Mtakuja Makes the Grade: A+!

Shortly after Tanzania gained independence in 1961, the government began to emphasize the importance of education. Since that time, the government occasionally sends Zonal Quality Assurance Teams to inspect schools and make sure they are performing across all categories.

In early February 2019, the Zonal Quality Assurance Team visited Mtakuja Secondary School for the purpose of reviewing the school’s infrastructure, resources, and administration. The team was also keenly interested in the implementation of Quest Forward Learning. Mtakuja Secondary School, which is located in rural Moshi, is now in its third academic year of using Quest Forward Learning.

As part of their observations, the team observed all teachers with a focus on their lesson preparations, involvement with students in lessons, and the relevance of the curriculum to students and society. Following two full days of observations, the Quality Assurance Team issued a very positive report on Mtakuja. The team noted that teachers were thoroughly prepared, students were fully engaged in their lessons, and that they were given ample time to complete their lessons. Mtakuja was also recognized for the relevance of Quest Forward Learning to the students and their daily life, and as members of Tanzanian society.

Mtakuja Secondary School received a perfect score from the Zonal Quality Assurance Team.

Having met all requirements of the government curriculum implementation demands (student involvement in learning) and a collaborative mentoring approach (participatory methodology), Mtakuja was awarded a 100% designation in each of these two important areas.

Receiving a 100% designation is outstanding, almost unheard of: Most schools in Tanzania receive a score of somewhere between 50–75%. It is also a strong affirmation of how Mtakuja Secondary School has fully implemented Quest Forward Learning. In many Tanzanian schools, students learn passively: They sit quietly at their desks listening to their teacher and taking notes. Our research shows that when young adults are active and engaged, their learning outcomes improve—they don’t just memorize but they understand, and they learn essential skills in the process.

Quest Forward Learning meets the National Curriculum standards of Tanzania, uses contemporary materials, emphasizes skills growth, and enables students to work independently or in small groups. At the same time, this curriculum enables teachers to work more closely with students, engaging them in small groups, and mentoring them much more closely than most secondary school teachers ever will. Moreover, these materials are designed by Tanzanian teachers, who understand their students and schools well, and who offer subject-matter expertise. The Zonal Quality Assurance Team observed this fully in practice during their review of Mtakuja.

Attentive mentoring and active learning are all a part of everyday life at Mtakuja Secondary School.

This recent report from the Zonal Quality Assurance Team supports the excellent achievement seen in student learning as evidenced in the most recent Form Two National Exams. This designation by the Zonal Quality Assurance Team is tangible evidence that Quest Forward Learning is enabling Tanzanian students to succeed in new and amazing ways. This is yet another reason to be proud of the excellent ongoing work happening at Mtakuja Secondary School.