The language of instruction in Tanzania changes from Swahili, used in primary school, to exclusive use of English for instruction at secondary and higher levels. This poses a significant challenge to students because the quality of English instruction is often quite poor at the primary level and this is especially true for rural areas like Nyamuswa. Form 1 students find themselves in the position of being academically able to handle the subject matter, but unable to understand the lessons due to being inadequately prepared to learn in English.
Recognizing this, Project Zawadi began to support an intensive English Bridge program for sponsored students held in the two month gap between graduating from primary school and entering secondary school. This seven-week intensive course is held at several local schools with English teachers leading conversation and comprehension lessons designed to prepare students to better face the English language challenges and give them a leg-up for success in secondary school.
Last year, the English Bridge program served 200 students selected from a group of over 1,000 who were interested in taking the course! It is clear that there is a great demand for continued support in English language learning and Project Zawadi plans to work to expand the program to even more students and to include lessons for primary school teachers to improve their skills and proficiency in the future.