I’ve been dreaming about this for a while and now it’s finally going to happen! The official go ahead has come through to open a new secondary school for girls – and we’re doing it in January!!!
You probably think we don’t know when to stop, I sometimes wonder that myself! This is a really important next step for St Jude’s though, a chance to make an even bigger impact than we are already.
By reconfiguring our current boarding and school facilities, we can turn part of our Sisia Primary Campus into a girls’ secondary school, which in time, will cater for nearly 600 students. More students will get a free, high-quality education at St Jude’s and we’re so excited about what this means for Tanzania.
Because of the new school we’ll be increasing the number of students who can graduate Form 6 and, in particular, increase the number of girls getting a secondary education.
Currently, when students are selected from government schools to St Jude’s at the beginning of secondary school (Form 1), at least 60% are boys and for selection to A Levels (the last two years of school), it’s more than 80%. As you go up the levels, there’s less and less girls staying in school. That means by Form 5 there are fewer girls to invite to sit our A level entrance exams and less girls being offered St Jude’s A Level scholarships.
By increasing our intake of girls into secondary school, St Jude’s can help stack the odds in their favour, in a country where girls from a poor rural background will only receive 3.7 years of schooling on average. And it’s pretty hard to argue with the mountain of research about the MANY benefits to families and communities in having educated women.
This means there’ll be more girls in secondary school, more graduates and more future leaders because of St Jude’s each year. I can’t wait to keep you updated on our progress in the next few months.