Broadening Horizons through Holistic Education

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Beyond Academics: St Jude’s holistic approach to education exposes students to diverse opportunities across various disciplines.

Every year, St Jude’s enrols hundreds of students from underprivileged families throughout Tanzania at primary and secondary school levels. All of our new students undergo a full health check to ensure they are healthy enough to make the most out of the free, quality education provided by the school. This is repeated annually throughout their time at school.

This annual health check not only identifies existing health issues among our students but also allows the school to tailor support for those with specific needs. This support may include medications, special dietary plans, or additional educational support to help students catch up when their health impacts their learning.

Studies have shown a clear link between good health and educational outcomes. A common problem such as worm infection, for example, can have a significant impact on a student’s cognitive function and physical development, ultimately hindering their ability to learn.[1]

Proper nutrition is also critical to a student's wellbeing and academic performance. It is a cost-effective investment, with studies indicating a US$9 return for every US$1 invested in school feeding programs.[2]

St Jude’s provides over 1 million hot meals yearly to its 1,800 students and more than 300 staff members. These meals were carefully planned to meet the nutritional requirements of growing children, including a variety of fruits and vegetables. Our students consistently report feeling energised and focused throughout the school day, leading to improved academic performance. This is consistent with data from the World Food Program, which indicates that school feeding programs can lead to a 3-4% increase in test scores.

A Holistic Approach: St Jude’s model ensures overall student wellbeing by using a holistic approach to education.

Opportunity through Holistic Education

While it’s hard to overstate the impact of education on students, the results vary wildly. Because despite education being the primary indicator for personal success and economic growth[3], individuals often struggle to turn their knowledge into tangible benefits for themselves and their communities.

In Tanzania for instance, the chances of landing a job within the first year of graduating university is merely 5-8%. This reality calls for an intentional model that empowers students to fuel change either by making use of available opportunities or creating the opportunities themselves.

This is why a holistic approach to education is key to the St Jude’s model. It broadens our students’ horizons and provides them with the necessary skills that help them to better compete in the employment market or pave the way to their entrepreneurship journey.   

Consider Long’ida, a St Jude’s Form 5 student. Long’ida isn’t just pursuing academic studies. He is also a part of the agriculture club at school and leads a student-run initiative to grow vegetables on the school’s farm.

Broadening Horizons: Long’ida explores his passion for agriculture and entrepreneurship at St Jude’s.

Annual school events such as the Science Day exhibitions further showcase the power of this approach. At the most recent Science Day, students showcased their ingenuity by developing a working bean sorter, an automatic stamping machine, and a clothes dryer. These projects not only demonstrate their technical skills but also cultivate a spirit of innovation and problem-solving that will benefit them throughout their lives.

As a result, our tertiary graduates are competitive in the Tanzanian job market. A growing number of St Jude’s alumni are also starting their businesses, fuelling economic growth not just for their families but also for their communities through job creation. These exceptional results demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit and self-reliance fostered by the school's holistic approach. 

[1] A 2013 case study by WHO in Kenya

[2] World Food Programme (2023)

[3] The World Bank