My son, you see, practice makes perfect!

Joshua receives his Certificate of Secondary Education Examination with flying colors.

Joshua Mwanjala, who graduated from St. James Kilolo Secondary School at the end of the last year 2022, is one of the students who achieved best results (Division One) in the fourth grade final exams.

In my conversation with Joshua, he told me that he would like to take physics, chemistry, and math in grades 5 and 6 to study engineering at university.

Since November 2022, when he completed his national exams, he is still at home waiting for the results. The government will then assign him to a school where he will then prepare for the A-Levels in grades 5 and 6. He currently helps his mother grow corn and vegetables.

I was recently able to interview Joshua, and he was happy to tell me briefly about his path to study:

My name is Joshua Mwanjala, I am 17 years old. I live on a street called Mkimbizi on the outskirts of Iringa Municipality. My family includes 5 people: my mother, my brother, two other close relatives and me.

I preferred to sit in the back of the classroom

I didn’t always do well in school in my first classes in elementary school. I preferred to sit in the back of the classroom and never paid much attention to the teacher. I didn’t cram either, and my results were very bad, really bad, but that didn’t bother me. I always thought school was unimportant because I saw how many parents around me were merely farmers.

During my primary school years at Ukombozi Primary School (public school), I told my mother that there is no point in working hard and doing well in school because there is not enough work when you are older.

But my mother said, “Son, life is very hard and no one knows what the future holds. But if you have an education, you have more options and more opportunities. Doing well in school can greatly improve our chances for success in life,” so please work hard at your studies to improve your own and your family’s lives.

I have become a better student because I want to have more opportunities in the future. I thought long and hard about what my mother said to me and decided to try harder at school on all levels. The first thing I did was sit down in the front of the classroom. There I could listen to the teacher and concentrate on my notes. Every morning before school, I eat breakfast because if I don’t eat breakfast, I have a hard time concentrating in class. I like to read after school and review my notes in the evening.

When I was in the seventh grade of elementary school, I was one of the best students, and my teachers also liked me very much and were always ready to support me and help me in all situations so that I could succeed in my subjects. My results at the end of elementary school were very good nationwide, which motivated me a lot to try hard for four years in secondary school in St. James Kilolo.

My mother said, “Son, you see, practice makes perfect!”

In secondary school, my biggest challenge was English, because I had been learning all subjects in Kiswahili since kindergarten, except for English, which even the teachers didn’t know very well. It was very hard for me because all the classes were in English. This bothered me a lot and caused me to redouble my efforts to learn English by intensively using all methods of communication, i.e. reading, speaking, listening and writing.

Now I have successfully passed my secondary school exams! After I finished my exams, I looked in my results and I felt that I even outperformed some students who, unlike me, had already attended private schools during their elementary school years.

Finally, my mother was very proud and said, “Son, you see, practice makes perfect!”