The National Sugar Institute is ranked the top agricultural vocational school in Tanzania.

Lutheran World Relief-supported school in Tanzania gets top rating

Moved from the back of the pack

Tanzania’s National Sugar Institute (NSI) was recently named the top agriculture vocational school by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture.

The top rating is based on the results of the most recent round of standardized testing, which showed NSI students outperformed their peers at the 35 other agriculture vocational schools across the country. This is the first time NSI achieved the designation. Traditionally, the school scores in the lower tier.

NSI recently adopted a new, first-class curriculum developed by Lutheran World Relief as part of our Investing in New Ventures of Entrepreneurial Students in Tanzania (INVEST) project. INVEST is designed to address the gaps in student training and preparation in Tanzania’s agriculture vocational training system.

Findings of our comprehensive labor market needs assessment includes powerful experiential learning opportunities so that students gain real-world experience and are better prepared for employment upon graduation or are equipped to run their own businesses.

National Sugar Institute and Katrin instructors visit student interns on the job

New curriculum makes major impact in short time

The new curriculum has only been in place at NSI one academic year, but has already made a significant impact. During that relatively short time, 27 students completed internships and 15 were awarded prestigious start-up capital — in the form of challenge grants — to launch their own small agricultural businesses. Both the internships and the challenge grants are a part of the overall INVEST initiative. Student entrepreneurs who are awarded grants receive direct mentorship from leading agriculture business owners. Read about two young entrepreneurs who won challenge grants.

The Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, our partner in this initiative, has taken notice of the success. Together we’re expanding the curriculum to all of the country’s vocational training schools, ultimately reaching more than 25,000 students. The Ministry has also hired more than 100 interns from NSI and Katrin, the other school currently implementing INVEST. Each intern receives housing and a stipend for meals and transportation.

Private companies in the dairy, poultry, wine and natural insecticide industries are also drawn to the program and provide internships that give students hands-on opportunities. Like the Ministry of Agriculture, they benefit from access to market-ready students and graduates, participation in students’ education prior to graduation, a viable internship program model and a formal partnership with the technical institutes.

INVEST has proven to be a model for success, sustainability and scalability. In the future, Lutheran World Relief sees opportunity to expand the internship program, develop a more in-depth training for teachers and award additional challenge grants so that more entrepreneurs can develop their promising business ideas.

Tanzanian government constructed education centers for INVEST