Education in Tanzania | Global Partnership for Education



In early March 2017, GPE and UNGEI launched a new tool to support partner countries in addressing gender equality as they prepare or revise their education sector plans.
Photo story: View the impact that a US$5.2 million GPE grant to Zanzibar has made in building a more inclusive education system.
The new education sector plan being developed by the government of Zanzibar aims to expand early childhood education around the country

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’s Education Development Program (ZEDP) for 2008-2016 is the first comprehensive approach to addressing the education challenges in the region. The focus is on increasing equitable access to education and improving the relevance and quality of the education provided.

The ZEDP outlines specific objectives, including:

  1. Strengthening institutional capacity to conduct needs assessments, develop and implement policies and programs, and monitor conditions and results.
  2. Ensure that teachers are trained to meet the demands of the new curriculum and meet required qualifications at all levels.
  3. Establish a more effective recruitment and deployment system to ensure teachers are equitably distributed.
  4. Ensure equitable access to quality pre-school education and primary school for all children.
  5. Conduct a review of needed changes in secondary education to transform it from elite to mass education.
  6. Expand technical and vocational training infrastructures, establish and promote public-private partnerships, and link programs with labor market demands.
  7. Ensure that vocational and technical education and training is accessible to children with special needs.
  8. Improve the quality of and expand access to tertiary and higher education.
  9. Improve access to quality education and training for out-of-school children, youth, and adults.
  10. Strengthen the ministry’s capacity to implement and monitor effective programs that promote girls’ education.
  11. Reduce illiteracy among children with special needs and other vulnerable and marginalized groups.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2014-2017 94,800,000 58,213,210 SIDA
2013-2016 5,200,000 5,194,966 SIDA
Sector plan development 2015 187,309 0 SIDA
2015 245,541 0 UNESCO
  TOTAL 100,432,850 63,408,176  


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/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:

  • Increasing the net enrollment rate from 70.3% in 2012 to 76.4% in 2015.
  • Increasing girls’ Primary School Leaving Examination pass rates from 26.4% in 2012 to 53.6% in 2015.
  • 17,719 teachers and 937 non formal education facilitators trained for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic.
  • 10,868 head teachers and 2,482 ward education coordinators from 17 regions trained on school management skills.

In Zanzibar, the GPE-funded program 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 literacy and numeracy education support program – Implementation report for fiscal year 2014/2015 (Mainland)GPE program 2014-2016 annual implementation report 2015, January-December 2015 (Zanzibar)

Last updated December 22, 2016