Since 2001, the idea of and plans for a school at our project site in Tanzania has been simmering on the back burner. It is with great joy that we can now introduce “Our School” !!!
The school is operated by Vijaliwa Vingi Society (VVS), which has a formal and continuing partnership with CanaDares Society, and is named simply that: Vijaliwa Vingi School
For over a decade, the children of our residential program have attended government schools, first primary and then secondary. The project supported the schools as do parents: participation in the community meetings, payment of fees, sharing of ideas and also the donation of fresh water delivery to the primary school for a number of years as it was needed.
The time was finally right to begin our own school.
A new and innovative approach: VVS’ commitment is to grow the school, grade by grade and year by year, up to Grade 6. The school will follow the Tanzanian government mandated primary school curriculum and students will write the government examinations at the end of Grades 4 and 6.
Here's the catch: government schools in Tanzania provide instruction in Swahili in primary school, and English in secondary school. We have learned by experience that students have problems with the transition from one to the other.
To overcome this barrier, this new school will provide all instruction (in all classes and all subjects) in both English and Swahili. This serves two objectives: to develop students’ equal facility in Swahili and English in each subject; and to reinforce knowledge of the subject matter.
This makes VVS’ approach to bilingual education an innovation in Tanzania.
Most significant is the school’s objective: that children should enjoy learning. We expect that the enthusiasm already demonstrated by children in VVS’ pre-primary classes will be carried through all grades. And unlike many Tanzanian schools, VVS will use a ‘positive discipline’ approach, not corporal punishment. No caning.
Growing the school: VVS expects that its school will remain a small one, even as it is built grade by grade. Each grade will have a single class, limited to 35 students, with two teachers per class. Further details are in the Draft Business plan.
During November and December, 2017, the first classroom building was constructed, exceeding Tanzanian government standards, and financed mainly by donor contributions from Canada. It was ready for the start of the Tanzanian school year, in January. A full size school bus has been donated, which will enable children from throughout the area to attend.
Unlike most private schools in Tanzania, the school is not operated for profit, though it is expected that fees will cover operating, boarding, and transportation expenses. (Some other income is derived from VVS product sales, such as eggs from a sizable flock of chickens.) However, donations are sought for the construction of more classrooms, school buildings and boarding facilities, over the next few years.