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USAID partners with the Government of Tanzania to improve reading and arithmetic in the early grades.
USAID partners with the Government of Tanzania to improve reading and arithmetic in the early grades.

Although Tanzania has made progress in access and equity in education, there are few corresponding advances in educational quality, particularly in the early grades. Reading skills in particular remain a challenge among Tanzanian students—only 5.4% of students in the early grades are able to read with comprehension.

Complicating the matter is a lack of available resources for teachers and students: 66 percent of teachers self-report that they do not have adequate materials in their classrooms for teaching reading, writing and arithmetic (the 3Rs). Moreover, most students (89 percent) attend school in classrooms that do not have any supplementary readers so they can read during school hours.

In addition, while primary school enrollment among girls and boys is nearly equivalent, only one in three girls who start secondary school will finish their lower secondary education. Causes of low secondary enrollment and retention among girls include economic hardship, early marriage and/or teen pregnancy, and school related gender-based violence.

USAID’s education portfolio supports improving student outcomes in reading in Kiswahili, the local language, for grades one through four. To achieve this objective, USAID is working at the national, district, and ward levels—and to some degree the regional level—to build the capacity of Tanzanian government institutions such as the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MOEST) and the President’s Office for Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG) on several policy and institutional issues. This means

  • working with key stakeholders on teacher guides, student materials, and the training to use them;
  • building coaching and mentoring support for teachers; and
  • collecting data that will enable decision-making based on sound evidence and research.

USAID also supports increasing adolescent girls’ enrollment and retention in secondary school in Tanzania. This is accomplished by working closely with local government authorities, school and community leaders, teachers, and parents to bring a holistic package of interventions to public secondary schools in target districts and communities. These interventions are designed to empower girls to create and achieve goals for their future and address the social norms and economic barriers that constrain their ability to remain and excel in school.

USAID activities are developed and implemented in line with the existing Government of Tanzania’s 2014 Education and Training Policy and the National Plan of Action to End Violence against Women and Children. 


  • Large student to teacher ratios
  • Retaining teachers, especially in rural areas
  • Retention rates for girls due to poverty, early pregnancies and marriages, and school related gender-based violence
  • Quality of basic education is low: assessments of students found that only 5.4 percent of standard two students were able to read with grade-level comprehension

Expected Impact

  • Approximately 1.4 million students from 3,027 public primary schools will benefit from USAID early grade reading, writing, and mathematics interventions by 2021.
  • USAID-supported learning materials and methodologies will serve as models for Tanzanian-led reading, writing, and arithmetic reforms in other regions of the country.
  • Approximately 19,000 adolescent girls from 268 communities will benefit from USAID interventions to improve adolescent girls’ retention in school and increase parent and community support for girls’ education.


Overview: Education

Tusome Pamoja (Read Together)

Waache Wasome (Let Them Learn)



Last updated: August 19, 2019

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