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   Tanzania (Mainland)
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7.3 Adult Literacy

7.3.1 Literacy rates of population aged 15-24 years old

In 1992 the literacy rate was 84 for the population aged 13 years and above as shown in Table 36.

Table 36: Literacy Rates as Depicted by the National Literacy Tests, 1975 – 1992

The figures indicate a higher percentage (87) for males than females (81)

According to literacy tests conducted between, 1975 and 1992, the rates show an increasing trend up to 1986 and a decrease of 6.4 from 1986 to 1992. However, the rates quoted here are based on tests administered by the Ministry of Education and Culture and can only be treated as crude due to incomplete registration of illiterates and distortions on the part of those administering the literacy tests.

The goal set by the National Summit for Children is to achieve adult literacy level of 96 for men and 94 for women by the year 2000. Given then, the1992 rates of 87 and 81 for men and women respectively, this will mean raising the literacy of males by 9 and that of females by 1.3 by the year 2000. This will definitely require more investment and formulation of appropriate programs in adult education. Greater emphasis must be put in those regions and districts with low literacy rates 5 depicted in Table 6.

In Table 28 above a female-male literacy gap has been computed (last column). This is a rough indicator of gender inequality is past efforts to provide basic education. This indicator is simply obtained by dividing the female literacy rate by the male literacy rate. Thus, a ratio equal to unity reflects gender equality in literacy rates, whereas a ratio less than one shows that females are less literate than males. On the other hand a ratio greater that 1 means that female literacy rate is higher than male literacy rate.

Table 28 indicates that all the ratios are less than one suggesting that in all regions of Tanzania mainland, females are less literate than males. Rukwa has the lowest female-male gap (0.84) while Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, and Ruvuma have the highest female-male gap (0.98). In other words while in Rukwa there are 84 literate females for every 100 literate males; in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro and Ruvuma there are 98 literate females for every 100 literate males.

Table 37: Literacy Rates by Region, Sex and Female/Male Gap, 1995.





Female/Male Gap






Dar es Salaam




































































































Table 28 also shows that much remains to be done in Shinyanga, Singida, Kigoma, Rukwa, Mbeya and Arusha regions which have over 20 illiteracy rates.

Apart from these regions and females in particular. For other regions, special attention and more resources ought to be given to rural areas which have higher illiteracy rates than Urban Centres.

7.4 Training in Essential Skills (indicators to be define by country)

7.4.1 Folk Development Colleges (FDCs)

FDCs are community based institutions, administered by the Ministry of Community Development Women Affairs and Children. There are 53 colleges, delivering services to all districts in the country. Both men and women are enrolled in long (3 months to 2 years) and short courses(1 day to 3 months). The main trades offered include carpentry, masonry, shoe making, mechanics - long courses; and food processing, aforestation, entreprenership skills etc- short and out reach courses. The tuition fee as well as up - keep costs are paid by both the government and the target groups.

Data indicate that enrolment, attendance and completion rates have been maintained from 1990 to 1999. The expected long course enrolment from 1990-1999 was 34717 while the actual number who completed their course are 28593 i.e 82. Also for short and outreach courses the rate is 84. The number of women trainees increased in short and outreach courses from 628 in 1995 to 2564 in 1999. The ratio of men and women was 50.3 and 49.7 per cent. The significant impact has been marked in areas such as environment practices (aforestation, use of animal manure etc), health practices, house facilities (furniture, mats, table cloths etc.)

7.4.2 Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA)

VETA is under the Ministry of Labour and Youth Development, co-ordinating 17 Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) country wide. They prepare, update, retrain artisans for wages, self employment or professional advancement. The major programmes include: informal apprenticeship, technical and commercial and skills upgrading training programmes.

The long and short courses offered cover a wide range from traditional i.e carpentry, masonry, tailoring etc to modern courses - electrical installation, secretarial computer, managerial and entrepreneurship etc. User fee and Government contribution compose the main components of programme costs.

