education in tanzania
Tanzania has seen tremendous growth and progress in the education sector over the last decade. However, despite rapid expansion in primary and secondary school enrollment, the country’s education system continues to struggle to deliver quality education and to keep its children in school. Below are some facts about education in Tanzania:

1. Growth in Education

According to a census report, 94 percent of children aged 7 to 13 were enrolled in primary school in 2011. Only 59 percent of children were enrolled in primary school in 2000.

2. No Fees

This incredible jump in enrollment is due in part to Tanzania’s abolition of primary school fees in 2001.

3. MDGs

Today, Tanzania is said to be on track for meeting the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal for male and female enrollment in primary and secondary schools.

4. Class Size

Due to rapid enrollment numbers, Tanzania faces extreme overcrowding within its classrooms. The average government primary school classroom holds 66 pupils. In some areas of the country, there can be as many as 200 pupils in a single classroom.

5. Student:Teacher Ratio

While the number of enrolled students continues to grow, a corresponding increase in qualified teachers does not. The pupil to qualified teacher ratio remains 49:1 in Tanzania.

6. Student:Latrine Ratio

The pupil to latrine ratio is an even larger culprit when it comes to factors that hinder Tanzanian children’s education—for girls, especially. On average, there is 1 toilet for a collective 54 boys and 51 girls. This ratio — far below the normal pupil:latrine ration of 25:1 — affects not only attendance but also performance in Tanzanian schools.

7. Special Education

There is no system today in Tanzania for the identification of, assessment of, or support for children with mental or physical disabilities within government schools.

8. Drop Out Rates

In 2010, 68,000 children dropped out of primary school, and 66,000 children left secondary school early.

9. Pregnancy

Also in 2010, 7000 girls dropped out of primary and secondary schools due to pregnancy.

10. Exams

Only half (53.5 percent) of students passed the primary school’s leaving examination in 2010; the majority of children who passed the examination were boys.

Though the statistics that reflect the enrollment growth are impressive, the system supporting education in Tanzania is decrepit, if not dysfunctional. With one of the highest net enrollment ratios in Africa, there is much potential to empower Tanzanian children and adolescents, helping them to attain the education necessary to break the cycle of poverty. For the thousands of children who begin, but never finish, their schooling, education reform must remain at the forefront of the Tanzanian government’s agenda.

– Elizabeth Nutt

Sources: UNICEF, USAID
Photo: HNKC News