In spite of COVID-19 restrictions, building work continued on Phase 1 of Tara Getty Secondary School, and the school was officially opened on 11 January 2021.
Close to Lake Manyara
The rural communities of Moya and Mayoka can be found close to Lake Manyara in Tanzania. They have a combined population of 979 households or approximately 5 500 people.
The Moya and Moyoka Primary Schools, both supported by Africa Foundation through the generous funding of donors like the Tara and Aileen Getty Foundations, are currently educating over 1 300 students. These schools are situated just 5 km (3.1 mi.) apart, and serve the two communities well.
Secondary school challenges
Before the establishment of the Tara Getty Secondary School, those students wishing to access a higher level of education all attended Magara Secondary School in Babati. This entailed learners travelling 7 – 12 km (4.3 – 7.4 mi.) each way and crossing the Dagaa and Magara Rivers which are impassable during rainy season, leading to accidents, poor attendance and a high drop-out rate.
The school principals of Moya and Mayoka Primary Schools estimated that only 65% of their Grade 8 students continued onto higher education, with the rest leaving school to start working. This opened many up to the very real threat of child labour, and in the case of young girls, an early marriage.
School and community leaders firmly believe that the number remaining in school will significantly increase with a more accessible high school for these communities.
High school hopes
Communities worked with the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training to create the plan for a high school to serve Moya and Mayoka, and the results are now tangible.
Phase 1 of the Tara Getty Secondary School was opened 11 January 2021, and comprises four classrooms for Grade 9 (first level, lower secondary school) learners, a teacher’s office, 12 ablutions and accommodation for four teaching staff (who have come from outside this area).
I’m glad to be the principal of this beautifully built school, and look forward to performing my duties to the best of my ability.
Severa Michael Mtuli, Principal of Tara Getty Secondary School
As with all projects supported by Africa Foundation, this initiative is managed as a partnership between the communities, relevant government stakeholders and the Foundation – each having very specific roles and responsibilities.
In this instance, the Tanzanian Government will supply teaching staff and ongoing resources to the school, while the communities have provided the land on which the school has been built in addition to funding 100 desks and chairs which were produced locally.
Reaching far and wide
While the school is presently registered as a lower secondary school which provides Grade 9 – 12 education, the ultimate goal is for it to become a fully-fledged high school offering upper secondary levels 13 and 14 (the equivalent of UK A levels).
Future phases of this hope-full project will include the dormitories, kitchen and dining hall needed to create a boarding school, which will set Tara Getty Secondary School on a new trajectory as it welcomes both local learners and students from all over the country, shaping generations of brighter futures.