Part of GPE’s current grant of US$112.5 million to Tanzania is incentivizing the government to spend its education resources more efficiently and equitably.
A surge of students in schools
Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, has an expanding economy and a rapidly growing population. Its education system has numerous challenges, notably a need to significantly improve learning outcomes, including for the children who are thronging to school for the first time, and to address the cognitive development of Tanzanian children, of whom 1 in 3 suffers from malnutrition and its effects on their ability to learn.
The influx of so many students has multiplied the school system’s challenges. Enrollments increased sharply, demonstrating how much demand there was for education. All at once, the country needed more financing, more teachers, more textbooks and more classrooms.
With GPE’s support, the government responded by implementing a national curriculum reform program, deploying teachers where they are needed most and using double shifts for pre-primary and younger primary students, working to improve teacher and school quality and building more classrooms.
Supporting schools with capitation grants
Tanzania’s decision to make 12 years of basic education free and compulsory also came with a commitment to send schools capitation grants (also known as per student spending) to help make up for the lost revenue from the abolishment of fees.
But the capitation grants were beset by problems from the outset. Sometimes the grants never made their way to a school. Sometimes they were smaller than promised. Sometimes they arrived so late in the year that schools couldn’t purchase textbooks and other learning materials. And, taken as a whole, they weren’t doing enough to advance equity in education.
In 2019, GPE joined a results-based funding program in Tanzania known as the Education Program for Results, which is also supported by the World Bank, the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. The program harmonizes aid and incentivizes the government to deliver mutually agreed results.
Making education spending more equitable
To promote equity, GPE and its partners incentivized the government to extend the capitation grants to cover additional children: 1.5 million pre-primary school students and marginalized children who attend non-formal education centers to learn the basics so they can eventually go to a regular school.