In Tanzania, only approximately 30% of adolescent girls are enrolled in secondary education. The dropout rate is due to a complex set of circumstances, so, to do our part in supporting girls’ choices, St Jude’s introduced a clear strategy to encourage the education and empowerment of girls at the school and tertiary levels.
St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School
The biggest milestone of St Jude’s strategic plan, to encourage women in education, was opening St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School in January 2020. The purpose of opening this new facility was to grant even more females the opportunity for free, quality education. The new school particularly encourages female students to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects for it’s recognized that more Tanzanian women leaders are needed in these fields.
By opening the girls’ secondary school, St Jude’s was able to offer more scholarships to female students in Form 1.
In Tanzania’s schooling system, there are three key stages. The first is primary school which comprises of seven years education from Standard 1 to 7. Then there is secondary school, with Ordinary Level (O Level) studies going from Form 1 to Form 4, and Advanced Level (A-Level) studies from Form 5 to 6.
As of 2022, the Standard 1 and 2 intake of girls was 75% which is a milestone to celebrate. Also, when it comes to national figures for women in tertiary education, the female-to-male ratio is approximately 1-to-28. However, at St Jude’s the ratio is equal to one female for every male studying at university.
At St Jude’s, females are encouraged to participate in healthy competition with their male counterparts. This can be seen with the National Examination results of 2022 where the females outperformed their male counterparts. Female students are also actively participating in extracurricular activities where they can develop 21st-century soft-skills.
One such female student, Even Ernest Mbise, participated in the Mathlete competition hosted by Strathmore University in Kenya. The team comprised of herself and five other male students. Up against many other schools, the St Jude’s team came first in the competition, with Even coming in sixth place for the individual scoring. This inspirational story of female empowerment is one of many at The School of St Jude.
At St Jude’s, education is seen as the key to a promising future for students and in creating the future leaders of tomorrow for the community. The focus on empowering females to receive an education and pursue their ambitions has a far-reaching impact throughout the entire country.