His mantra is “When a student fails even a teacher fails.” This Swahili saying is enough to explain who Mbago Kizega is and how he operates.
Curious and friendly, perpetually in a good mood, Kizega is a primary school teacher.
Teacher Kizega and his students
He is from Dar es Salaam, but his classes are those of Happy Bricks Lukwambe School, a school located 150 km away, along the road to Morogoro, and accessible only by a dirt road.
To travel there are 10 km, by motorcycle, or on foot just as the students in this area are forced to do, who make at least 7 km every day to go and learn. And they do them, with patience and energy, says the teacher, because they come from poor families without the resources to meet basic needs but who encourage them to go to school believing that through education they will be free. In the school, there are children of different ages, from 4 years old to 16 years old, boys and girls equally, and only five teachers with 5 different subjects to teach 8 different classes. English, Swahili, science, geography and history.
Primary school teachers are building the future of Africa
Their main challenge is in the sciences, that mix of physics, chemistry and biology that, with new terms and abstract processes, can frighten students. It is therefore most important to teach them by conveying passion and fueling curiosity.
The key is to approach even the most complicated science subjects in a practical and concrete way, with simple and immediate experiments.
In this way, young pupils will be able to become passionate and continue studying to become great engineers and build the bridge that is missing today and forces them to walk so many miles. Or wise farmers to find innovative strategies and improve field yields. Today they produce mostly corn, but also cassava or fruit trees like papaya, mango and pineapple, some “nuts” and seasonal vegetables. But the climate is changing, and it is important to have scientific training that prepares farmers for the coming uncertainties.
Kizega: a teacher who sows passion among colleagues
This is the situation that this teacher experiences every day, his challenges, his hopes. “As a teacher I feel a responsibility to fulfill the aspirations of these children and I make every effort to ensure that they get a quality education; the SeedScience Project is putting me in a position to do that. It has given me more skills to teach science subjects and to make them more and more interesting to the students,” Kizega explains. Today he is one of the local teachers who is also a trainer for SeedScience, a ScienceSeeder: “I strive to increase the impact of the project by passing on the skills I have acquired to other teachers. Together we are reaching more and more students who now look at science with renewed passion and interest. They no longer see them as so complicated, and I am proud to be able to plant small seeds of science and be able to nurture their dreams. I am proud that I can give them the opportunity to build bridges and break down barriers.”
Article by Marta Abbà with the contribution of Mbago Kizega.