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Interview with Diana Naivasha, Vice-president of the Board of the French School of Dar es Salaam


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“My household is non-French speaking and like many Tanzanians, I have grown up in an environment where English, was used as the 2nd or 3rd language. Yet, I am very grateful that my parents made...

Q: Your family is Tanzanian but your child is registered at the French School. What made you choose this school?

D.N.: “My household is non-French speaking and like many Tanzanians, I have grown up in an environment where English, was used as the 2nd or 3rd language. Yet, I am very grateful that my parents made sure to provide me with the best education when they sent me to an English medium school which allowed me to better get informed about what is going on in the world, interact with new people from different countries and possibly better succeed in life. I strongly believe that French, featuring among one of the most spoken language in the world, is becoming increasingly important in today’s evolving world. Therefore, as my parents did for me, I wanted to provide my children a greater opportunity to expand their understanding of the world through French.”


Q: What is the main difference between the French School and other international schools in Dar es Salaam?

D.N.: “Most parents will relate to the task of searching for the “right school” for their children. Therefore, even with all the national and international options available, we were lucky to have found the French School and its community of parents. There is no other school in Dar es Salaam that can help my child to become bilingual in English and French and since I consider languages as a must nowadays, the French School was definitely the right choice for us. In addition, the school is under the supervision of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Education and part of the largest international network of schools (AEFE), with International Baccalaureate and Cambridge English accreditation, and it is more affordable than other inter-national schools.”

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Children having fun at the Arthur Rimbaud French School. It welcomes more than 300 students, with close to 40 different nationalities in modern educational facilities such as laboratories, canteen, swimming pool, multi-sport courts. The new campus at Mawenzi Road, Masaki, now hosts the Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools.

Q: Is the French School open to any nationality?

D.N.: “Of course, it is. Here the teachers have a fundamental and realistic grasp of the fact that the majority of the students come from different countries and not all of them are French native speakers. Actually, one third of the students are Tanzanians. Therefore, teachers ensure a child’s mind is made whole with knowledge taught and acquired in the classroom, so their parents are able to effortlessly follow, support and guide their child through their academic journey.”


Q: During this last school year, because of the pandemic, many international schools remained closed for many weeks, how did the French School handled the situation?

D.N.: “The global pandemic forced businesses and schools to shut down and our ‘norms’ to adapt. It was a testing period for our school and from March to May 2020, when schools had to close, we also went online, from Mondays to Fridays, every single day. During the second wave of COVID-19, in close collaboration with the French Embassy, the school was able to implement stringent health protocols which enabled our school to remain open, whilst all others shut down. The school’s ability to remain open during that period is a proof of the resilience of its management, teachers, students and parents.”

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Q: When a student reaches grade 12, what are the options regarding high studies?

D.N.: “Secondary level students get to participate in internship programs in preparation for worldwide higher learning institutions. Upon completing Grade 12, our students are fully equipped mentally and academically to enroll in renowned Institutes abroad. France is the fourth-most popular destination for international students, after the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, and so the first non-English speaking destination for foreign students! Only in France, 1265 Master’s programs are taught in English and easy accessible. In 2020 around 358,000 international students chose to study in France, and this number is increasing yearly. By graduation, our students are multilingual, in their mother-tongue(s), French, English and Spanish! The world will be their oyster.”


Q: Can you describe the French School in one sentence?

D.N.: “The French School is a foot-hold to the world.”