Empowering Students’ Futures: The Pathways Program

All too often, students in Tanzania are uninformed about their post-secondary school learning and career options. A 2016 report noted that 26% of Tanzanian university students pursued degrees that were not of their choice. A primary reason for this was due to poor guidance or a lack of informed guidance. The study recommended that parents, educators, and counselors help prospective students make informed career decisions so as to fulfill students’ career expectations. 

To proactively help secondary school students make decisions about their post-secondary care and life, Opportunity Education is proudly launching the Pathways Program.

Our vision and commitment is to enable Tanzanian Quest Forward students to discover and realize their unique interests and purpose, and to support them through career exploration, internships, tertiary education, and successful launch into a meaningful career. 

The depth and breadth of this program are unheard of in Tanzania:

  • Students will take self-assessments and set goals that will enable them to set a longer-term success path.
  • Students will explore careers and workplaces to ground their goal setting and planning in real-world experiences.
  • Students will develop resumes, write cover letters, develop interview skills and create networks.
  • Students will connect to appropriate post-secondary school pathways including trade schools, colleges, universities, and employers.
  • Students will select a career/job they will pursue that will help them to achieve their goals and add value to their lives and communities.

Key Secondary School Activities

The Pathways Program works with secondary school students individually and in groups on their campuses and, for some activities, brings students from Quest Forward schools together. Pathways will work with students throughout all years of secondary school so that students are fully equipped to make the decisions that move them to the next level.

Education and Career Foundation

The Pathways Program will support students in developing a better understanding of themselves, their skills and talents, and career possibilities and options. Form 1 and Form 2 work will lay the initial foundation for the program. Students will begin working with a Pathways Career Mentor in Form 1, both in group activities as well as one-on-one for personalized counseling. Students will perform self-assessments, longer-term goal setting, and exploration of potential paths to success.

Parent Meetings

All secondary schools in Tanzania invite parents and guardians to campus for day-long events and activities. The influence of parents on students’ vocational and educational decisions is significant. Members of the Pathways Program team will discuss the program with parents and ensure understanding of the activities, services, and expected outcomes. Meetings will include both staff presentations and students sharing their experiences.

Pathways Career Days

At annual Career Days, students from all Quest Forward Schools will come together regionally to learn about careers and educational requirements. Select colleges, universities, and VETA programs will participate and share information with students, along with individuals from a variety of careers. These experiences will help students to see real-world examples of their path options, and help them to visualize their futures.

Career Day will be held late January to early February each year for all Form 3 students at Quest Forward Schools. The timing is significant: Following Form 2 National Exams, students narrow their educational focus. Students select focusing on studies in science or social and language studies. These decisions have a significant impact on a student’s future education and career.  

Holding Career Day early in Form 3 will empower students to make more informed choices for their future so that they can continue on paths that help them achieve their long-term goals. Students’ work through the Pathways Program during Form 1 and Form 2 will provide the foundation for them to participate in Career Day. With this foundation, students can make better-informed decisions about their educational focus in Form 3, Form 4, and beyond.

Pathways Career Clubs

The need for greater career knowledge is significant in Tanzania. Many students are uninformed about the careers they selected and the subsequent employment opportunities. 

Each Quest Forward School will establish Career Clubs in Form 3 and Form 4. In these clubs, students can learn about careers and post-secondary school opportunities. These clubs will meet weekly, and help students sharpen their focus as they complete secondary school (ordinary level). 

  • Form 3: Students will form Career Clubs based on their vocational interests. They will investigate careers and determine the required educational routes to pursue careers and evaluate future employability. Career Mentors will help students develop resumes, write cover letters, develop interview skills, and create networks. With the guidance, these Form 3 students will also serve as student mentors for Form 1 and Form 2 students.
  • Form 4: Students will focus on decisions involving their educational and career paths to be better prepared to move on from ordinary level secondary school. These decisions significantly impact students’ options, futures, and life. The options before them include advanced level, college, vocational training, and pursuing employment. 

Availability to Quest Forward Schools

We are thrilled to advance our vision with the launch of the Pathways Program. We are preparing students to create value for themselves, their villages, and the world. 

The Pathways Program is launching an initial pilot at Mtakuja Secondary School near Moshi to start. Ultimately, the Pathways Program will be available to all schools in the Quest Forward Network in Tanzania.