Since 1988, the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales has been creating links with Mara in Tanzania. Mara is now split into three dioceses – Mara, Tarime and Rorya – and the church is linked with all three through their Talking Tanzania project.
We are very proud to be taking part in the education aspect of this project, forging links with Nyanza Primary School in Mara.
‘Elimu ni Ufunguo wa Maisha’ (Education is the Key to Life)
This Swahili proverb is on the lips of every student and every parent in Tanzania.
The school is located in Nyanza Village in Butiama District – all the children come from that village. Nyanza Primary School is very different to ours, as you can see in the images below, but we share a Christian faith and the belief that everyone has the right to a good education.
The children come from different ethnic groups and speak lots of different languages. When they are at school, however, they are taught in a language called Kiswahili and English is taught as a subject. Unlike our school, children stay there until they are 15 years old.
The school day starts at 7.00 am and finishes at 4.30 pm. Most pupils will walk to school, which for most of them is about a kilometre or so every day. No lunches or drinks are provided at the school but the children may bring something to eat if they can afford to – but this rarely happens.
Nyanza Primary School wanted to be part of the Talking Tanzania Project to help them exchange different educational experiences. They are keen to hear about the ways children are taught in our school and to share information about the life – the daily lives of pupils in our schools, what they like to do, their hobbies and talents. We hope this will help both sets of pupils to understand what it is like to be a pupil on the other side of the world.
Nyanza Primary School has 5 classrooms and 9 teachers. They have no teaching assistants or school caretakers, meaning that teachers and pupils look after the school environment – pupils are responsible for cleaning the school grounds, classes and also gardening.
Because the school doesn’t offer food during school hours, they split their day into two sessions: one session starts at 8.00am until 12.30pm, where the pupils break and go home for food. They return to school at 2.00pm where the second session starts and ends at 4.30pm. Most of the children stay at school during this break time as they find it too difficult to walk home and get back to school due to the distance involved.