After primary school, students who were successful on the national examination will enter four years of study at the Ordinary Level (or O-level) of secondary school. Students who scored highly on the national exam are often placed at high-quality boarding schools which may be located anywhere through out Tanzania and are often quite far away from their home villages. Students who score lower on the exam are usually placed locally at one fo the four day secondary schools near Nyamuswa.
In secondary school, the school year continues to run from January through December. Each year at the annual Distribution Day in mid-January, the basic supplies that the primary school students receive are augmented with some additional supplies required in secondary school.
Each secondary student receives:
- 2 sets of the school uniform
- 2 pairs of shoes and socks
- 2 sets of athletic wear for physical education class
- the required set of textbooks for their program of study
- school supplies such as notebooks, pens, pencils, dictionaries, etc.
- a backpack
- payment of applicable school and examination fees
- a solar lantern for evening study
- menstrual protection kit for girls
- payment of room and board expenses (if student is selected to boarding school)
- transportation and pocket money allowance (if student is selected to boarding school)
Ordinary Levels (O-levels)
All secondary school students begin their secondary schooling with four years of study at the O-level. Students must choose a program of study to pursue in the arts or in the sciences. The language of instruction also changes from the Swahili used in primary school to instruction exclusively in English. This poses a significant challenge to PROJECTZAWADI students because the quality of English instruction is often quite poor at the primary level leaving students inadequately prepared in this area for secondary school. To begin to address this issue, in 2013 PROJECTZAWADI began to support an English-language intensive workshop for students continuing on to secondary school. Future plans include extension and expansion of this program to include more students and primary school teachers at cooperating schools.
PROJECTZAWADI maintains the system of Guardian Teacher and Counselor support for students who are studying at one of the four local day secondary schools that partner with Zinduka and PROJECTZAWADI. Students continue to benefit from regular meetings with Guardian Teachers and Counselors and the mentorship and support they provide.
Students at boarding schools face additional challenges. Due to the number of different institutions throughout Tanzania that PROJECTZAWADI students have been placed at over the years, it is not possible to provide a Guardian Teacher. Boarding school students still do meet with Counselors for mentorship and support when they return home for school breaks and they are provided with the Counselor’s contact information in case a situation arises at their boarding school for which the Counselor’s assistance is needed.
At the end of four years of study at the O-level, students again face a rigorous national examination. For students who fail this examination, their academic careers have come to an end. Some students at this point choose to enter directly into the workforce. The majority of students though wish to continue to pursue their educations with advanced studies in high level vocational, teacher training or clinical officer training programs. PROJECTZAWADI works with them to identify a suitable program which will provide advanced training and the attainment of life skills which enable them to become self-reliant. Those students who succeed at the national examination will continue on for an addition two years of secondary school.
Advanced Levels (A-levels)
Advanced levels are a two-year continuation of the programs of study the student began in their O-level courses. Because there are no A-level secondary schools in the Nyamuswa area, all PROJECTZAWADI students studying at the A-level are placed at boarding schools which may be located some distance from the student’s home village.
A-level students check-in with Counselors for mentorship and support when they return home for school breaks. The Counselor’s are also available to them if a situation arises at their boarding school for which the Counselor’s assistance is needed.
At the end of two years of study at the A-levels, students again face a final rigorous national examination. For students who fail this examination, their academic careers have come to an end. Many students choose to go directly into the work force at this point, but for students who wish to continue to pursue their education, PROJECTZAWADI supports their pursuit of advanced studies in a high level vocational, teacher training, or clinical officer training program. Those students who succeed at the national examination will continue on to University.