The So They Can Trainee Teacher Practice Project introduces the Trainee Teachers to, and gives them the exposure into, the experiences of the real teaching world. It also provides student teachers with the opportunity to integrate the theory of education with that which they are experiencing first hand. Trainee Teachers who participate in teaching practice early in their period of study build confidence and competence in lesson preparation, which translates back to their own study. A flow on benefit in the skill development of the teachers in the program schools. The presence of the Trainee Teachers provides an in service training opportunity for the existing teachers who are exposed to new teaching methodology and practices.
Director Mike Coward visited Tanzania recently and witnessed the impact of the Trust’s partnership with another Australian NGO, So They Can. He writes:
This was an opportunity for teachers, pupils and visitors to do the math together. And the result was unsettling.
We were standing in a bare courtyard outside a classroom at Kwaraa school near Babati endeavouring to establish the approximate class size if the LBW Trust’s three graduate teachers were not on staff.
In the end, head teacher, Henry Mwanga, conceded that without the Trust, 74 to 80 pupils would cram into the brick classrooms which are waiting endlessly for windows to keep out the dust and insects being carried on a warm wind.
Over a delicious chai spiced with cardamom the three young teachers – Daudi Msenti, Rashid Ndoile, and Patrice Mushi - spoke of their hopes and confessed their fears at standing in front of scores of excitable kids with so few teaching aids at their disposal.
Along with Venance Lagwen and Ellias Lukas at the school in the progressive sub-village of Sora, they are at the front line of an exciting initiative to significantly improve the quality of primary education in the region south of the city of Arusha in the north of the country.
The LBW Trust has pooled resources with another Australian NGO, So They Can, to fast-track the first graduates from the Mamire Teachers’ College which was founded just three years ago.
Rather than biding their time until the Tanzanian government announces their school placements as per a Memorandum of Understanding with So They Can, the graduates can work immediately in the school system and hone their skills.
Furthermore, their immediate availability eases the burden on existing staff and improves the quality of lesson preparations and delivery.
The LBW Trust is paying the salary of 23 of the first graduates and is optimistic its association with So They Can will ultimately see a significant rise in the number of children make the transition to secondary school and so break the poverty cycle. Given the overwhelming number of children in the region it was patently obvious that the education of teachers is as critical as the education of the students.
Tanzania is the 10th cricket country in the Developing World where the LBW Trust has established a powerful presence.
Given that Tanzania has been an associate member of the International Cricket Council since 2001 it was inevitable the Trust would learn of the admirable work being undertaken by So They Can.
The LBW Trust is also prominent across the border in Kenya - through its association with Dr Kakenya Ntaiya at the Kakenya Centre for Excellence – which with Uganda and then Tanganyika (now Tanzania) at one time formed the East African Cricket Conference which competed at the inaugural World Cup in 1975.
While the Tanzania Cricket Association stages club matches and the Massai Warriors will play an occasional game for charity, cricket has little profile in the vast country these days. That said, it is worth remembering it was first played on the island of Zanzibar in 1890.