Email communication is important and has helped a lot to disseminate information. We should encourage it to continue because it saves a lot of time and costs. However, whenever there is an opportunity of accommodating the traditional one, namely face to face communication, we must use it. There are other things that the distant communication cannot solve.
The six schools that the ELCT–Southern Diocese owns were linked to the GPENreformation in May 2018 and were granted their membership. Everything was done through emails. In the project proposal I stated that it would be important that the schools were visited, and I am glad that the GPENreformation council accepted the proposal and funded the visit. In this article I briefly report what went on in that visit.
Having arrived in Tanzania on the night of 12.11.2018, I made a visit to the school on 13.11.2019. I had the opportunity to meet the staff members and talk with them what GPENreformation is and what are its objectives and what benefit the school will get as a member of the network. Here I discovered that what was in some of their mind is that the GPENr will help the school with the problems they face daily. I am glad that I visited because this was clarified in their mind that helping the member schools in that way is not the first objective of the network. The network links the school with other schools in the world and offers opportunities for member schools to share and learn from each other. This is why cooperation with local schools is insisted and involvement in the networked schools world-wide is important. They were happy that they were given this opportunity to become one of the members and asked whether it is possible for at least one teacher from there to become an ambassador. To that I said, it is possible, but it depends on what the GPENr council will say.
At Midlands School, it was not possible to meet with the students because that was the time they were doing examinations. But we had the opportunity to walk around the school and see the school environments. Here are a few photos taken from that visit.
EMMARBERG GIRLS SEC SCHOOL and RUHUJI SEC SCHOOL
On 14.11.2018 I travelled to the Southern part of Tanzania. I went by bus as going by plane would make no difference. On 15.11.2018 I visited four different institutions. The first one was Amani College of Business Management and Technology. This is college is not a member yet, but it was important to meet the staff and tell them about this opportunity. They were happy and were willing to join the GPENreformation network.
After that, I visited Emmaberg Girls Secondary School. The students were preparing for the next day’s graduation and so I had to discuss only with a few members of the stuff. But I am glad the meeting with them was fruitful. Like those in Midlands Secondary school, they also asked if one teacher from there would apply to become an ambassador.
Then we went to Ruhuji Secondary School. The students were still in the examinations so here also I had to meet with the a few teachers that were not invigilating. We discussed on the objectives of the GPENreformation and why it is necessary for them to be members and what they will benefit. They were happy to be part of the GPENr family.
Then I had to visit an school that hasn’t begun yet but they have built and will soon take off. This was Matiganjola. According to their explanations, the school is meant to take off in 2020. They were asking if already it could be linked to the network. Here are their buildings.
KIDUGALA LUTHERAN SEMINARY AND KIDUGALA BIBLE SCHOOL
The two institution are in one place and so it was possible to talk to them at the same time for they are more like one institution. Here, things were rather easy because the communication with them was regularly done before because the school was invited to attend the conference in Arusha. So the questions they had had were rather resolved even before I could go. But my visit was still important as now they heard about GPENreformation from the horse’s mouth.
With the Bible School, we talked if they could be linked with the other Bible Schools in other zones where they could have exchange of teachers and even visit each other and learn from one another. This was left to see whether there are other colleges in the network. I promised to come back on this topic.
MUFINDI GIRLS AND IGUMBILO GIRLS.
The visit to their schools was cancelled because on the scheduled day they had graduations. But I met with the heads of the schools on 18.11.2018 on an event that brought all the school heads together. The few minutes we had we shared some thoughts and they promised to ask if something about the network is unclear to them.
Like I wrote in the introduction, email communication must be complimented by physical visitations. It makes us see what is there and what could be done, where and when possible. My quick analysis showed that, linking the schools to the network is necessary and we should discuss with the owners to see if the schools’ roles could be changed from being mere schools to being schools that build own identity that will make the difference from other schools. What I observed, and this was part of my presentation as well, there is nothing that tells that our schools are protestants. The schools by themselves cannot do anything–it is the owner who has the mandate to modify the objectives of the schools.
As the linking of the schools continue, owners will be challenged to think about making their schools unique. I am glad that I had the opportunity to visit them. I received invitations from Iringa and Makete that I could visit their schools, but the time was too short. I promised to discuss with them via emails, the thing that I am doing. I still believe that in six-months time from November, all the schools in the southern zone will be linked in GPENreformation network.
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