The Story of Edmund Rice Sinon
Edmund Rice Sinon Secondary School is a private Catholic school for young men and women in the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha and is managed by the Congregation of Christian Brothers East Africa District for the Archdiocese. It was founded in 1988 in two classrooms in the neighbouring Engosengiu Primary school.
The initiative for a secondary school came from village leaders as early as 1984. Originally they aimed to raise funds to develop some of the classrooms that existed at the Primary School and use these for secondary education. Due to financial difficulties, these people went to the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha to request assistance in the development of the school. He in turn went to the international teaching group, the Congregation of Christian Brothers, and invited them to support and eventually administer the school. They have helped develop the infrastructure of the school for the past 20 years.
In March 1988 the school began in some existing rooms of the Primary School. In 1991 it moved across the road to the present site. The historical agreement made between the appropriate people was that the land west of the road (appox.10 acres) would be land for the Secondary School. The funding of the buildings largely came from the Christian Brothers and their network, principally from south-east Australia.
In the space of less than 20 years, the school has expanded its curriculum and facilities to keep pace with the increase in population, the demands of employers and tertiary institutions, the changing nature of the world we live in and the Catholic Church’s vision of human society. The school now has approximately 1,350 students who are spread across Forms One to Six and come from various religious denominations. Of these students, about 880 are full time boarders while another 230 are hostel students coming to school on Monday morning and going home on Friday evening.
The staff and students of Edmund Rice Sinon strive to live as a community of caring people, not necessarily of the same religious denomination but sharing Christian values and dedication to the personal development of the students they serve – in whatever capacity this may be.
Understanding and valuing the important role of the teacher is a vital factor in encouraging teachers to develop their professional expertise, and to promote and guide their personal interest in the well-being of the students. This is stressed in the documents of Vatican II:
“By creating friendly contacts between students of diverse temperament and background, the School fosters among them a willingness to understand one another. Moreover, the School sets up a kind of centre whose operation and progress deserve to engage the joint participation of families, teachers, various kinds of cultural, civic, and religious groups, civil society, and the entire human community. Beautiful, therefore, and truly solemn is the vocation of those who assist parents in fulfilling their task, and who represent human society as well, by undertaking the role of school teacher.”
Edmund Rice Sinon Secondary School is more than a school. It is a concept that is grounded in universal values and human aspirations such as:
- The human person is made in the image of God.
- Perfection of the human person is successful only in a community context where harmony and respect abound.
- All life is sacred and the dignity of the human person is part of this principle. He/she needs education in the spiritual, physical, intellectual, social and psychological areas of life to mature fully.
- Human beings are caretakers of all natural resources for all generations. Consequently the school is committed to creating programs and practices that are grounded in the above values and aspirations.
Since the start of 2012, the following facilities have been available for use by the staff and students: 20 Classrooms, 2 A-Level Science Rooms, 2 O-Level Science Rooms, 1 Fine Art & Music Room, 1 Internet Room, 3 Computer Rooms, 1 Woodwork Room, 1 Home Economics Room, 1 General Purpose Gathering Space, 1 Lecture Theatre, 1 Multi-purpose Room, 7 Boarding Houses (3 for girls, 4 for boys), 2 Hostels (1 each for boys and girls), General Administration Wing (including A-Level administration), O-Level administration and 1 Library.
Additional to these teaching and accommodation facilities, there is also a Workshop, 2 Kitchens, multiple stores, cowshed and various farm fields.
The student population is targeted for 224 students at each level from Form One to Form Four and 270 for Forms Five and Six giving a total population of about 1,350. The ratio of girls to boys is approximately 40:60 partially reflecting that there are more boarding opportunities for girls elsewhere but also the need for further affirmative action in encouraging girls to further education, an initiative also being undertaken by the Tanzanian Government.
One of the features of the enrolment of the school is its diversity – students of all races and religions are welcome at the school. Approximately 30 tribal groups are present in the school as well as significant numbers from the following religious groups – Catholic, Lutheran, Muslim, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist and Assembly of God.
Accommodation-wise, the school is now able to house over 800 boarders (c210 girls and c250 boys in O-Level and 160 girls and 280 boys in A-Level) and 230 hostel students (all for O-Level for c140 boys and c90 girls).
A wide range of extra-curricular activities is available to students:
Sports including Football, Netball, Basketball, Volleyball and Table Tennis are most popular sports with Athletics having been introduced recently.
Clubs are also popular with opportunities for being involved with local or global issues: clubs include Health, Environment (Malihai), Amnesty International and Anti-Corruption as well as popular interests. Students are also encouraged to become active in assisting those less privileged than themselves – visits to a number of local orphanages are regular.
1988 Purka Secondary School initially established in some rooms at the existing Primary School.
1991 School moved across the road to it’s present site. 8 classrooms, 2 science labs, Admin building and staff room, Agriculture workshop and 2 Staff houses.
1994 Congregation of Christian Brothers take over management of school.
1995 Br. Frank O’Shea becomes Headmaster.
1996 Kitchen built, Food Program starts.
1998 Large Multi-Purpose Hall added
1999 First Hostels built, residential option begins.
2000 The Vocational Training Centre built and opened.
2001/2002 Three further classrooms added, plus a smaller special education classroom.
2004 Internet laboratory is opened
2005 Work commences on A-level (Form 5 and) Campus
March 2006 A Level Campus open – first Form 5 student intake.
February 2007 New Form 5 students commence. School is now Forms 1 to 6.
April 2007 New Administration Building OpenJan
January 2008 Br Clem Barrett becomes Headmaster, replacing Br Frank O’Shea who had led the school community for 13 years.
May 2009 New Science Rooms for A-Level are opened
April 2010 Classroom extensions are developed for A-Level
July 2011 Two new Science Rooms for O-Level, redevelopment of the previous science rooms into Computer Rooms for staff and each level as well as the addition of a Seminar Room and Sick Bay
January 2012 Br Francis Nkwabi cfc takes on the Headmastership replacing Br Clem Barrett who stays at the school in a support role as Registrar.
Redevelopment of main front garden and entrance way including paving also takes place.
June 2013 Redevelopment of the School Hall – enclosed with the addition of an external games court
July 2013 Reconstruction of some senior dormitory accommodation following a fire earlier in the year.