How are students selected?
In partnership with selected local organizations, Vega works with teachers in public primary schools within poor rural and urban communities to identify the most academically-promising students. These students must also be significantly disadvantaged, preference being given to double or single orphans. Students are selected during their last two years of primary school and must continue to succeed academically within these two years in order to be eligible for the program. The selection committee includes program volunteers, community members and teachers, and local government authorities will also be consulted where this could be useful. Once a student receives a scholarship from the program, the selection committee assists the student in identifying and registering with an English-medium secondary school that has been screened and selected by Vega Education.
How much does it cost?
$1,700 (CAD) per year, which is about $142 per month. We encourage donors to commit to sponsoring a student for all of four years of secondary school.
Once admitted to an English medium secondary boarding school through Vega Education, the scholarship covers the following, paid directly to the school: fees, uniform, boarding costs, books, shoes, school supplies, and English tutoring support. In Tanzania, school fees for private secondary boarding school include comprehensive health care coverage.
Why English boarding school?
English is in fact the official language of instruction at all secondary schools in Tanzania. However, students in public secondary schools typically graduate with minimal grasp of the language, having studied under teachers who can barely speak English themselves and often resort to teaching in Swahili instead. If a student is to continue to post-secondary education, where the language of instruction truly is English, it is important that they are comfortable in the language in order to succeed.
In Tanzania, most secondary students board. This is because there are not as many secondary schools across the country as primary schools, and the distance to the nearest secondary school is often not walk-able from villages. In addition, home life in the village is typically not conducive to high academic performance, as students would not have access to a quiet, lighted place to do their homework in the evenings.
How are students supported to succeed?
Vega Education monitors the progress of all students, working closely with schools, teachers, and our partners in Tanzania to ensure students have everything they need to succeed, including English tutoring in the early years, to help make the transition to high-quality secondary education.
Can sponsors choose their student(s)?
Yes! We have a range of screened girls and boys, some from villages and some from urban slums, some single or double orphans, that are awaiting sponsorship today. Simply contact us to let us know as much as you can about the kind of student(s) you would like to sponsor and we will do our best to match you up!
Can sponsors communicate with their student?
Vega Education Fund operates with a lean structure. We run on volunteers here in Canada, and partner with organizations in Tanzania who are on the ground, working closely with students in their communities. Given the significant time required to organize student stories, updates and photos around a one to one sponsorship model, we do not match sponsors to students in this way. In addition, we want to do our part in moving towards de-colonizing development, which means doing development in a way that is most dignifying for the people receiving support. For our students, we feel that means avoiding a one on one connection between a disadvantaged child in Tanzania with a relatively privileged individual or family in Canada. Rather, our sponsors contribute to a 'fund', through which they are able to ensure one (or more) children are able to receive a quality high school education.
How do Sponsors Stay Updated on Students’ Progress?
Sponsors receive a quarterly newsletter that includes a number of sponsored student spotlight stories, as well as stories and thoughts from our partners and schools in Tanzania. This allows all of our sponsors to get a sense of the lives of our students, share in their successes, understand their challenges, as well as share our vision for contributing to a higher-quality education system in the countries where we work. With our quarterly newsletter, sponsors stay connected to the big picture of our work while at the same time knowing that because of them, one more student is going to high school!
Does Vega Education Have Plans Beyond Sponsorship?
Yes! In the future, we plan to add activities such as training for teachers, curriculum strengthening, a teacher exchange program, and post-secondary loans for our students who would like to continue their education.