Empowering teachers, impacting futures
Elevating the standards of learning in primary education
Every year, on 5 October, the world comes together to celebrate World Teachers Day, a day to honour the contributions of educators and acknowledge their role in shaping the future of our society.
In the Mbeya Region of Tanzania, World Teachers Day holds special significance, as a result of the Primary School Teacher Training Programme (PSTTP) on the lives of children and their teachers. This UNICEF initiative, funded by the Government of Canada, has elevated the standards of learning in primary education and empowered women educators like Upendo Mwakapala, a teacher at Uhuru Primary School, who stands as a testament to the programme’s success.
Like all teachers who received the PSTTP training, Upendo utilizes innovative teaching methods for reading and writing, infusing her classes with the vibrant spirit of singing and dancing, making learning an enjoyable experience for her students.
At the core of PSTTP lies a simple yet powerful goal: enhancing the quality of education by equipping teachers with effective methods in Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic (3Rs). Through specialized training, teachers gained skills in innovative teaching techniques.
I feel like it’s more than just teaching, I am also inspiring and motivating early-grade teachers to strengthen children’s skills in literacy and numeracy!
The training also includes guides in the production of teaching and learning materials, fostering an environment where children can better learn and understand. Some of the materials include bottle caps for counting, colourful boards used for math sums, and drawings with words to aid in reading.
Upendo, who has been a teacher for over 20 years, believes that the programme has helped her effectively teach and improve learning outcomes for children.
Teaching is my greatest joy! I love to be able to incorporate singing and dancing into my lessons for reading and writing. Our teaching materials have helped children practice and understand their reading and writing skills while still having fun.
The impact of the PSTPP extends beyond the classroom, touching the lives of women in the Mbeya Region. By empowering female educators like Upendo, the programme has fostered a culture of equality and empowerment. These women are not only imparting knowledge but also becoming powerful role models, showcasing the strength and determination that fuels positive change within their communities.
Nationally, the programme has contributed to an increase in Standard 2 reading comprehension, from 12 per cent in 2016 to 41 per cent in 2021. This progress signifies a step towards a brighter future. UNICEF and key partners are supporting the Government of Tanzania in its relentless effort to boost student literacy.
As we celebrate World Teachers Day, it is crucial to acknowledge the journey towards quality education is ongoing. Improving literacy and numeracy in the early grades is the cornerstone of a child’s education. By training teachers like Upendo, the PSTPP programme ensures that classrooms are transformed and destinies shaped, one teacher at a time, to educate and empower the next generation - for every child.