Developing an engaging, positive learning environment for students in schools is one of the most creative aspects of teaching. Typically, the focus is either on the physical learning environments (institutional) like lecture theaters, classrooms, or labs and other different technologies that are used to develop a learning environment.
Following this, Plan Tanzania, a humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights, in collaboration with the government through the Kisarawe district commissioner, have started creating conducive learning environment to primary and secondary school students to enable the increase of high pass marks.
Students at Palaka primary school have already started seeing light at the end of tunnel after the construction of ventilated toilets and changing rooms for girls.
Not only that, a process to construct an incinerator facility to dispose sanitary pads and other waste product is underway thanks to the initiative.
The school, which is about 100 kilometers from Kisarawe town center, was constructed in 1968.
Palaka headmaster Mr Innocent Emmanuel, said since the construction of ventilated toilets, students were no longer absconding classes and enrollment numbers have increased.
“Shortage of toilets at our school will now remain history following the constructed ventilated toilets for school girls,” he said.
He stressed that though boy’s toilets were still facing a challenge, he was optimistic that the challenge would come to an end because the community has come to realise the importance of education to their children.
Emmanuel noted that through the organisation, people have been sensitised and they’ve come up with community volunteers who work as a bridge between Plan and their respective communities.
Through the volunteers the community has so far bought some bags of cement to fabricate 300 blocks in order to construct ventilated toilets for boys that will deal with the problem of shortage of toilets.
District executive director Mr Mussa Juma said to improve education in Kisarawe they were also implementing a campaign dubbed “Tokomeza Zero” in order to reduce or to completely eliminate educational challenges faced in their area.
According to him, through the District Commissioner Ms Jokate Mwegelo, the government launched the program to increase performance of students by improving the concept of learning and conducive teaching environment.
The initiative has seen improved performance of students from 53 per cent in 2016 to 70 per cent in 2017. The intention is to provide quality education in order to achieve sustainable development which can be done by providing a friendly learning and appropriate teaching environment.
He stressed that despite several initiatives, the district still has a serious rate of dropout of female students due to some factors related to inadequate educational infrastructures such as lack of hostels in secondary school.
A Palaka student Rahma Ramadhan, 13, explained that before the toilets were constructed they only had six pit latrines which caused them to spend most of their time standing in long queues waiting to use the toilet.
Explaining on menstrual hygiene, she said most girls faced difficulty dealing with their menstrual circle because the environment of toilets was not conducive.
A community volunteer Ms Maimuna Surutan urged other stakeholders to support the government initiative because students still need good learning environment.
Plan International Region of Eastern and Southern Africa, sub regional director Mr Charles Businge said it was good to see the school improving from time to time despite the challenges.
“It is also good to see the community efforts. By working together we would become stronger in offering support to schools,” he said.