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Education in Tanzania

The government of Tanzania envisions education opportunities offered to all and a skilled workforce leading to a high quality of life for all. The country has seen significant progress related to school infrastructure, enrollment, and teacher supply. Teacher/student ratios have improved and transition rates into secondary schools have increased.

Despite these achievements, the education sector still faces several weaknesses. Physical facilities and infrastructure need to be upgraded to facilitate expansion of enrollments. Enrollment remains low at the pre-primary, secondary, and higher education levels. Recruiting and retaining qualified teaching staff, as well as increasing teaching and learning materials at all levels are challenges.

The Education Sector Development Program for Mainland Tanzania was developed with the overall aim to reduce poverty through improving education. It is a comprehensive program aimed at a total transformation of the education sector into an efficient, effective, outcome/output based system. The ESDP vision is “to have an upgraded and coherently planned, managed and monitored educational sector that will develop human capital in order to boost economic growth and eliminate poverty.”

The program intends to develop an integrated and outcomes-oriented education system.

The ESDP emphasizes 9 program objectives:

  1. Sustaining the gains attained through the implementation of prior education sector plans.
  2. Improve the micro and macro management of institutions to create well-functioning schools and other relevant institutions in communities, regions, and districts.
  3. Upgrade learning and teaching processes to ensure access to quality learning programs.
  4. Review key areas of education investment to maximize benefits and optimize monetary investments.
  5. Ensure equitable access to quality education at all levels, skills development, and universal literacy for all men and women.
  6. Expand enrollment in areas most relevant for the promotion of social economic growth and the reduction of poverty.
  7. Establish and strengthen performance and outcomes-oriented monitoring and evaluation of education provision.
  8. Improve the quality and effectiveness of consulting and dialogue structures.
  9. Strengthen and streamline planning and budgeting systems and processes to improve reporting, budget execution and strategic resources allocation.

Zanzibar Education Development Plan II 2017/2018–2021/2022 is the second comprehensive sector-wide strategy. It aims to contribute to the development of skills and knowledge of children and youth, allowing them to realize their full potential and contribute to the development of Zanzibar.

The ZEDP II outlines three objectives:

  1. All children can access and complete a relevant and quality basic education, including increasing access to pre-primary education, upper secondary school, higher education and technical and vocational education and training.
  2. Improved learning outcomes at all levels of the system with graduates able and well qualified to enter the world of work.
  3. Compatible institutional architecture and high quality leadership with access to quality data and research providing for effective and efficient education management and accountability.

The specific interventions by subsector are:

  • Pre-primary and primary education:
    • Increase access to pre-primary and primary school, with a focus on the most disadvantaged areas and children
    • Improve the quality of learning
    • Enhance the leadership and management skills at all levels as part of the decentralization process.
  • Secondary education:
    • Increase access to Form 1 to 4 for all children
    • Improve the quality and relevance of the curriculum in science, technology, English and mathematics to meet labor market demands
    • Enhance leadership and management of schools with clear roles defined for communities, students, teachers and principals.
  • Higher education:
    • Ensure adequacy of graduates have skills with the demands of the labor market
    • Provide pre-service teacher training and professional development that reflects best pedagogical practices
    • Improve the quality of research outputs.
  • TVET, adult literacy, alternative learning and continuing education:
    • Provide training relevant to market demands, delivered by well-trained instructors
    • Increase the adult literacy rate.
  • Quality and cross cutting issues:
    • Review and update the curriculum to reflect relevant learning expectation and gender-sensitive content
    • Provide professional development for teachers in mathematics, science and English language and child-centered pedagogical skills
    • Introduce ICT for learning
    • Review the learning assessment system
    • Provide inclusive education to allow all children to attend school
    • Develop a comprehensive strategy on like skills, school health, nutrition, reproductive health and protection
  • Institutional reform, leadership and management
    • Establish the appropriate architecture to deliver education effectively in a decentralized fashion
    • Build capacity of leaders, managers and administrators
    • Provide quality research to allow decision-making based on robust data from EMIS.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2018-2020 5,800,000 (Zanzibar) 0 SIDA
2014-2018 94,800,000 (Mainland) 76,634,926 SIDA
2013-2016 5,200,000 (Zanzibar) 5,194,966 SIDA
Sector plan development 2015 187,309 - SIDA
2015 245,541 245,541 UNESCO
Program development 2016 144,434
  TOTAL 106,377,284 82,075,433  


Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.


Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)

Primary Completion Rate (%)

Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)

Out-of-school Children Rate (%)

Domestic Financing

Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)

Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)

Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)


Student/Trained teacher ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

GPE in Tanzania

The GPE-funded program in Mainland Tanzania began in 2014. The program is focused on improving literacy and numeracy for children of pre-primary and lower primary ages with special attention to marginalized children. The key intermediate results expected are: improved skills in learning and teaching reading, writing and arithmetic skills; improved education sector planning and management; and improved community engagement.

The six components of the grant are:

  1. Improve the mastery of skills in literacy and numeracy in pre and primary schools through in-service teacher training, provision of adequate teaching and learning materials, and revising the primary education and teacher training curricula.
  1. Improve the mastery of skills in literacy and numeracy in non-formal basic education.
  2. Promote early childhood development to increase enrollment.
  3. Institutionalize and mainstream effective ways of promoting literacy and numeracy skills acquisition.
  4. Strengthen capacity of the education system and its human resources for improved coordination, planning and management.
  5. Strengthen management for effective collaboration monitoring and evaluation of subsector plans including the LANES program.

Source: Program document. September 2013

In Zanzibar, the GPE-funded program aims to improve student learning. The four components of the program are:

  1. Expand and strengthen pre-primary education to provide a greater number of students with a strong foundation for primary education.
  2. Improve student performance through better teaching and improved access to learning materials with a focus on mathematics and science.
  3. Create a safe learning environment to support all learners according to their needs.
  4. Strengthen the accountability of the education system.

Source: Program document. March 2013

The ministry of education and vocational training leads the two programs with the Swedish Agency for International Development (SIDA) as grant agent. For Mainland Tanzania, the Government of Canada is the coordinating agency. For Zanzibar, UNICEF is the coordinating agency.


The GPE-funded program in Mainland Tanzania has contributed to the following outcomes:

  • New textbooks for Grade 3, aligning with textbooks for Grades 1 and 2, were developed and approved for printing.
  • 22,993 teachers have been trained on the revised curriculum.
  • 519 teachers have received training on special needs education.
  • 125 learning needs assessment kits were delivered to schools. They will enable schools to identify children who require special support.
  • A record manager system for basic education was piloted in 3 regions before roll out.
  • 6,000 copies of information, education and communication materials have been distributed to raise awareness in communities about the program.

Source: GPE-LANES mid-year report FY2016-17.

In Zanzibar, the GPE-funded program concluded in December 2016 and has contributed to these outcomes:

  • 30 pre-primary education centers established.
  • 335 teachers undergoing pre-primary training and 6,882 primary and secondary teachers trained in how to achieve the minimum achievement standards.
  • 600 upper primary teachers trained on difficult topics in mathematics, science and English subjects.
  • 1,700 science and 1,700 mathematic kits distributed to 258 primary schools.
  • 17,407 books distributed to 23 schools in Urban West and South regions and 73 schools in South and North regions.
  • 77 participants trained on basic education standards and expected to manage school and school performance
  • 350 teacher counsellors trained on how to provide support to children in gender specific issues
  • 133 school counselors trained to support students dealing with drug abuse, sexual harassment, misuse of technology and peer pressure.

Source: GPE program 2014-2016 annual implementation report 2015

Last updated January 26, 2018