Education in Tanzania

Tanzania’s education sector plan (ESP) is the result of a meaningful and extensive collaboration between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; the President’s Office-Regional and Local Government Administration; and development partners, including civil society.

The education plan represents a huge accomplishment because for the first time in Tanzania, the plan provides an overarching framework within which the plans and budgets of all implementing agencies must be set and aligned to.

The new ESP highlights two key policy initiatives:

  1. Tanzania’s commitment to providing twelve years of free and compulsory basic education to the entire population, leaving no one behind
  2. The progressive expansion of technical and vocational education and training to provide Tanzania with the pool of skilled human resources needed to advance to becoming a semi-industrialized middle-income country by 2025.

Since the government of Tanzania started implementing a fee-free basic education policy in 2016, enrollment has increased in basic education and the number of out-of-school children has decreased. Survival rates have also dramatically increased. However, the education plan recognizes that increasing school access while simultaneously improving learning outcomes will present a major challenge for the country.

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

Grade 6 students listening to their teacher in Collège moderne de N'Guyakro, Côte d'Ivoire. Credit: GPE/Carine Durand
December 10, 2019
The Global Partnership for Education has approved new grants to support efforts by Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia (Somaliland and Puntland) and Zimbabwe to...
Joint sector review delegates with members of the community. Tanzania. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
November 12, 2019
In the lead up to its joint education sector review, the Government of Tanzania organized field visits in six regions of the country. What were some of the key take-aways?
6th grade classroom at Kisiwandui primary school in Zanzibar  Tanzania, April 2017  Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
May 01, 2019
GPE has approved new funding to build on Tanzania’s successful efforts to get more children in school and learning – especially girls and children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Latest grants

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

Development objective: Enhance universal access to and participation in quality pre-primary, primary and non-formal education with particular attention to learners from vulnerable groups who need greater opportunities for primary education

Allocation: US$90,000,000

Years: 2019-2023

Grant agent: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

Program document

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.

Development objective: improve students’ learning by expanding and strengthening pre-primary education, improving student performance through better teaching and improved access to learning materials with a specific focus on the sciences and mathematics, creating a safe learning environment which supports all learners according to their needs and strengthening the accountability of the education system

Allocation: US$5,761,000

Years: 2018-2022

Disbursements: US$2,497,127

Grant agent: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

Program document

Zanzibar received an implementation grant of US$5.76 million for the period 2018-2022. 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 2019-2023 90,000,000 - SIDA
2014-2018 94,800,000 94,800,000 SIDA Progress report
Sector plan development 2015 187,309 - SIDA
2015 245,541 245,541 UNESCO
Program implementation 2018-2022 5,761,000 2,497,127 SIDA
2013-2016 4,912,511 4,912,511 SIDA Progress report
2016 144,434 - SIDA
  TOTAL 196,050,795 102,455,179    

GPE has also provided the Tanzania Education Network (TEN) with a grant from the Civil Society Education Fund, to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Tanzania, and GPE data shows progresses on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework for Zanzibar and Mainland.


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 (%)

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 June 11, 2019