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Kanga Primary School, 1965-2010

The first government Primary School in this area was built in the 1960s to serve the villages of both Bweni and Kanga. It had only four grades, which meant that children continuing to Standard 7, the end of primary schooling, had to walk to Kirongwe school, two hours away. By the 1970s, this school had expanded the number of classes to allow children to complete their primary education. By the 1990s the school had become very dilapidated and it was decided to build new separate schools for Bweni and Kanga. All school building is carried out by local people, although the government provides materials and usually the services of a builder to supervise the construction.

The children begin school at the age of 7 and complete by fourteen. They study Swahili, maths, English, science, geography and history. During the period of ujamaa (African socialism) the children were also expected to cultivate the school gardens, as can be seen, but this policy was later dropped.

Most of the teachers who serve in rural schools such as these come from the mainland, and although there have been increasing numbers of locals who have trained as teachers, these remain a minority. In the early years all the teachers were male, but over the years, a few female teachers have also been appointed. Teachers are supposed to be given housing, but often there are insufficient for the numbers concerned. Some teachers work with great dedication, but some complain about the very difficult living conditions and the inadequate schools – not enough classrooms, desks or equipment, and children so poor that they cannot always afford proper uniforms or stationery – and seek transfers to schools with better conditions.