Education in Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...
is compulsory for seven years, until children reach the age of 15 years. In 2006, the gross primary enrollment rate was 110.3%, and the net primary enrollment rate was 97.8%. Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. In 2000, 57% of children age 5–14 years attending school. As of 2006, 87.2% of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade 5.
Primary school tuition was eliminated in Tanzania in 2002, but families still have to pay for uniforms, testing fees and school supplies. The elimination of tuition has led to a massive increase in the number of children enrolled in primary schools. There has been a lack of resources for additional teachers, classrooms and books. Moreover, families must pay for books, uniforms, and for enrollment fees for students beginning with Form 1 (the equivalent of the first year of high school). There are also reports of children not attending school because of poorly paid teachers demanding enrollment money from them.
There are private primary schools where tuition varies quite a bit and many are in English (as opposed to Swahili taught in government primary schools).
There is a standardized national exam that students must pass to receive their primary school certificate. In 2000, more than 80% of pupils in grade 6 were at or above reading level 4, "reading for meaning", which is among the highest of countries in Southern and Eastern Africa. In 2009, 49.41% of the 999,070 students who sat for the National Standard 7 Exams received passing marks. Swahili was the subject that had the highest number of passing marks (69.08%). Mathematics had the lowest passing rate at 20.96%. 89.5% of passing students were selected to join public secondary schools for the year 2010.
Government secondary schools are not tuition free but tuition is TSH 20,000 per year (around $15 USD). There are several other fees in addition to tuition: testing fees, caution fees, watchman contribution, academic contribution, furniture contribution, identity fee, emblem fee and fee for lunches. Combined, this creates quite a burden on many families, especially large families, single parent families and orphans. Families where the parents do not yet appreciate the value of education, especially for girls, is often enough to keep them from agreeing to pay for schooling.
Passing the Standard 7 Exam is not a requirement to continue education, but those who fail will not be selected to join a government secondary school. This creates a substantial market for private schools. Some private school cater to those privileged economically who wish for better school resources, additional courses such as computer training, and smaller class sizes. Other private schools cater toward those who have not been selected for government schools. Private secondary school annual tuitions vary from approximately TSH 200,000 ($150 USD) to near the $20,000 USD range. A typical private school tuition is around TSH 700,000 ($525 USD). It is a difficult balancing act for the government, trying to keep education affordable while keeping the quality as high as possible. The number of government secondary schools has increased dramatically over the past few years, stretching resources thin, including the number of teachers, but offering an affordable education to many more students.
By law, all secondary education must be taught in English (except Swahili class). For many students, English is their third language. Even though Swahili is the national language, there are approximately 120 tribal languages spoken in Tanzania. Especially in rural areas, Swahili is often not the first language learned by children. In 2009, only 35.44% of students sitting for the National Standard 7 Exam received passing marks in English. This means that numerous students who did not pass their Standard 7 Exam in English will be thrust into a school using only English for classroom instruction and textbooks. This has made the secondary school teaching language quite controversial, with those in favour of English arguing that English is vital for preparing students to compete in a global economy, and those opposed arguing that not teaching in Swahili causes talented students to be left behind and detracts from students concentrating on the subject matter.
Secondary education has two levels. Open Level is from Form 1 through Form 4. There is a national standardized exam taken at the end of Form 2 and another at the end of Form 4. After Form 4, a certificate is issued to all passing the exam. Selected students may progress to A Level education (Forms 5 & 6). Not all schools offer A Level classes and all students at this level are boarding students. Because of the potential problems associated with boarding both male and female students, A Level schools restrict enrollment to one sex. Secondary education ends when students pass their Form 6 National Exam and receive their diploma. Dependent of their test results, they may then be selected to enroll in a university.
Sports competitions had been an important part of after school activities. This stopped in 2000 but has just been reorganised in 2009. There are after-school activities such as debates and religious groups. At all but the most expensive schools, students take part in school maintenance or tasks such as gathering firewood for the school kitchen, grounds maintenance and tending school crops. The majority of secondary school students in Tanzania are extremely dedicated to their education and take the opportunity seriously.
Lack of a proper study environment at home, their inability to master the English language, poor nutrition/health and other economic related issues are the biggest obstacles students must overcome. It has also been reported that mass fainting is commonplace among schoolgirls, especially at girls' secondary schools.
The average workday for a teacher in the nation is 1 1/4 hours per day because they don't show up. There is a lack of commitment.