Why a scholarship program?
SCHULBANK organizes its commitment to equal educational opportunities in Tanzania through a scholarship program. We make a promise to our scholarship holders to support them in their initial training until they start their careers. From elementary school to apprenticeship, college or university.
Why we decided to provide support in the form of scholarships from the very beginning is related to principles that have always been important to us.
Self-responsibility and self-esteem are closely linked and drive development out of society. For those whose own problems are permanently solved by third parties, we are concerned that they will lose this basic attitude over time. And so there are countless reports of development projects by Western organizations over the last fifty years that have led to passivity on the part of the state and society. On a large scale as well as on a small scale. Against this background, we want our work to support the state, institutions, churches and people in their responsibility and be part of their solution, rather than a 360° solution provider.
Sovereignty is also a term we often use when talking about the westernization of developing countries. Nothing shapes a society more than its education. We have developed a high degree of sensitivity for the independence of proud Tanzania when it comes to the question of how this country educates its children and what content is important to it. Here we cannot and do not want to have a say.
Sustainability is a big word for any organization. For us it is even doubly important. As an alternative to scholarships, like many other organizations, we have looked into building and operating schools for ourselves. The fact that the construction of schools is the responsibility of the state (see above) is worth only a passing remark in the result. Rather, the investment risk in such a project is immensely high and is influenced, for example, by the developer, contractor, school management, teachers and, last but not least, in a private school, the state. Even much larger organizations than SCHULBANK find it difficult to guarantee the quality of education at these schools in the long term and, this is perhaps the more important point, to make school financing cover costs from domestic funds in the long term. The second aspect of sustainability mentioned at the beginning is obvious: Nothing is more sustainable than investing in people themselves. Directly and without detours via bricks and mortar.
The concept of a small organization like SCHULBANK must be implementable, efficient and scalable. With the scholarship program as we have designed it, we can structure our work very well, automate it to some extent, and above all adapt our growth to the personal conditions of all volunteers.
Scholarship Modules: From elementary school to university
Our scholarships are based on the major phases of education in Tanzania and thus build on each other. If applicants receive a SCHULBANK scholarship, they can count on support from SCHULBANK until they start their careers, largely independent of their performance.
A) Primary School: Scholarships for grades Standard 1-7.
We have awarded a large portion of the scholarships to elementary school children in the past. Their financial support is rather rare in Tanzania. Why support them, some may think, when attendance at state elementary school is free of charge? But it is precisely here that the educational misery in Tanzania begins. An ever-increasing proportion of parents already allow their children to attend private elementary schools in order to avoid the poor educational standards at state schools.
B) Secondary School: Scholarships for grades Form 1-6.
More than 90% of all graduates of private elementary school also attend secondary schools. For those who want to attend college or a training center afterwards, the exam after the Form 4. The two further school years lead to the general university entrance qualification and thus to attendance at a university. For a scholarship at a private secondary school, very good to good final grades from primary school are required.
C) Vocational Training: Scholarships for apprenticeships
For both primary and secondary school graduates, training as a carpenter, nurse or social worker may be a suitable next step in education. To this end, we cooperate with Tanzania’s largest training center, VETA, among others.
D) University, university scholarships
SCHULBANK scholars who have already participated in one or two modules are free to choose their faculty. New applicants for a university scholarship can only be considered for a teaching degree, which is another way SCHULBANK intends to pursue its focus on education. For a scholarship at a university, very good to good final grades from secondary school are required. The amount of support is measured against the funding gap resulting from insufficient state support, if any. In addition, half of the stipend must be repaid within five years.
Requirements and recruitment of our scholarship holders
A decisive criterion for a scholarship at SCHULBANK is the status as a full or half orphan. The financial neediness of the applicants as well as the personal suitability is also a basic requirement. The latter is tested not least in aptitude tests at our partner schools. The applicant screening checklist is extensive and involves interviews and visits to authorities. However, it always ends in the joint assessment of members of a German-Tanzanian committee.
It is important for us to emphasize at this point that we certainly value a committed and motivated basic attitude on the part of the applicants, and for some scholarship modules we also use the past performance record for assessment. However, we are by no means pursuing the promotion of a performance elite.
The recruitment of suitable participants is carried out by our own staff and with the help of a network of NGOs, orphanages, social welfare offices, schools and many others. In the past, we mainly recruited proactively, i.e. on our own initiative. In the future, a structured application process will offer a much larger number of interested parties the opportunity to apply on their own initiative.
If the number of suitable candidates exceeds the number of available scholarships, the decision will be made by drawing lots.
Cooperation with educational institutions
Our goal is to achieve equal opportunities for quality education in Tanzania. Since we do not consider the construction and operation of schools on our own to be sensible and correct, we are constantly on the lookout for educational institutions that are distinguished by high quality, feel a social obligation and are willing to enter into a partnership with us.
SCHULBANK thus cooperates with the most qualified and successful schools, training centers and universities in the country. In doing so, we are not only guided by the
official school rankings
of the country, but instead intensively form our own picture of the schools, what they offer and how they deal with students.
