Monday, October 29, 2007

Selection process

St Jude's is a school for poor children. There are lots of poor children in Tanzania. Only 10% of homes have electricity, infant mortality is high, 20% of people said they went hungry in the previous year.

So, how do you choose WHICH poor children are going to get a place at this remarkable school? Which poor kids are going to get an excellent education that compares favourably with the most exclusive private schools in the country?

The School has decided to give this opportunity to bright kids because they can make the most of the educational opportunities offered. They are most likely to complete their education and go on to offer good service to their community. The School takes only one child from each family, so that more families can benefit.

How do they select the bright kids?

The School looks for kids who have done 1-2 years of school and first of all every child is given a small reading test. This eliminates a large percentage of them. Every child who turns up gets to try this test, even when we can see that they are barely out of nappies – you never know, the School may stumble across a mini genius … and they are too cute to resist!

Reading test

Those who pass the reading test move to the hall to do a basic maths and general knowledge paper.

Maths and general knowledge

Those who pass are asked to return the next day with documents proving their age and academic history – understandably, the chance of free, high quality education leads to any amount of forging, cheating and fibbing. But that’s not the end of the ‘testing’ - at least three times the School goes unannounced to their homes to make sure that they really do live in genuine poverty. This is necessary as many families ‘borrow’ village huts to use as ‘their home’ for the duration of the testing period.

Here's an example of the genuine article.

These kids and their families understand the massive benefit of a good education. A place at the School of St Jude is a miracle in their lives.

If you give a bit of your surplus, another child and another family will be lifted out of the dire poverty of subsistence. What a difference you can make.

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