PUGU Secondary School, formerly St Francis College Pugu, is celebrating a vast transformation that will see it move out of special measures into a school with a bright future.
The school, which has a celebrated heritage of producing presidents and notable Tanzanians, hitherto experienced a lull in its reading culture due to the dilapidated library.
For your information, the Father of the Nation and first President, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, worked at the school as a teacher, with other later day national leaders attended as students at the school, including former President Benjamin Mkapa, immediate former Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, former Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Pius Msekwa, second Managing Editor of Tanzanian Standard (Newspapers) Limited (TSN) and Press Secretary to Mwalimu, Sammy Mdee, and National NCCR-Mageuzi Chairman Professor Ibrahim Lipumba…the list is endless. The school’s present Headmaster, Mr Juvenus Mutabuzi, says the school is home to 900 students.
It includes students with disabilities. According to last year’s National Examination Council of Tanzania’s Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ACSEE) results, the school posted 24 Division One, 82 Division- II; 172, Division-III; 22, Division-IV; and 21 DIV-0. The headmaster attributes such poor performance to lack of adequate learning facilities -- notably the library.
“We had dilapidated library building with empty shelves.” But things changed this week following decision by the leading African energy conglomerate, Sahara Group, to renovate the library, opening a new world of learning and development for over 900 students and 76 teachers of the prestigious institution.
The project was carried out by Sahara Group’s subsidiary, Sahara Tanzania in conjunction with Sahara Foundation, the Group’s Corporate Responsibility vehicle and READ International, a non-government organisation.
At least 2000 books were donated and dozens of school teachers were trained to man the facility. Such CSRs will help the nation towards enhancing access to quality education that help drive the quest of the nation to become a middle income country by 2025.
Observers suggest that for the country to realise its development vision it meanwhile needs to ensure adequate competent professional in various fields. It has been argued that education is more than acquiring knowledge. The same knowledge is obtained through continuous reading of books, but Pugu and other schools across the country lack access to libraries thus retarding academic performance. Education empowers people to develop personally and become social, economic and politically active.
People with knowledge have power and authority. Acting Commissioner for Education in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mr Nicolas Buretta, concurs that availability of books at Pugu will empower students, and future leaders of the country.
“Sahara’s gesture resonates with the resolve of the Tanzanian government to sustainably improve access to quality education. We commend Sahara for identifying with youth empowerment in Tanzania and I urge the students to make maximum use of the library and care for the books to ensure sustainability,” says the acting commissioner. The commissioner called on investors to emulate the practice, saying it will help transform lives.
According to Sahara Foundation’s Manager, Babatomiwa Adesida, the firm is also exploring the introduction of its entrepreneurship framework in Tanzania to provide a platform that finds, creates and connects young entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
“We will embark on projects that expose and connect young business owners to boundless growth opportunities. In keeping with our corporate responsibility initiatives in over 10 countries across four continents, where we operate, Sahara is bringing energy to Tanzania and we are grateful for the opportunity we have been given to contribute to the development of this great nation.
” In Tanzania, youth are facing a number of challenges as most abundant asset the country has or will have over the near future.
Most of the educated group still faces adequate skill and knowledge thus becoming a burden and job seekers. Given that youth are and will remain a significant share of the country’s population they need to be well prepared while in schools to help the country in attaining her middle income targets.
Any failure to provide appropriate opportunities for this large segment of the population could have enormous economic, political, cultural, and social consequences. Engaging the youth population fully is, therefore, no longer a choice but an imperative in the development process.