Mvumi Secondary School has set up a unit to educate eight pupils each year from the Buigiri School. The first eight began at Mvumi in January 2009. The numbers will gradually rise to betwen 40 and 50 during the coming years with approximately eight blind students entering the School each year. 'Blind' encompasses severely impaired pupils as well as wholly blind people.
Blindness in Tanzania has a direct link with poverty and malnutrition. The national percentage is around 4% of the population but in some areas it is as high as 10%, so it is a significant problem.
Government policy is for children with disabilities to be educated in an integrated environment. There is an outstanding primary school for blind children at Buigiri, some 30 kilometres from Mvumi. Its Headteacher is himself totally blind. Of the 12,200 Tanzanian primary schools, Buigiri School regularly comes within the top 100 and in 2006 came sixth. However, at secondary level, provision for blind pupils is inadequate and uneven.
The Anglican Diocese of Central Tanganyika, under whose auspices DCT Mvumi Secondary School and Buigiri Schools funtion, has developed a 10-year partnership with the Ministry of Education under which eight children leaving Buigiri School each year transfer to Mvumi Secondary School, where they receive a quality education. Special Needs teachers are working with other staff to ensure the blind pupils benefit from the full life of the school.
A very generous grant from ICAP plc, an international FTSE 100 company to Mvumi School Trust has enabled The School to provide:
The Government :
While this is a wonderful step forward for both Mvumi and for the pupils there is still a great shortage of suitable paper and Braille books covering the Tanzanian O level syllabus. The Trust is using its resources to create Talking Books and Braille Books. It may be that at some future date,when funding permits, the Government will set up similar schemes elsewhere in Tanzania . Meanwhile, the unit puts Mvumi yet again at the forefront of top-quality and innovative education in Tanzania.
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