The Tuition Assistance Program gives students a reprieve from financial burdens that discourage the completion of their secondary school education. The students that fit the criteria to receive TAP are individuals that show commitment to school, their community, and their academics. These individuals show leadership and determination in the classroom. Every student that was chosen to receive tuition assistance was chosen from a board of teachers and administrators who saw the untapped potential of these learners. They believe these students reflect the finest qualities of our school and of the surrounding community. While these students are exemplary in academics, they, unfortunately, have financial hardships that prevent the payment of their school fees. As a secondary math teacher in Lesotho, I see bright, motivated students leave school because of unpaid school fees. Due to the financial hardship of these students, they are not able to attend school continuously, which delays the completion of their secondary school education. TAP is not only a sponsorship, but an opportunity for these students to seek monitorships from teachers and to give back to their school and community. The TAP committee responsible for the implementation of the program wanted to insure that the students are dedicated to the completion of school. Therefore, in order to receive the sponsorships, the students are required to seek regular mentorship meetings and to help with other residual projects with the school. The students will seek mentoring as well as volunteer with our school with an agricultural projects around our school.
A Development Studies teacher at the local High School paid school fees for a learner who showed academic promise. She took on the financial burden of this learner because she saw his potential. This learner is now a potential recipient of TAP. The sentiment of this anecdote is shared among our teachers towards these five students. As stated before, instead of teachers taking on the financial burden, TAP can provide a more sustainable program that helps learners meet their school fees. The school will find non monetary ways to help students meet a fraction of the school fee requirements. The school will have the students help the school in non monetary ways by contributing to our on campus agriculture project. The project, facilitated earlier this year, aims to promote student’s understanding of agriculture by managing the growth of 100 saplings. The project promotes two objectives, firstly, learners will learn the economic importance of sustainable tree farming and secondly, learners will learn agricultural properties of trees. The learners that are receiving the sponsorship will volunteer and keep the trees adequately attended to. The school, in kind, will also deduct the cost of their book fees as a part of their community contribution.
For our short term goal, we want students to continue to seek out teacher support throughout secondary school. If mentorships are successfully implemented during the consecutive quarters, there will be a framework in place for these mentorships to take place after the PCV has ended their service. Our main objective for sustainability is to build student-teacher academic relationships so that learners are more inclined to seek out guidance. Ideally, if we achieve our long term goals, tuition assistance will be autonomous from Peace Corps. Our main objective of this project is to organize an internal administrative body that can follow a TAP framework completely run and funded by the school. Additionally, education in itself is a sustainable property because an education cannot be taken away once it is given to the learner. These learners will also gain the experience of writing sponsorship applications, which is a valuable skill to have as they advance into higher education.