faraji (Founder of the Tuleeni Orphans’ Home) and the Tuleeni children that would also serve as an educational center for the village.

IMG_0621

Education is the driving force and motivation behind Neema International’s work so we wanted to make sure the center focused enough on educating the specific age group that needed it the most, the young children. Kitandu is home to nearly 7000 people and similar to most rural/remote villages, poverty is very wide spread and the accessibility to schooling is atrocious-—this results in far too many children sitting in the street ignored and neglected instead of learning in a classroom– especially those under the age of 7.

Getting an education AND having someone look out for you shouldn’t be dependent on the socio-economic status of the family that you were born into. It should be a child’s right to learn and play and get the chance to write their own story instead of falling into the cycle of poverty that came before them.

By taking the most vulnerable children and putting them in THIS school we are breaking the cycle. The students at The Academy will not only get a quality education, but will also receive the proper nutrition, healthcare, and the emotional/social support they need. This school will serve as a safe place to learn and play during the day as well as a lifeline to safety in their homes with our bi-monthly home visits to each and every child’s house. Tuleeni Academy is a sponsorship school, meaning that all students who attend the school will attend for free because they will each be matched with an outside sponsor. The sponsorship price is $1200 which will supply this child with a full year of food, clothing, medical care, and most importantly, a top notch education at The Academy where we are able to employ over 35 local individuals from Uru to help empower their own children and community.

The school has started off small, with a total of 50 students max and a student to teacher ratio of 5-students to one teacher—this will help ensure the quality of education that is being delivered as well as the success of the students.

DSC_0316

The Academy has a strict no corporal punishment policy and instead use “time out” for discipline as well as “sticker charts” for positive reinforcement behavior management. All our staff members are locals and have attended a variety of different teachers’ colleges around the nation.

Neema International plans to purchase a new plot of land so we can expand the pre-primary school and also add on a Primary School as well in upcoming years. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for a child at The Academy, contact us at info@neemainternational.org