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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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.

Blogs and news

Children and teacher raise their hands. Malawi Primary School. Credit: GPE/Tara O'Connell
January 10, 2019
As we start 2019, we share some of our New Year’s resolutions to ensure more children are in school and learning.
  In the front row, two blind students use Braille machines during class.  Kisiwandui primary school in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
December 03, 2018
On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities we are republishing an edited version of an op-ed previously posted on Project Syndicate.
A mural depicting children with disabilities going to school. Zanzibar. Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
July 27, 2018
Photo story: View the impact that a US$5.2 million GPE grant to Zanzibar has made in building a more inclusive education system.

Latest grants

Children in a classroom in Zanzibar. Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud

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.
  2. Improve the mastery of skills in literacy and numeracy in non-formal basic education.
  3. Promote early childhood development to increase enrollment.
  4. Institutionalize and mainstream effective ways of promoting literacy and numeracy skills acquisition.
  5. Strengthen capacity of the education system and its human resources for improved coordination, planning and management.
  6. Strengthen management for effective collaboration monitoring and evaluation of subsector plans including the LANES program.

Zanzibar received an implementation grant of US$5.76 million for the period 2018-2021. The program development objective is that "children are increasingly entering primary school at the right age and with 2 years of pre-primary exposure and all disadvantaged children (particularly rural poor and children with physical and learning difficulties) can access all levels of pre-primary, basic and secondary education."

The program development goals are:

  1. More children at the right age are receiving 2 years of pre-primary education supported by parents and communities; this will be achieved by improving equitable on-time entry to pre-primary schools; expanding access to well-equipped pre-primary programs; strengthening teaching and learning quality; improving learning outcomes through parenting and community engagement; and leadership, management, and evidence-based research.
  2. Schools and teachers in schools meet inclusive education standards; activities include finalizing, updating and completing policy, curriculum and standards; improving access to infrastructure, assistive devices and materials; strengthening teaching reform and pre-and in-service curriculum; and assuring and monitoring quality standards.
  3. High-quality, timely, and evidence-based annual monitoring and review; this goal includes improving MoEVT administration; annual audits; and the annual joint sector review

The Swedish Agency for International Development (SIDA) act as GPE grant agent.


All amounts are in US dollars.

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

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Tanzania. For detailed results from GPE funding, please look for progress reports in the Grants section.


Primary completion rate (%)

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP (%)

Public expenditure on education as a share of public expenditure (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained (%)

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.

Last updated November 08, 2018