As I was eating breakfast, I got a message that there were three government school inspectors waiting outside the office! I dropped the toast and dashed to the office to be greeted by three very serious faces that dominated my life for the next few days. They had us running all over the school getting this document and that file. Bundles of lesson plans, schemes of work and logbooks were scrutinised; teachers lessons were appraised; inventories of every item in the school were demanded; assessment procedures and reports were checked and every work contract was looked at. Even the after school extra-curricular club objectives were inspected (though I don’t know what they made of the ‘Girl Guides’ report on the sleep-over in the school hall!) No folder, file or fingernail clipping was left unturned in the whole school!
It was exhausting for everyone involved but thanks to the great team effort of all the teachers, drivers, cooks, cleaners, guards, groundsmen and the administration of the school, we were able to achieve a “Grade 1 Certificate of Excellence in Performance” - the highest grade achievable! The inspectors wrote a glowing report about the school and mentioned that when they have government officials from the Ministry of Education in Dar es Salaam visiting, they would like to bring them out to see the school. It was a remarkable award for everyone involved in the school and well deserved as every worker associated with the school puts in 100% effort. And, of course, we share this with all of you who have given so much of your time, energy, money and support to help us achieve this.
I get a sense that things are coming together in Tanzania in important ways that will lay strong foundations for a better future. Schools like St Jude's, started by one skilled and dedicated person, supported by hundreds who care, can do more than give jobs and training to hundreds of locals while educating hundreds of the poorest children. A well-run school can be a model to others and encourage better practice throughout the education system.
Fantastic job Gemma! I think we're ready to go the next round with you.