Community Engagement in Reading Zanzibar

Introduction

The TZ21 Basic Education Program in Zanzibar serves 248 public primary schools. 100 of those schools are located in Pemba, and 148 of those schools are located on Unguja Island. Mkunazini Primary School is one of the schools that will receive TZ21’s “BridgeIT” intervention. It is located in the heart of historical Stone Town. The school has 483 pupils (250 male, 233 female), including 28 children in preschool and 206 pupils in Standards I – IV.

TZ 21 Interventions at Mkunazini Primary School

In order to improve the teaching and learning at the school, the project has collaborated with the school since the year 2011. The school administration and school committees have been prompt and receptive to the program. The school management committee, having noted how the project supports the improvement of education, has strongly supported the project. During April 2012, the committee managed to reach all parents of students in Standards I – IV and mobilized them to improve the reading rooms and computer lab. The parents and guardians agreed to each contribute Tshs 10,000 while mapping for key stakeholders was carried out, and later identified that PBZ (Peoples Bank of Zanzibar), CRDB (Cooperative and Rural Development Bank), TUKI Group, and ZIC (Zanzibar Insurance Cooperation) could also support them.

As a result parents were able to contribute Tshs 1,007,000.00 while PBZ contributed Tshs 1,200,000, CRDB contributed Tshs 100,000.00, TUKI contributed Tshs 300,000.00 and ZIC contributed Tshs 300,000.00.

The money collected was used to renovate the classroom and school library.

‘…………. We are really motivated  by TZ21’s interventions for our school. This has being an impetus to us , seeing yourself as among the focus schools by the project. Some other schools are daily coming to us for learning on…’ said Mr Jabir Hamza – School Committee Chairman

The school chairperson for Mkunazini, Mr. Jabir Hamza, commented on the program. The support rendered by TZ21 is a catalyst that has consistently lead the school leadership to undertake routine searches and identify challenges and the best courses to address them. He is having and enjoying good participation from parents and the community. He highly acknowledged that transparency has made an easy working environment for him.

Reading Program: TZ21 for Teacher Professional Development

TZ21 has intensively supported the training to over 1200 primary school teachers in standard one and two. After the rollout training, the Commissioner for Education Zanzibar asked all teachers of the project school to start teaching by using the new TZ21 methods. Since then teachers of Mkunazini Primary School have been doing so.

Joyce John Mwakanjuki is the school head teacher at Mkunazini School, and is now teaching with the TZ21 methods. The higher-grade pupils from Standard IV come to Standard I and Standard II pupils and read stories to them. On 17th May 2013, Mkunazini Primary School launched a story telling/reading program, where students from higher classes will tell/read story books to lower class students.

According to the School Management Committee Chairperson, Mr. Jabir Hamza, he has personally been visiting and spot-checking the Standard I & II teachers while teaching in classrooms. His aim is to see if they use the new methods in reading and to assess the extent to which reading and instructional materials are used. Mr. Jabir has also motivated some community members including the Mkunazini Ward Councilor, Mr. Nassor Amin, and the Minister in the First Vice President’s Office Environment, Ms. Fatma Fereji, to visit and support school development.

The priority now is to design reading festivals which will engage many other community members with the school’s reading programs.