Education East Africa
Education East Africa started its work in 1994, and it started in Tanzania.
To learn of the great journey that this charity has taken please take a look at ‘Katy’s Story’ https://www.educationeastafrica.org/library/.
For a summary of our work in primary education in Tanzania please see the very end of this section.
The charity’s work has now expanded into Rwanda. In Tanzania we continue our work with vocational training.
Motor Mechanics Training Centre (MMTC)
The MMTC is providing training to young people to learn vocational skills in motor mechanics as well as welding, electrics, body work and paint-spraying. It is a unique centre in the area, and is equipping students with the skills needed for employment or self-employment. Motor mechanics is an expanding area of employment as more new vehicles enter the country, and the old ones keep going.
The MMTC is at Njia Panda, in Moshi Rural District in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. Njia Panda is a busy area, and the MMTC is very near the main road from Himo to Moshi, making it accessible to students and teachers from near and far.
The centre also has a storied-block of classrooms and an office which is being completed. Entrepreneurial-minded instructors will be encouraged to share their expertise here.
There is a small-holding where the students can grow maize, red kidney beans and vegetables for their own consumption as well as for sale. We have also dug and built nine water storage wells so that there is water in this very hot and dry area.
Why is the MMTC needed?
Some Tanzanian children have no chance of continuing their education beyond primary school at age 14. Of those who attend secondary school the majority are now leaving after four years with Division Four which is so low that employment is an unrealistic hope.
The poor condition of all Tanzanian roads, other than the main highways, exposes vehicles to damage and premature wear. There is a strong demand for qualified mechanics throughout the country and Education East Africa’s new Motor Mechanics Training Centre hopes to address this skills shortage.
The MMTC is assisting young Tanzanians to gain the training necessary to improve their life’s chances and to support themselves and their families; offering them every opportunity to realize their full potential.
“I have been with Education East Africa from its very beginnings in 1994, and I have seen how young people can be transformed when they have the discipline of training in something they enjoy. Many children have failed (or been failed) at school, but they can really make something of their lives when they have a worthwhile skill.”
Dilly Mtui, Co-ordinator of Programmes – Education East Africa
Dilly with construction work taking place at the MMTC in the background.
Historical context of our vocational training
Education East Africa was encouraged by villagers in the Kilimanjaro region to help provide some skills training, and so built a small, village Vocational Training School which opened in 1999. This school offered training in carpentry and masonry, tailoring, crafts and batik. The courses ran from one to three years, and at the end of their studies students sat the Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA) national examinations.
Education East Africa supported the running of the training school for many years, and it had always hoped that it would eventually be able to run without further donor support. It was at last handed over to the District Executive for Moshi Rural District, and is now run under his direction.
Our work in Tanzania’s primary education sector.
Although this charity no longer works in primary education in Tanzania, the great experience of working in an East African context for 22 years has been invaluable for our current work in Rwanda. The Whole School Development Programme which we ran in Tanzania for 22 years was successful because of Education East Africa’s long-term commitment and holistic approach.
Our work addressed all aspects of primary education by working with headteachers, teachers, school committees, parents, and the Education Authorities. Our Whole School Development Programme team was made up of local Tanzanian staff and Volunteer Education Professionals, who came to work with us from countries such as the UK and Australia.
Our work gained an excellent reputation and we worked in classrooms at a grassroots level to ensure we recognized what was not working, so we could then share this information with the Ministry of Education and other officials at the top, to ensure that those problems were recognized and our suggested solutions considered.
The ethos behind the Whole School Development Programme was that a school that has good teaching in the early years will have a solid foundation of good discipline, and children with enquiring minds who are keen to learn, and that a school that has confident, capable leaders will run efficiently with a healthy team-spirit and an ethos of striving for excellence. A good primary education gives a child the foundation for all future learning and shapes his or her life.
The Whole School Development Programme used mathematics books written by Jane Firth, a Professional Education Volunteer from the UK, and English books which included a Language Awareness course for the first two years of primary, written by Katy, and, from year 3 of primary, our New Original English Course (NOEC) books for teaching English as a foreign language.
In addition, a handbook was commissioned for school committee members to understand their roles and responsibilities, with comments on, and suggestions for, good practice.
We also held sessions with village parents on the importance of talking to their babies and young children, and how to stimulate their children before they start primary school.
In November 2013 Katy and Dilly met the then President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete. That meeting approved the NOEC books for use nationwide. The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education then worked to achieve that. However, all his attempts failed as too many people had financial interests in the lucrative school textbook market. At district level much of our work was being blocked by unworkable bureaucracy, and indeed work permits for our volunteer staff, and Katy herself, were becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. All of this made it untenable for donor money to continue to be used on this programme. That then precipitated our move to Rwanda, from which we have not looked back – see our section on Rwanda.