The Quarterly and Annual evaluation reports have identified increasing enrolment, attendance and completion rate (2,052 in 1994 to 2200 in 1997), decrease in drop-out rate (160 in 1994 to 121 in 1997), shift from supply to demand driven training which has a positive response to the employment of both men and women mainly in the informal sector. The other VET providers are:

As indicated elsewhere, the VET providers and institution training for life skills have contributed significantly to provision of basic training in essential skills which in turn have promoted self and wage employment both in the formal and informal sector. However, the institutions and programmes are confronted with a number of problems, the major ones being:

7.4.3 Complementary Basic Education in Tanzania (COBET)

The School Mapping Initiative being undertaken in the district (55+) has revealed a growing magnitude of out-of-school children. Th enrolment of over-aged children for Std. I (9+) is the norm in most school. As such the seven year children (the official age for starting school) continue to be left out, making the achievement of universal access to primary schooling at the correct age continually delayed unless deliberate measures are in place to reverse the trend.

The Basic Education Master Plan (BEMP- 1997) incorporates the COBET Programme as an initiative to access primary schooling to out-of-school children (8 – 18) in a non-formal setting. It is also a measure towards clearing the back-log of over-aged school children, including the drop-outs and push-outs.

The children are divided into two age groups to facilitate the learning process. While cohort II (14 – 18) enables completion of primary education; and allows for mainstreaming to other forms of formal education for vocational training. The duration of the programme is three years.

COBET is a community-based programme evolving from the district micro-planning of primary education. The community supports the COBET centres by providing buildings, facilitators, centre-based management and monitoring. They also contribute to the development o the curriculum process by participating in needs assessment of the children, thus making decision on types of subjects, and areas of emphasis for learning considered important to the functionality of the learning outcomes. The pedagogy is child-friendly, school time-tabling flexible to give room for children’s other activities. The curriculum taught is based on the formal primary school system, of five years condensed into a three year teaching cycle. COBET also emphasizes the teaching of Life Skills.

Currently (1999) COBET centres have opened in 2 selected districts with over 600 children. It is being implemented on a pilot basis before nation wide duplication.

NGOs are close partners in COBET as they have been for many years providing basic education to out-of-school children, namely orphans, disabled and street children and teenage mothers. The varied and rich experiences have been incorporated in the development of the COBET Initiative. These NGO’s include:

7.4.4 Integrated Community Based Adult Education (ICBAE)

The programme is designed to provide the essential skills to illiterates, neo-literates and out of school youths with special attention to women and the disabled. It is administered by the Ministry of Education and Culture. So far it covers Morogoro, Mwanza, Kilimanjaro and Tanga. The move is to reach all regions throughout the country by the year 2003.

Traditional and modern vocational skills are offered to clients with the view to promoting self employment. The facilitators are professional and para-professional. Local communities participate in the programme by establishing centres, providing centre facilities such as chairs, benches, shelter, etc. The Ward Adult Education Coordinators supervise the centres’ activities.

The ICBAE significant contributions include: promotion of income generating activities, improved houses (brick backed houses) and revolving loan funds.

The enhancement of adult literacy and non formal education has received little attention from the private sector, NGOs/CBOs and government. The policy guidelines have not been developed and specific education sector NGOs/CBOs' initiatives tend to be either small scale or new. The only NGOs which have intervened in this area are:

7.5 Family Life Education (FLE)

FLE programme involves the process of offering skills to enable the youth to understand the inter-relationships between population changes, situation, development and aspects of quality of human life. FLE calls for special teaching skills which must be effective in influencing change in the attitudes, behaviour and practices of youth which should lead to adapting new positive values for improvement of quality of life. The main areas addressed include: population dynamics and consequences, reproductive health including sexuality and sexual health, family and family life, gender equality and empowerment of women.

FLE is sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The implementation agency is the Ministry of Education and Culture through the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE). The main focus is on the in-school youth specifically primary school standard 6 and 7 and secondary school form I – IV and Teachers Training college students. So far Iringa, Morogoro, and Mtwara Regions have been covered by the programme. The methods employed to train youth for skill development are: inquiry approach, demonstration, role playing, case study and dramatization. FLE has achieved the following: training 217 family life education resource persons, preparation of curriculum guides, teachers manuals and student textbooks (37,000 copies of materials and 2,000 awareness posters) were printed and distributed.

Notwithstanding the mentioned achievements, the main problems have been lack of fiscal, physical and human resources to implement FLE countrywide so as to provide essential skills to the target groups with the view of improving their quality of life and sustainable development.

