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Pupils in Tanzania receive boost to learning thanks to anonymous donor

Press release issued: 1 March 2013

An anonymous donor has awarded the University of Bristol £242,000 for a new project to help improve learning for pupils in disadvantaged rural secondary schools in Tanzania, Africa.

An anonymous donor has awarded the University of Bristol £242,000 for a new project to help improve learning for pupils in disadvantaged rural secondary schools in Tanzania, Africa.

In Tanzania, the transition from a public primary school to secondary school involves a change in the teaching language from Kiswahili, an African language spoken throughout the country, to English.  Pupils’ language proficiency in English is often a major obstacle to learning which is not helped by the use of existing textbooks that use dense text, long sentences and few images, meaning very few students can read and use them.

Thanks to this funding a team of researchers, led by Dr Angeline M. Barrett, will work with authors of textbooks in Tanzania to develop their expertise in writing for second-language learners and design and produce new textbooks for all subjects to go with a new curriculum aimed at students in the first year of secondary school. They will also work with teacher educators to prepare teachers to use the textbooks in ways that support language acquisition.

Dr Barrett, a lecturer in the University’s Graduate School of Education, said: “We are extremely grateful to the anonymous donor for funding this project. This project injects essential expertise at a key point in the book production process that will help both teachers’ and pupils’ learning.”

The three-year ‘Language Supportive Teaching and Textbooks in Tanzania (LaSTT)’ project is a collaboration between Bristol, the University of Dodoma, the Aga Khan University, and the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE), the government agency responsible for curriculum development and ensuring quality of school learning materials.