In Lower Moshi there are more than 60 government and private pre-primary, primary and secondary schools, serving an estimated population of 15,000 children of school-going age (5 to 18).
All schools in Lower Moshi face similar challenges, while not to the same extent, it generally holds true that schools face the following issues:
- High absenteeism among students (including missing full and partial days)
- Lack of reliable transport
- High drop-out rates
- Low progression rates (primary to secondary)
- Shortage of teachers
- Low morale / motivation among teachers
- Frequent changes in staffing (relocation of teachers)
- Limited opportunity for continuous education for teachers
- Shortage of study and teaching materials, class room furniture
- Poor / Limited sanitary facilities
- Shortage of class rooms
- Parents who see little value in education
- Poor staff housing
- Other general truths are that private, typically faith-based, schools are in better condition than government schools; this is generally true across all the issues highlighted here. Furthermore, girls face additional or more severe challenges than boys. For instance, lack of sanitation affects both boys and girls, but especially for menstruating girls the lack of proper sanitary facilities at school will easily lead to extended periods of absence from school and/or illness. In addition, the personal and physical safety of girls as they travel back and forth between home and school is a concern, as are unwanted pregnancies in young girls.
On April 14 2012, FTK hosted its first regional, Lower Moshi, education meeting. In attendance were representatives from many primary and secondary schools in the area, Ward and District level officials as well as representatives from TPC and FTK. All participants signed a resolution following the one-day meeting in which all committed to work jointly to strengthen education in Lower Moshi. The meeting identified the following areas that require strengthening:
- Provision of continuous education for teachers, using – and where necessary, upgrading – the existing Teachers Resource Centers (TRCs);
- The retention of teachers and the ratio of teachers to students;
- The quality of education, including the use of more diverse teaching approaches like experiential learning to encourage curiosity, practical learning and innovative thinking;
- Link with other sectors like health, infrastructure, income generation, community participation, in particular the importance of sanitation was highlighted;
- Physical accessibility of school, through improved transport for students from home to school and back.
The education meeting proved important to create a shared understanding of the challenges, and to create a common platform from which to start addressing the challenges. FTK will continue to use the signed resolution as a reference and reminder to all stakeholders of their commitment.
Increasing access and utilization of quality pre-primary, primary and secondary education and developing options for vocational and adult education.