7.6 Education for Better Living

Education has now clearly become a lifelong process, with people learning at any age and at any place as needs and opportunities arise. Some learning opportunities outside the formal school are rigorously structured but employ non-formal or formal means of delivering instruction. Some organise learners into small groups or use individual teaching/learning situations; still others make use of modern telecommunications and computing technologies to reach large numbers of learners, that is mass media and modern channels of communication for educational purposes – although this is usually not their primary function. Educational activities constituting this component of basic education are often intended to reinforce and complement formal schooling and out-of-school (non-formal) Education programmes or to reach the general public Educational programmes and messages broadcasting through radio and television, for example, may be used to enhance learning in the classroom, reinforce local HIV/AIDs prevention campaigns, and/or reach the general public.

A review of progress in education for better living might examine significant changes since 1990 in the

7.6.1 Media coverage of children’s rights

The public is becoming more aware of children’s rights through the mass media although there is less coverage of positive achievements of the rights. Researches/studies such as 'The Children in Need of Special Protection Measures' – (CNSPM) have revealed that children’s images have been frequently used to advertise products for which children are not the main consumers. Even fund raising activities have been carried out for projects in which children are not the main beneficiaries.

Furthermore, most of the pertinent issues covered by the media are raised by adult population, to show their awareness to the children’s rights. It is paradoxical that this same population turns out to abuse, and victimise children, or denies them their rights. In addition to that, children lack a forum in which to express their opinions or may only give opinions that have been imposed by adults.

Some of the issues raised in the mass media are related to educational policy and administration. The educational issues raised are: the approach to delivery of education, the quality of education, discipline and punishment of children. Child abuse and neglect have been cited to be on the increase by public concern.

In general, it appears that children’s rights are on the agenda of public concern with respect to the violation of their rights. Children are depicted as victims vulnerable to manipulation; seen as dumb, voiceless, weak, easily influenced and victimised.

Table 38, gives some indication of the way children and children’s issues are portrayed in the media.

Table 38: Number of times specific topics related to children occurred in news items in Dar es Salaam media during the week 1 – 7 September, 1997

Education and intellectual development 48
Children used in advertisements 25
Child abuse and neglect, including child murder 21
Entertainment sports and culture 13
Children’s rights 8
Street and working children 8
Family life issues 5
Poverty 5
Health 3
Delinquency 3
Lost children 2
Policies for children 2
Other 3

Source: CNSPM study 1999 p.14

NGO programmes concern themselves with mobilizing communities for behavioural change and improvement of quality of living.

The Primary Health Care Ambassadors’ Foundation (PHCAFO)

uses the Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach to mobilize the community to work towards finding solution to identified problems. Operating in Olturoto and Oldonyosambu primary schools in Arumeru District, Arusha Region, PHCAFO recognizes that many diseases and poor health conditions prevalent in Tanzania are due to low levels of participation in sanitation, nutrition and health education.

The NGO views health as a state of living in harmony with God, one self, others and the environment and not merely the absence of disease. Its vision is that communities can be empowered to achieve a lifestyle of optimum health through problem based learning and that adults learn more effectively when they have a sensitive problem to solve. Thus in order to mobilize a village to work towards optimal health, the initial sensitive problem must be brought through properly organized village awareness seminars. Villagers are facilitated through the Learning-centered Problem Discovery Action Oriented (LePSA) approach until they come up with the underlying causes, possible solution and their own plan of action to solve the problem

The EFA process offers both government and its partners the opportunity to reflect on policy success and on-going challenges. NGOs welcome the positive policy environment that government is striving to establish for NGOs and is keen to utilise this opportunity to share strategies and experiences in a spirit of constructive evaluation.

The NGOs/CBOs interventions intend to reinforce and complement formal schooling and out of school (non-formal) education programmes and reach the general public, for example massages broadcasted through radio and television, media coverage of children’s rights and primary health care. The NGOs/CBOs which are involved in such programmes and activities include Kuleana, Primary Health Care Ambassadors’ Foundation (PHCAFO) working in Olturoto and Oldonyosambu primary schools in Arumeru in Arusha Region.

The NGOs/CBOs empower communities to achieve a lifestyle of optimal health through problem based learning.

From this view it can be seen that NGOs/CBOs interventions in education are diverse both in scope and geographical coverage. Whilst NGOs have substantial implementation capacity, they do not set out to provide comprehensive coverage, since their comparative advantage is working at local community level and in piloting innovative approaches.


