Teaching literacy during the pandemic, Tanzania
Tanzania, as well as the world at large, bravely faced the COVID-19 pandemic’s countless challenges and obstacles. In Tanzania, the educational system was deeply impacted when schools were ordered to close for the safety of students and teachers. Educators were faced with having to develop a distance learning system in an effort to avoid interruptions in student learning.
Teachers prepared educational home packages for their students to carry on their studies while in quarantine. These packages, made available through digital download, continued the curriculum that children had previously been studying in person. Students were provided lessons, reviews, and questions on multiple subjects to cover the gap caused by school closures. Asante Africa supplemented these packages with textbooks and other necessities to ensure that students had all of the materials they needed for successful home learning. Students completed their packages and when school resumed, teachers reviewed and corrected their work. Most children reported trouble-free learning at home because of the educational materials provided by their teachers as well as the supplemental resources from Asante Africa.
After schools reopened, additional measures were instated to make sure that students were caught up in all subjects. Tanzania’s Ministry of Education modified the 2020 school terms. The first term had to be completed in August, and the second term had to be completed in December. The daily school schedule changed as well. Instead of attending class sessions from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, students attended from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm. After regular class hours, students had to immediately attend their remedial classes. Teachers facilitated these extended hours, but also sacrificed their free periods and weekends to help students prepare for national exams. This intensified educational program was supported by the newly available digital tools in classrooms, including laptops, projectors, and other technology that simplified the teaching and learning process.
Tanzania’s teachers successfully adapted their educational system during a time of worldwide crisis. They created a strong learning environment for students at home and spent long hours helping students catch up when schools reopened. These teachers overcame obstacles by implementing innovative thinking and exhausting every educational resource available. Thanks to their dedicated teachers, children in Tanzania continued to learn throughout the pandemic.
MADAM MALIMA, Teacher at Horombo Secondary School, Tanzania