The Payoff

Hongera – Congratulations!

Last week, the National Exams Council of Tanzania (NECTA) announced the results of the 2013 Form 2 National Exams… and our sponsored students rocked it!

Our seven students, now in Form 3, all celebrated excellent scores- 6 scored a B and one even scored an A.  Why is this so remarkable and why does it matter?

A little background:In Tanzania, national exams play a deciding role in every student’s future. 

  • The Primary School “Leaving” Exam (PSLE) administered at the end of Standard (Grade) 7 determines whether one can continue to government secondary school. Roughly only half of primary school students “pass” this exam. 
  • After primary school, secondary school or “O” for Ordinary School consists of Forms 1 through 4.  Students take national exams at the end of Form 2 – if they fail once, they repeat the grade and “resit.”  If they fail again, they’re out. This year, only 47% of exam takers passed with a D or above.
  • The National Exam at the end of Form 4 is even more critical.  Depending on one’s score, a student can continue to “A” Level High School (Forms 5 and 6), vocational school, a Certificate program in eligible subjects OR – again, he or she is done.  In 2012, 65% of the Tanzanian Form 4 students FAILED the exam and so ended their educational and career prospects.
  •  Finally, there is a Form 6 National Exam and these scores determine whether and where one can continue to University studies.

The tragedy is that, in fact, most Tanzanian government schools (particularly those that serve agricultural villages) lack even the most basic of resources and instruction.  It becomes almost impossible for most students to pass these national exams, much less score a B or an A.Now you can see why we were so thrilled to get our students’ scores – students without  a good primary school foundation & without family resources and/or support.  Students who overcome unspeakable personal and societal hurdles every day.

If the Form 2 results are any indication, we will be funding a talented bunch of university students in 4 years! This may be challenging financially, but it is also inspiring… and absolutely why we work so closely with our family of students.


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