The National Plan of Action for achieving EFA goals has been pragmatic, inspite of high targets set and enormous difficulties involved in implementing the programmes. The EFA 2000 Assessment Exercise in Tanzania has revealed that the past decade has witnessed a renewed GoT commitment to EFA goals, at least in Government’s statements of intent. Unfortunately, a wide disparity has emerged between the Jomtien agreed upon goals and actual implementation in Tanzania. Although, there has been considerable expansion of educational opportunities during the period, major issues have emerged which have made the achievement of EFA goals difficult. As mentioned in the introduction the continued poor economic growth, the implementation of Structural Adjustment Programmes and servicing of international debt are top in the long of list of constraints.

Our assessment indicates that progress since Jomtien has been much slower than anticipated in relation to most of the major targets set for achieving EFA goals. While it is true that more educational opportunities have been created in the last decade, many eligible school age children, aged 7 – 13 (about 15) are still out of school. This is more pronounced in Kigoma (75.8) in 1991 and Kagera 68.0 in 1998.

The report has indicated the magnitude of wastage (in efficiency) in the system. Current statistical data show that access to primary education for the official primary school age entrance (7 year old) has slightly increased from 12.6 in 1990 to 14 in 1998. The National primary school GER has increased from 71.7 in 1991 to 76.4 in 1998. However, the NER, the single most important indicator of progress towards the goal of UPE has remained constant at 77 despite the increase of population in the two years, 1995 and 1998.

Although the GER indicates a positive rise, after it has dropped from 98 in 1981 to 74 in 1995 and have managed to push up to 77 in 1998, it obscures the full extent of challenges facing education. The completion rate in the last five years has remained 65.3. The secondary education total enrolment for both ordinary and advanced levels in 1997 was only 225,607. The absorptive capacity of the secondary education system has remained quite limited. In 1997 the public sector absorbed only 35057 out of 359,337 (8.5) primary school leavers while the private sector took 29,768 (8.3). The transition rate from ordinary to advanced level secondary was only 14.8 percent in 1997 out of the 42,943 students who attempted the final examination.

The repetition rates at standard IV is the highest at Grade IV when you compare it to other grades. The total number of repeaters almost doubled because the examination is administred at this Grade to measure their learning achievement.The total number of pupils who repeated increased from 63,651 in 1991 to 119,099 in 1998.

The literacy rate which reached almost 90 in 1986 has dropped to 84 in 1992 and is dropping at a rate of 2 annually. It is now estimated to be 68 per cent. Insufficient supply of permanent teachers and lack of incentives to voluntary teachers, competing priorities of survival due to poverty at individual family and community levels and high rate of school drop-out among the primary school children who graduate into illiterate adults have been sighted in the EFA assessment as among the major causes of the increasing illiteracy rate in Tanzania.

Tanzania’s countries commitment to providing educational opportunities to children still remains and is growing stronger with the increased public demand for education and training. The country has put in place several initiatives and used various strategies to accomplish such commitments. However, it is our submission, that the picture that emerges from EFA 2000 Assessment suggests little cause for celebration. We have not been able to meet the targets. Progress towards the development of quality education for all in the six target dimensions of EFA has been much slower than those anticipated after Jomtien Conference in 1990.


  • The expansion of Early Child Care and Development;
  • Universal Access to, and completion of primary education by the Year 2000;
  • A reduction of Adult Literacy rates to one-half of the 1990s levels by 2000 with an emphasis of female literacy;
  • Improved learning achievement; based on attainment of defined levels of performance;
  • Expansion of basic education and training for adults and youths;
  • Improved dissemination of knowledge, skills, and values required for sustainable development.

The EFA 2000 Assessment note that the most important positive progress in the last decade is that the Government and its partners, through state machinery, have managed to set in motion the process of addressing the challenges facing education and training. Several actions have been taken in the last four years which have contributed to substantive progress in the following areas:

The other Reforms that provide ambience to Ed-SDP are the Civil Service Reform Programme, Local Government Reform Programme, Social Sector Strategy and the Public Management Reform Programme:


Notwithstanding the set goals, targets and strategies put in place to realise Education For All (EFA), various problems and challenges confront all sub-sectors.

9.1 Early Childhood Care and Development

Many pre-primary classes are taught by teachers who have not received any form of training in early childhood development.

