Continued poor performance in mathematics and science subjects at secondary-schools is of particular concern to the government, as well as to the private sector and development partners in education sector. Failure rates in both mathematics and the sciences remain high, varying from more than 80% for mathematics to 40% for chemistry. In addition, the % of girls who attempted examinations in maths and science was more than 40% lower than boys, while their performance was worse by more than 13% (CSSC pilot study 2017). The similar situation was in the church-owned schools where by the academic performance of students for science subject at national form four examination was not impressive. The shortage of science teachers at schools was mentioned as the main cause of the failure. The Bishops as schools’ owner saw this as a big challenge and an obstacle to get students to join for clinical and nursing program at church colleges. An intervention to improve the academic performance for science subjects and mathematics among the students was needed.
In an effort to contribute towards addressing this challenge, CSSC – with financial support from HDIF – piloted a project to introduce E-learning as means to improve the quality of- and interest in mathematics and science subject. The pilot project, conducted in May 2015 – April 2017, developed an E-learning platform for mathematics and science subjects for Forms 1 & 2, and piloted the platform at 47 schools: 42 Church-owned and 5 public schools. The pilot project revealed that;
- E-learning is an effective approach towards improving performance of secondary school students when uses materials that align with the national education curriculum.
- If E-learning is introduced at schools for a longer period of time, it is expected to reverse the negative attitude of students, resulting in more students taking science subjects, especially girls.
In 2015, CSSC introduced the e-learning project to 50 secondary schools with the major goal of increasing the academic performance of students especially girls in science subject and mathematics as well as to improve the teaching methodology for science teachers. In July 2018, CSSC through financial support from Italian Bishop Conference expanded the project further to include more schools for a period of three years until June 2022. Currently total of 103 schools are enrolled in the project.
Content: The CSSC e-learning platform is rich in modules developed by the team of science subjects experts from CSSC’s schools. Total of contents of the four subjects-Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology were developed and uploaded in the platform inform of animation video. The platform enables the implementation of competence-based curriculum since the content especially quizzes are structured in such a way that the student actually walks away mastering the tasks and competencies that the curriculum foresees for this level. The teachers monitor performance of the students and gamification brings in a competitive but fun way to spur student participation. CSSC in partnership with Good Mark Inc. has developed the E-learning platform further, which is now under full ownership (including editing rights for future development) of CSSC into Learning Management Information System (LMIS) which provides e-content to students in church secondary schools while offline and it contains all Ordinary level subjects based on Tanzania curriculum.
Training and Awareness: School administrators of 103 schools and a total of 1089 teachers including respective education authority and school owners. were trained on the new methods and materials available in the platform. They were trained on how to manage, track the progress of the students as well as evaluating the performance of the platform.
Infrastructure: The project covers schools which have ICT equipment like computers or tablets, schools with required teachers, internet accessibility and available students including the availability of electricity and interlinked related projects in the public schools. In order to strengthen the ICT accessibility and expansion of the project into more schools, CSSC donated 12 tablets to some of the schools. CSSC has partnered with Camara Education Tanzania for the supply and installation of IT devices (tablets, laptops, desktop computers, overhead projectors) to the schools.
In an effort to expand the project to many schools even the ones which doesn’t meet the criteria of having reliable electricity and sufficient IT equipment and ICT labs; CSSC support schools to solicit financial support for this procurement, by liaising with development partners and other stakeholders. To support CSSC in reaching more schools and contribute to improving science education for church secondary schools in Tanzania please contact our Director of Education Services through email@example.com