We fund and support Mvumi Secondary School in central Tanzania

Mvumi Secondary School

We are 36 km from Dodoma, Tanzania’s capital, a little south of the equator and in the middle of the country. It is a very poor region and the capital city has not been developed as much as other cities in Tanzania yet. The area is semi-desert, hilly and badly de-forested. It is heart-stoppingly beautiful. Traditional rural houses are low, rectangular, mud brick with thatched roofs.

Tanzanian people are famous for their welcome and cheerfulness and always enjoy receiving visitors. Life seems simple and picturesque. However, life here is cruel for the many people who are sick, old, uneducated, abandoned or orphaned.

Mvumi Secondary School students

A subsistence economy

In a 2011 survey life expectancy in Tanzania was established at 58 years. HIV+ in Tanzania was 5.1% in 2011-12. Many people live a near cashless life, eating what they can grow and bartering for what they cannot. Subsistence farming is the norm. Some can hire a team of oxen to plough occasionally. Most rely on the hoe.

For most women and girls, existing is a physically demanding routine of water collecting and maize pounding along with millet and other crops, and many other domestic chores. Many houses have only an earth floor through which disease-carrying insects bore to add to the many debilitating hazards associated with poverty.

Illness and malnourishment are common.

Education is expensive

Illiteracy is still a problem. Rural primary schools all struggle. Little English is taught, yet the state requires that secondary education is taught in English. Many Tanzanians who would like to undertake secondary education are unable to even contemplate it, either from insufficient primary education, unplanned pregnancy or because they are unable even to pay the government school fees.

In response to these great needs, our secondary school was started in 1994 in the middle of Mvumi, a large, busy village which has grown up around its mission hospital. Both the school and the hospital were founded by the Anglican Diocese of Central Tanganyika (DCT). It is a Christian school but is open to all, regardless of faith.

It is an English Medium school so all lessons are in English with the exception of Kiswahili. For most students English is their third language. Conversation English is practised in debating, morning speeches and competitions.

Mvumi Secondary School students

School facilities

Because of our links with donors abroad we have been able to build some impressive buildings, to drill and secure a reliable bore hole, to install electricity and improve other facilities which are the envy of neighbouring institutions.

As with all things here, appearances can be misleading:-

  • We still need funds to improve teacher training
  • There is always a need for Braille Books covering the Tanzanian O level Syllabus.
  • It is always hard to find and keep good teaching staff in such a remote area especially as there is a national shortage of qualified teachers.
  • Our staff accommodation needs to be improved. There are currently around thirty full-time members of staff, the majority of whom are trained.
  • Our budget is always fully stretched. The diet of our students would still be considered inadequate in the West. Vegetables are a rare treat and only one piece of fruit is given per week. Lunch is ugali and beans. Vegatables and meat may be served twice a week. Some day students regularly do not eat for 24 hours between their school lunches at 2.30 on weekdays particularly between January and April when food is scarce until the harvest is brought in. However the school diet is still a great improvement for many whose home circumstances are very difficult.

The school has a growing reputation and we have fee-paying students from all over Tanzania and from all backgrounds. Our current school roll is 650 and well over half of those board or lodge locally. The demand for boarding places far exceeds those available.

Provision for visually impaired students

The School has  purpose built resource centre, The ICAP Unit, for the students who are blind or with severely impaired eye sight and trained special needs teachers.

Introduction

Our vision

Education at Mvumi is deliberately broad. We have a holistic approach to develop students academically, socially, morally, spiritually and physically. Our vision is they will grow into skilled and responsible citizens, with a sense of duty to their community and their nation.

Sponsorship and scholarship

There is a sponsorship and scholarship scheme which is overseen in the UK and has an ex pat co-ordinator who is also the Bursar and Mvumi School Trust Representative based at the School. Sponsored students and scholars are selected from local primary schools and are from the poorest backgrounds.

All blind and visually impaired students are fully funded by the Mvumi School Trust through sponsorship. The Tanzanian Government meets specialist teachers’ salaries and some running costs.

School staff

There is a national shortage of teachers in Tanzania resulting from a major expansion of secondary education. Class sizes are usually very large and a number of lessons simply cannot be taught. At Mvumi Secondary School we are fortunate that we have a large staff and a healthy teacher/student ratio.

The Academic Team is supported by a team non-teaching staff headed by our Bursar.

All our full time teachers are either university graduates or diploma holders and the majority are trained teachers. All have been educated in Tanzania with the majority of graduates coming from Tanzania’s premier university of Dar Es Salaam.

The Academic Team

The Headteacher leads a senior Academic Team made up of the Heads of Arts, Science, Commerce, the Academic Master and the Head of the Senior School Department.

An extensive curriculum is offered in:

  • Civics
  • History
  • Geography
  • English
  • Kiswahili
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Commerce
  • Book-keeping
  • Bible Knowledge
  • Computing

There are teachers in each of these subjects.

Administration

The School's Bursar leads an Adminstration Team comprising a Chief Accountant, a Maintenance Manager and a Storekeepe. The Bursar is also the Mvumi-based Sponsorship Coordinator and the Mvumi School Trust's representative in Tanzania.

Pastoral care

Each of our three boarding houses is supervised by two matrons or patrons who combine pastoral care for the students with supervision of health and cleanliness.

We have attractive grounds which are maintained by our own gardeners, and we also employ a security company to ensure that the environment is safe for our students.

Mvumi Secondary School friends