Learning Environment and Performance of Primary Education in Tanzania

Since independence in 1961, Tanzania declared war against three social enemies, which are ignorance, poverty and diseases. The fight against ignorance was to succeed by giving special attention to the education sector. Thus, throughout the history of Tanzania, education is regarded a key priority for development that impacts the lives of people. The importance attached to the education sector manifests itself in various national development frameworks. The most recent second Five-Year Development Plan covering the period 2016/17 to 2020/21 also gives special attention to the education sector as a key quality enhancer of the country’s labour force in realizing the National Development Vision 2025, which aimed to take the country to the middle-income status, driven by industrialization by 2025. Consistently, the budget allocation to the education sector has been increasing over time. In absolute terms, it increased from 1.73 trillion shillings in 2009/10 to 4.77 trillion in 2016/17. Similarly, as a percentage of GDP, it increased from 4.3% in 2009/10 to 4.5% in 2016/17. While there are improvements in several indicators attributed to these budgetary increases, especially those related to quantity, some quality indicators remain a challenge. This is reflected by poor pass rates in the national examinations in both primary and lower secondary education, poor literacy and numeracy skills among children in the education system and lower skills among graduates at various education levels. Benchmarking of the skills profiles conducted in 2012/13 shows Tanzania to have a gap of between 0.6 and 14 times of necessary skills in major groups of occupations compared to Middle Income Countries.