MWANDI UCZ MISSION
The United Church of Zambia oversees 3 schools in this area. One is the OVC Preschool, another is TLC (Teaching and Learning Centre) which is another preschool for the children of the workers of Mwandi Mission. The third is Mwandi UCZ Basic School which gives everyone education from Grades 1 to 9.
Taking place in the OVC drop-in centre, this has 3 sessions each weekday morning for orphans and vulnerable children from Mwandi. There are about 20 children in each hour session which cater for different ages (5-6, 6-7 and 6-7). The programme includes singing and play time, learning English, learning the alphabet, telling stories (see left), counting and health and hygiene. It is funded through donations from overseas and through the local Church.
Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC)
The Pre-school, based in a classroom near the Church, has two sessions (age 6-7 and 5-6) each weekday morning. The time includes play, crafts, learning the alphabet, learning English and having a drink and snack. It is funded through parent's fees and American Churches.
(left: some of the children; right: snacktime)
Mwandi UCZ Basic School
The school is a typical rural school in Zambia, with 25 teachers (the Headteacher being Mr. Tumisiye) for the 900 pupils, aged between 6 and 20. It contains Grades 1-9, having three streams in Grades 1-7 (girls, boys and mixed) and two streams in Grades 8-9. Funded by the Government and other grants, it holds lessons in Science, Mathematics, English, Lozi, Social Studies, Home Economics, Religious Education, Civics (upper school only) and PE. Most lessons are lecturing in style, with pupils memorising information by rote; efforts are being made to encourage independent thinking. With a good ratio being only one textbook between three, and little paper or other resources, the school struggles to be properly equipped. However, the school is well supplied for water, having a public borehole in the grounds, and the Rural Electrification Scheme have just provided electricity to the teacher's houses and some of the classrooms.
From left to right: A classroom, with the borehole in front; the flagpole where the pupils sing the National Anthem each morning; a boy heads off to the toilets; a classrooms
Exams are taken at Grade 7 and Grade 9 and have to be passed to continue to the next grade. The pass mark is determined by the number of places available at the next level; with a few continuing to take O-levels at Grade 12. Anyone at Mwandi wanting to continue their education past Grade 9 has to board at Sesheke High School 70km away, though it is hoped that Mwandi school will be extended to a High school by January 2008. The foundations of the extra classrooms have been laid in faith that donations will arrive to continue building.
The school started in 1882 as a Mission school, and was one of the first in the country to admit girls and teach them something other than sewing and cooking. Mwandi is proud of this tradition, and tries to continue the work by encouraging girls to stay in education. The Government took over all Mission schools at Independence in 1964, returning it to the UCZ Church in 2005.