The Government intends to formalize pre-primary education. The former has its objectives clearly stated and its institutional programme well-defined by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The latter’s objectives are unclear and as such remain disorganised. In practice, the urban are more advantaged than the rural areas contributing to the inequity in distribution of pre-school institutions. The policy implications here is that more efforts need to be channelled towards the rural areas throughout the country, It is of paramount importance here to note that like for the early childhood care, programmes relating to education have ignored young children with special needs e.g the blind, the deaf and the deaf-mute. Generally, children of this type have received little attention.

Coordination basis among key players running these institutions appear to be a major obstacle followed by other issues which include lack of advocacy of the policies. Another important issue is the scarcity of trained teachers. A few of these have grade C, B or A certificates, while the majority have undergone through a three to six months teacher training courses.

The total enrolment of pre-school children is not properly documented as the administration and the enrolment centres are not co-ordinated. One of the EFA strategy is to strengthen expansionary measures to meet pre-school and primary enrolments while at the same time ensuring that quality of education is maintained.

9.2 Primary Education

Initial indication that followed 1990 showed that there was little or no improvement in the quality, access and relevance of basic education offered to adults and primary school children. The primary school Gross enrolment ratios dropped from 98, 81, 77.9 and 76.4 in 1981, 1991, 1997 and 1998 respectively. The NET enrolment Ratio was at 69.7, 53.8 and 76.7 and 56.7 in the same years respectively. This clearly shows a steady decline in primary school enrolment which is attributed to a variety of reasons, ranging from poor learning environment to lack of confidence of parents in the relevance and quality of primary education. Dropout rates have also increased significantly, ranging from 4.6 in 1981 to 6.7 in 1997 and leading to low completion rates. Specifically the problems related to this sub-sector are among the following:

9.3 Adult Education

At the onset of EFA, the illiteracy rate in Tanzania (adults 13+ years old) was estimated to be 28 and it rate was increasing by 2 annually. Enrolment figures dropped from 6.2 million in 1986 to 1.2 million in 1990. It is estimated that the literacy rate had dropped to 68 by 1998. In order to address the increasing illiteracy rate and low enrolment, the Government in collaboration with NGOs and local communities in 1991 determined to ensure there is enhanced access to quality non-formal education to adults and out of school youths, especially girls and women mobile communities and the handicapped.

9.4 Training for Essential Skills

9.5 Education for Better Living

10.0 Public awareness, political will and national capacities

By tradition, Tanzanians strongly demand basic education for all. As a matter of fact, many philanthropic individuals and organisations have programmes that offer scholarships/stipends to ‘poor’ but educated: What they lack is ability to pay for cost of education and /or, in case of very poor parent, opportunity cost of time of child labour vs child education. The GOT is has been strongly committed to EFA even before the Jomtien Conference, to the extent that the constitution of the Republic obligates upon the government for education for all citizens.

The Government has created new institutions (VETA) and has established new programs (BEMP, ED-SDP ) for EFA After the World Conference on Education For All (EFA). The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania convened in 1991, 1993 and 1996 for a national Conference which drew a wide range of professionals and key actors with a wide experience on education issues. One of the major recommendations of the 1991 conference eliminated in forming a task force to review the educational challenge facing Tanzania as it moves to the 21st century and drew up strategies for effective implementation of EFA and other education related issues. The task force presented its report in November 1992 upon which the Ministry of Education embarked on the formulation of a National Education Policy which culminated in the February 1995, The promulgation of the Education and Training policy. This was the most comprehensive statement on education ever issued by the Tanzania Government since independence.

The Government commitment in the provision of basic education is very strong. The development of BEMP, ED-SDP and the start up activities to be implemented in the first year 1999/2000 are among the government efforts in addressing the EFA targets in a more realistic way. BEMP document spelt out quite clearly, targets, which have to be realised from 1996 to the year 2004. Among the targets are achieving 85 gross enrolment by 2004 and achieving universal primary education by the year 2015. The establishment of Development Vision 2025 and Poverty Eradication Agenda 2015 shows the commitment to alleviate poverty through the use of basic education. However, inspite of the government good intentions, financial constraints remain one among the major weaknesses in providing basic education. Other partners such as NGOs lack capacity in the delivery of basic education as most of them are quite new and rely mainly on external agencies for support. Support from donor agencies has also declined in recent years, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union. There has been a shift of donor resources from Africa to East Europe. This has greatly minimised support from bilateral organisations. Moreover the commitment of individual development partners to the implementation of the ED-SDP is still very minimal, as most of them are still interested in projects.


From the Year 2000 assessment exercise a general impression emerges to suggest that:

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