With the launch of the electronic registration system for students in public and private primary schools, major reforms have been ushered in the education sector in Tanzania.
Even though governments are primarily responsible for the right to education, civil society plays a key role in holding governments accountable for commitments and outcomes. Read examples on how...
In this article, Julia Gillard says that despite notable progress in the last few years, millions of children with disabilities are still denied their right to education. For GPE, ensuring that...

Education in Tanzania

The government of Tanzania has developed its Education Sector Development Plan for 2016/17 to 2020/21. The plan is guided by the national policy framework: ‘Education and Training Policy’, which combines a commitment to universal basic education of 11 years; an expansion of technical and vocational education, combined with greater enrollments in science and mathematics; and a consistent focus on quality teaching and learning. The priorities, objectives and strategies of the plan converge to four major topics: (i) access, participation and equity, (ii) quality and learning, (iii) education for social and economic development, and (iv) system structure, governance and management.

  1. Access, participation and equity focuses on equitable participation and completion of basic education for all, with particular attention to excluded groups and out-of-school children, and increased access to post-basic learning opportunities. The specific objectives are to:
    • make progress towards universal participation in one year of pre-primary education,
    • increase completion of eleven years of basic education through universal access to primary and significant reduction in dropouts, and reduce the stock of out-of-school children,
    • improve equity in access to education by increasing enrollments of marginalized groups, and
    • improve the provision of learning opportunities for youth and adults, including upper secondary and greater coverage of literacy, essential skills and adult education.
  1. Quality and learning aims to improve the quality of education which end result is to provide learners with relevant knowledge, skills and abilities for their personal well-being and also to allow them to become efficient workforce. This will be achieved by:
    • making learners acquire acceptable levels of foundation, transferable and vocational skills and knowledge through TVET (technical, vocational education and training), and adult and non-formal education,
    • producing trained and qualified teachers in all subjects,
    • tracking learning achievements on a regular basis through a national curriculum-based system,
    • developing conducive learning environments for learners and teachers,
    • developing curricula that are relevant to local and global opportunities and challenges,
    • improving school leadership through training of directors, and the use of planning and performance monitoring tools,
    • using ICT to improve teaching and learning, and
    • conducting research and studies.
  2. Education for social and economic development aims to ensure that competencies meet the needs of the job market in key sectors and contribute to increased productivity and competitiveness; and that healthy, peaceful, equitable, safe and environmentally-friendly knowledge, attitudes and practices are promoted. The country will particularly invest in:
    • Expanding access to TVET (technical, vocational education and training) and higher education,
    • Improving the relevance of TVET and higher education courses to meet the needs of the job market,
    • Ensuring that TVET and adult learners have relevant, transferable, specialized and entrepreneurial skills for self-employment, productivity and competitiveness,
    • Mainstreaming local and global citizenship awareness in basic and adult education programs, including environment, gender, human rights, peace and social justice, disaster prevention, basic and reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS.
  3. System structure, governance and management focuses on:
    • Strengthening sustainable planning and management capacities of national, regional and local officials, and enhancing accountability,
    • Strengthening internal and external coordination mechanisms of all education ministries, agencies and stakeholders from central to local levels,
    • Making financial planning result-oriented and more equitable and improving budget execution capacity especially at deconcentrated levels,
    • Ensuring that adults and youth, including those out-of-school, have access to several avenues to resume or continue learning and get relevant qualifications.

Source: Education Sector Development Plan (2016/17 – 2020/21)

Regarding Zanzibar, the 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.

Source: Zanzibar Education Development Plan II 2017/2018–2021/2022


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

Zanzibar received a new implementation grant of US$5.76 million in December 2017, which aims to:

  1. Increase the net enrollment rate in standard 1 for children having received 2 years of pre-primary education, through improving on-time entry in pre-primary schools, strengthening teaching and learning quality, improving learning outcomes and enhancing leadership and management.
  2. Increase the number of schools and teachers in schools meeting standards for inclusive education, through revising policies, improving access through infrastructure, and strengthening teaching and curriculum.
  3. Enhance the education system’s management.

Source: Zanzibar ESPIG program document 2018-2021

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 and 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 previous GPE grant contributed to significant progress in the education sector including:

  • The net enrollment rate for pre-primary increased from 7% in 2012/13 to 25.4%, and the net admission rate increased from 4% in 2012/13 to 25% in 2016/17, established.
  • The number of children enrolled in TUTU centers (dedicated to pre-primary education) increased from 3,911 in 2012/13 to 15,970 in 2016/17,
  • The net enrollment net for primary school increased from 81.5% in 2011 to 84.8% in 2015,
  • 39 additional TUTU centers were established in Mkoani and North B districts,
  • 78 mentors were trained for TUTU centers in North B and Mkoani districts,
  • All 55 planned TUTU lesson scripts were developed for radio lessons,
  • Monitoring and evaluation of TUTU centers were conducted on a regular basis, involving primary school head teachers and district education officers,
  • 10,342 teachers at all levels were trained on how to apply minimum achievement standards and how to adjust teaching,
  • 335 teachers were trained in pre-primary teaching, and a total of 412 pre-primary and lower primary teachers were also trained under the Dubai Care “Mtoto Kwanza” program,
  • 6 self-directed learning modules were developed and 555 teachers were equipped with preschool pedagogy,
  • Curriculum framework and 10 subject syllabi were developed, including professional studies, ICT, English, Kiswahili, Arabic, Michezo, Hisabati, Sayansi, Sayansi Jamii, and Dini ya Kiislamu,
  • 900 upper primary teachers were trained in mathematics, science and English subjects,
  • 3,964 primary school teachers were trained on how to use effectively the new primary education curriculum, textbooks and learning materials,
  • 762,460 textbooks were published for upper primary classes,
  • 10 reading tents were established and 600 teacher librarians were trained,
  • 1,360 children attended library programs,
  • 90 safe play areas were established for pre-primary children,
  • 392 counselling teachers were trained,
  • 40 schools were equipped with safe counselling spaces,
  • The Ministry of education and vocational training received feedback from school counsellors and a meeting was held to present and discuss their implementation in the presence of 88 school counsellors,
  • 1,056 counsellors were trained on how to provide support to children in gender specific issues,
  • School counsellors conducted awareness meetings with girls to discuss the issues of early marriage and pregnancy before completing basic education,
  • 920 teachers were trained on how to identify children’s special needs and how to adjust teaching approaches accordingly,
  • 100 children with special needs were provided with white cane and hearing aids, and 1,000 received glasses,
  • 30 schools were equipped with computers and 20 schools received braille machines,
  • 355 assistant head teachers and section leaders were trained on how to use basic education standards to manage schools and school performance,
  • Education Management Information System (EMIS) data was improved and annual statistical digest was published timely over the course of the program.

Source: Completion Report for the Program funded by the Global Partnership for Education: 2014-2016 by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training Zanzibar, June 2017

Last updated April 04, 2018