The cultivation of values is an essential ingredient of educational activity. It is one that RfLUK try to foster where ever possible, in order to counter the dominant trend of focusing on information transfer at the expense of character-building and the learning of life-skills. This has lead us to be active in three fields of education.
The NESt Initiative
The NESt INITIATIVE arose out of Dr. Schweitzer's intention to confront current aspects of social, economic, political and cultural human activity with the ethics of Reverence for Life. He had planned to tackle this in Volume IV of his Philosophy of Civilisation, a book he never managed to write. Volume III (recently translated from the German by Percy Mark and now published in English by NESt Publications) deals with the history of ethics in human thought up to the middle of the last century and attempts to give Schweitzer's ethical philosophy of "Reverence for Life" a firm foundation in thought. It concludes with a passionate call for a "new spirit" to infuse all human endeavour, to keep alive any hope for a future for humankind.
RfLUK has taken up the challenge of this "call" on the assumption that to usher in such a new spirit will require the accomplishment of us taking the next step in the evolution of humankind. This has lead to the development of the NESt Initiative as an educational experiment to explore the revival of ethical values at all levels of education, including those of adults. The burden of stepping over the threshold leading to this next evolutionary step will fall on future generations. Therefore the NESt project's primary aim is to infiltrate the curricula to which children, teenagers and students are currently exposed.
Those wishing to explore this Initiative further will find full information about this "work in progress", including teaching recourses for key stage 3 students and adults under our "Resources" pages.
Primary Education in Tanzania
For several years before our partnership with SAHU began, they have been supporting children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS enabling them to attend primary school wearing a uniform (essential to make the children feel included) and having had a breakfast of porridge every day. They have also helped several such schools to stay open by paying rent and buying materials like books and pencils. RfLUK now helps SAHU to continue with this ongoing outreach work.
Pedagogy in Tanzania's Secondary Education
The three founding members of SAHU have studied philosophy in Harare in Zimbabwe and two of them are now professionally active in the field of education. During the last few years SAHU have organised seminars for teachers in and around Dar es Salaam in an effort to improve standards of education in Tanzania. They have told us that many youths from poor families living in slums are left idle after finishing a formal primary and secondary education that has not equipped them with basic life-sustaining skills. This current system of education is not adequately preparing the next generation for independence and leaves many without hope or direction.
They have therefore set up a project introducing " ENGAGEMENT PEDAGOGY TRAINING FOR TEACHERS" (EPTT) in order to improve the quality of education delivered to disadvantaged children in the regions of Dar es Salaam and Pwani.
The project aims to equip teachers with the necessary skills which enables them to deliver an education that is meaningful to the children’s future and raises awareness of the intrinsic value of all life. Engagement Pedagogy is a teaching method that encourages teachers to involve all educational stakeholders – parents, guardians, sisters and brothers, civil society and community leaders and helps children internalise what they learn. Several well attended seminars have already been held successfully.
The project which has been planned will provide training in this method of teaching to 320 teachers in the regions of Pwani and Dar es Salaam and will benefit 80,000 children aged 7 - 20 years in an area where one teacher reaches out to 250 children.
RfLUK has been helping SAHU raise the necessary funds to allow this programme to go forward.
A fully detailed grant application can be accessed under "Resources"