Why Are We Different?
With so many NGOs vying for support, it’s important to understand why St Jude’s is different.
The School of St Jude’s prime focus is on delivering quality education. All our funding efforts raise money for the three school campuses that make up The School of St Jude.
Tanzania has a growing population and government funding is low because Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. This means that there are not enough government schools for the growing population. Class sizes are large, teachers are poorly trained and poorly equipped. The School of St Jude provides an International-standard education to bright children from the poorest households so they will have a better future, break the cycle of poverty, and become the educated professionals Tanzania desperately needs.
Of course we won’t start to see our impact on the country for many years but we already see the impact of the school in the local community.
WHAT DOES 150 NEW STUDENTS EACH YEAR MEAN?
Each year it our goal to invite 150 new prep students to attend the school. When 150 new students start at St Jude’s many things happen.
More classrooms are built and fitted with chairs and desks, blackboards, textbooks and of course teachers. More water and more food is needed to feed the children and therefore more cooks too. More ground is needed for sports and fitness. More buses and bus drivers are needed to transport the children. More boarding facilities are needed too, which means house teachers, study rooms, beds, blankets and extra-curricular activities. With the school campus growing we need more guards, more grounds men, building and maintenance people, more cleaners and more office support coordinators.
And with growth comes a huge responsibility for sustainability. It also means that the impact that one school can make on its entire community can be massive and this is definitely the case with The School of St Jude.The School employs about 350 staff and pumps millions of dollars into the local economy each year.
THE RIPPLE EFFECT ACROSS THE COMMUNITY
The ripple effect reaches not just our children, but their families and the families of our staff and suppliers. We are proud to say that the school gives direct benefit to thousands of people in Arusha which has a ripple effect across Tanzania.
OUR APPROACH & STANDARDS
Our approach and standards with which we supply this education can be seen in many areas including:
Smaller class sizes and quality classroom environments: We cap our class sizes to approximately 25 students per class rather than over 50 students in a typical government run school classroom in Tanzania. We ensure that each child has their own desk and chair – being comfortable will ensure that they can focus on learning. Once again, government schools cannot provide the luxury of desks and chairs for every student.
St Jude’s students attend the school completely free: In other schools, families must purchase school uniforms and school supplies, at St Jude’s each year our students are supplied with a new uniform, exercise books and stationery within their sponsorship.
One library filled with books and a teacher resource room per campus: Most schools have no teaching resources other than chalk and a rare textbook. Thanks to our supporters we have many resources available to our teachers to ensure that they have everything they need to plan quality lessons. The library is always a hive of activity especially during breaks, before and after school – the children love to learn about the world with their friends by reading books.
St Jude’s students are well fed: On a Monday when beans and rice are served to all students and staff, the school consumes more than 300 kg of rice and 170 kg of beans. By providing a nutritious meal every day, we ensure that everyone has the energy to concentrate on the task at hand – learning! Morning tea is also supplied which includes much need fruit. An endless supply of clean drinking water is available at all times. Students at a typical school in Tanzania are not given food, and drinking water is scarce. In addition, many students arrive at school with empty stomachs. Without enough food, concentration can be patchy and even the most capable students struggle to learn.
Positive reinforcement is encouraged: At the School of St. Jude corporal punishment is prohibited and this policy is respected by all teaching staff.
Creativity and critical thinking are nurtured: Through the help of internationally qualified volunteers, teachers are given the support and resources they need to help plan classes that inspire children in creativity and critical thinking. St Jude's follow the national Tanzanian curriculum and students are learning the importance of active participation in class lessons and team work.
A full time nurse is employed at the school: Playgrounds are prime places for accidents, so it makes sense we have a full time nurse on staff with the necessary supplies to ensure that children are treated promptly and correctly. When children display signs of sicknesses such as Malaria and Typhoid, our nurse is able to accompany them to hospital to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment is given. To have the services of a nurse is a luxury that is rarely given in other schools.
St Jude’s teachers are well supported: Our teachers are well compensated and supported in their pursuit of continuing professional development and providing the best possible education to our students. Many teachers at other schools are not well qualified and are underpaid and its not uncommon for classes to wait for teachers who don't show up due to lack of enthusiasm or the lack of funds to pay their transport to come to school.
A large fleet of colourful school buses: Without our school buses both students and staff would need to wake up extra early to walk to local bus stops and pay for transport they simply cannot afford. The St Jude’s buses allow everyone to get the sleep they need and arrive to school on time and safe each day. The buses are an extra blessing during the wet season when attendance at typical local schools plummets. Our buses transport students and teachers from up to 40km away – saving transport costs that are unaffordable even for teachers.
Children and teachers have individual access to computers: With a minimum of two computer labs per campus, St Jude’s provides daily computer lessons as well as access during lunch breaks and before/after school. Access to computers will foster more confidence in the use of technology and increase the chances of future employment due to computer literacy. Computers give our teachers the capacity to research timely information from the Internet so they can provide lessons that include global as well as local perspectives.
We are an English Medium School: All classes aside from Kiswahili are conducted in English. Students and teachers are asked to communicate in English to ensure they will become fluent and confident in this international language. This means our students will be more competitive when they go on to further study and they will have a greater chance of securing the job of their dreams!
Our goal is for every student to finish primary and secondary school: Many students at other schools fail government exams and end up leaving school at the primary level to face unemployment or work at ill-paid jobs. St Jude’s teachers work closely with our students to ensure that they maintain marks that are well above the Tanzanian school average for their year level. In addition to the support offered before and after school as well during lunch breaks, those students staying in boarding benefit from extra assistance and group study time.