Thursday, June 27, 2013

Quote of the Day:   “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela

In Tanzania, Kiswahili is the first national language and English is the second.  Only about 20% of the people speak English but it is required of all government officials, doctors, teachers, and civic leaders.  Few elementary teachers speak it, yet they are required to teach it.  In order to move from elementary education to secondary education you have to pass a test in English.  You must do the same to move from secondary to university, yet few have the ability to do it.  This is the reason that Karen has been teaching English to primary students since we first came here eight years ago.  The picture on the right is of the graduates of her class in 2011.  This year they all took the national English test to move up to secondary education.  Every single student passed the test with flying colors.  Some may become doctors, others politicians, some nurses, one boy wants to be a pilot--and he can if he knows English.  This is why we have a two-year waiting class for Karen's school.  She doesn't teach it on a daily basis any more, but she has trained several teachers, some who have moved on to better teaching positions.  Her class doesn't just benefit the students here but the teachers who learn her techniques for teaching (without beating the students among other things).  The teachers college send their students here to learn as well.  It is a small class with seldom over 20 students at a time, but she and her teachers have taught almost 200 students and two dozen teachers.  It doesn't seem like much on a daily basis, but it has the potential for changing the face of Tanzania not to mention what it does for the students who all pass their English tests and get to continue their education.  Well done, Karen.  I am so very proud of youl

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