Education is a key component of the Government of Tanzania’s development agenda. Significant gains have been made in access and equity in primary education, and today Tanzania has one of the highest net enrollment ratios in Africa, with girls’ enrollment very close to parity with boys’ enrollment at all primary education levels.
Despite these successes, many challenges persist related to retention, completion and transition to secondary education, as well as quality of education, actual learning outcomes, and the relevance of skills that graduates bring to the economy. Many children enrolled in school drop out before completing primary education, especially girls. At higher levels of the education system, the situation is even worse: the net enrollment rate for lower secondary education is 30.8 percent, while the net enrollment rate for upper secondary education is only 1.9 percent. The results of a study on the quality of education showed that when Tanzanian children finish primary level their performance is extremely poor with 20 percent unable to read basic Kiswahili, 50 percent unable to read basic English, and 30 percent unable to do basic math.
USAID improves the quality of primary education by targeting reading, math and science in teacher training, policy and management. In secondary education, USAID improves girls’ opportunities through scholarships, and is working with the government to ensure that all students have access to quality math and science books. USAID also focuses on the needs of early primary students with hearing impairments and communication difficulties in Mtwara and Zanzibar.
USAID has leveraged $45 million in matching funds from three U.S. companies—Cisco, Intel and Microsoft—and two Tanzanian companies—UhuruOne and Zantel—to integrate technology in all primary schools in Zanzibar and the traditionally underdeveloped Mtwara region. The program is designed to enhance the quality of education for primary school students in math, reading and science as well as enable Tanzanian children to cross the digital divide.
During 2010, U.S. assistance to Tanzania increased access to basic education for almost 300,000 students, more than half of whom were girls. In addition to supporting the formal education sector, the United States supported an environmental education activity that deepened the understanding of conservation and coastal and marine ecosystems among approximately 16,000 pre-primary and 60,000 primary school students. U.S. assistance also provided secondary school scholarships for 265 disadvantaged Maasai girls from pastoralist communities and 41 orphaned and vulnerable girls from remote southern regions. Additionally, USAID supported an adult literacy program that empowered 2,400 Maasai women to start their own businesses and secure land rights.
Last updated: May 10, 2013