The majority of our educational partners are private schools, whose educational standards are not only significantly higher than those of state schools. Also, unlike government elementary school, private elementary school start using English instead of Swahili as the language of instruction from grade 1. This makes the transition to secondary school (school language English) much easier for the students.
In addition to the required quality of education, we receive a significant contribution to the financing from our education partners, in which they reduce the school fees for our scholarship holders by up to 50% and thus fulfill their social responsibility.
Mentoring & Monitoring
Mentors take on an even more important role for our scholars than we have seen in large university programs here. It is not uncommon for our students to come to our program as young as 6 years old, bringing with them a great deal of uncertainty. Parents or relatives are usually no different, they have also not enjoyed a qualified education.
Our mentors are trained educators, constantly present and important contacts for our scholarship holders and their environment. In difficult situations and important upcoming decisions, we see ourselves as companions and coaches. We hug them, give them advice or even call them to discipline. We strive to recognize learning weaknesses and strengths as well as problems in the social environment of our protégés at an early stage in order to be able to provide targeted support.
Communication, as always, is the basis. Twice a year, we therefore hold a “Parents’ Consultation Day”, during which we get into conversation and talk about the school situation of the protégé, but also the social or domestic situation. In addition, we visit the schools and their teachers several times a week or make home visits to the scholarship holders.
Monitoring is an important tool for our mentors. This is the continuous documentation of the learning outcomes of the fellows, their health and social conditions. In this way, positive and negative developments become visible at an early stage and appropriate assistance can be offered. Monitoring is also a helpful basis for joint planning of the next educational steps.
In the question of financing the scholarships, the financial participation of Tanzanian institutions, but also of parents, relatives or guardians within the scope of their possibilities, is a basic requirement for our commitment.
Educational partners (30-50%): Thus, each new cooperation with an educational institution begins with an agreement on a reduction of school fees for SCHULBANK and its protégés. This is usually between 30-50% and is thus a mainstay of financing. For our understanding of successful development cooperation, this participation is at the same time an important signal for the assumption of social responsibility.
Guardians (8-10%): In order to gain appreciation for our program from guardians and to ensure their future involvement as parents or guardians, they will also be involved with a 25% share of tuition only (excluding incidental school expenses). Depending on the type of school and the amount of ancillary costs, the contribution to the total costs is 8-10%.
This means that around 50% of the funding for the scholarships is already provided by Tanzanian citizens and institutions.
Sponsorship program (50%): The other half of the funding is secured through SCHULBANK’s sponsorship program. Here, an education sponsor pays 75% of the reduced school fees and 100% of the ancillary school costs. Depending on the type of school (day school boarding school), the annual sponsorship contribution results in an under- or over-recovery of the costs incurred. These balances are then balanced through our fund, which receives excess contributions from education sponsors.
In order to ensure the sustainability of our work, our goal is to increase the Tanzanian share of funding to over 80% with the help of additional funding sources.
A scholarship covers these costs.
Support development with scholarships from SCHUL BANK
It is our aim to support and support motivated young people on their educational path up to the beginning of their careers, so that they can independently develop their potential and that of their society to the full.
We support our scholarship holders in various modules, from elementary school to university.
What are the requirements for a scholarship?
Applicants for one of our scholarships must be orphans or parents. In addition, there must be a financial need on the part of the parent or legal guardian, which means that the costs of attending school at one of our partner schools are not possible. Finally, applicants must demonstrate mental and social stability.
Are certain groups of applicants preferred?
Basically, we try to reflect the social cross-section of Tanzania among our scholarship holders. We do not differentiate between genders, religious affiliations or sexual orientations.
Why is a deductible expected?
The deductible of the scholarship holders or their legal guardians is one of our basic principles. It expresses the appreciation of the scholarship recipients for SCHULBANK, thus reducing deadweight effects and also expressing the seriousness of the legal guardians.
How long does a school education take in Tanzania
Depending on the educational path of the individual, the following years can be expected: primary school 7 years, secondary school 4+2 years, training 2 years, colleges up to 3 years, university from 3 years.
What if the school results are not good?
If the school grades are bad, we know this before the certificates are awarded. It is precisely for these situations that our mentors are in close contact with scholarship holders, their teachers and parents or guardians. We also have the opportunity to provide these students with appropriate support in the form of private tuition. And if a class has to be repeated, then that’s no drama for SCHULBANK. A real learning disability is never a reason to withdraw the scholarship prematurely.
Why is it preferred to work with private schools?
SCHULBANK cooperates almost exclusively with private schools in order to maintain an acceptable level of education compared to state schools. In this way, our scholarship holders have equal opportunities compared to students whose parents have the means to avoid the educational shortage at state schools. An important argument is the fact that English is the school language during primary school at private schools, which makes the transition to secondary school, where English is also the language of instruction, much easier.
Who decided between the applicants?
The candidates are selected in two steps. First of all, all formal requirements are checked by our team in Iringa and interviews and home visits are carried out. The resulting group of applicants will then be discussed in a German-Tanzanian committee and finally prioritized.
We are reachable! SCHULBANK is still so small that the person you are talking to still knows the work and challenges in Tanzania personally.