Population: 38.524 million 2006)
GDP per capita: US$332 (2006)
Human Development Index (HDI): 0.467
Unemployment Levels: 12.7% (2000/1)
Key Economic Sectors: Mining, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Tourism
Principal Exports: Coffee, Cotton, Manufactures, Cashew Nuts, Minerals
HIV & AIDS Prevalence: 6.24% (2007 Estimate)
Gross Primary Enrolment Ratio: 110 (2006)
Gross Secondary Enrolment Ratio: 6 (1999)
Gross Tertiary Enrolment Ratio: 1 (2002)

 Source: Country context data was obtained from a variety of sources: (CIA, 2008; SADC, 2008; UNAIDS, 2008; UNDP, 2008; UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2006)


Historical Background

THIS MEDIUM-SIZED East African country stretches from the Central African lakes in the west to the Indian Ocean in the east. This geographical positioning explains its ancient history as well as its early contact with
external influences...Read more.

National Education System Overview

In the United Republic of Tanzania, primary education lasts for seven years and is divided into two stages – the first comprising four years, from age 7 to 11, and the second, three years, from age 11 to 14 – culminating in the Primary School Leaving Certificate. This is mainly used for selecting pupils to advance to secondary school. Secondary education is divided into six forms. Lower secondary school incorporates Forms I to IV (from ages 14 to 18) and ends in a national examination. Pupils that pass graduate with a Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) – or GCE ‘O’ levels. Pupils who do not continue to the next level, upper secondary, may continue their studies at technical colleges in certificate and diploma-level training. Upper secondary school incorporates Forms V to VI (ages 18 to 20) and ends with a national examination, those passing achieve the Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education (ACSE), which secures access to higher education. Some secondary schools have a technical orientation (International Association of Universities (IAU) World Higher Education Database, 2006).

There are eight publicly funded universities in Tanzania.

Type of Higher Education Institutions     

Number of Institutions

Publicly funded universities 8
Publicly funded polytechnics or specialized colleges 13
Privately funded, accredited universities or colleges 12
Technical institutions Number not supplied

Source: Tanzania MoE questionnaire response


Policy Context

In Tanzania, education is treated as a strategic agent for mindset transformation and for the creation of a well educated nation, sufficiently equipped with the knowledge needed to competently and competitively solve the development challenges facing the nation. This notion has been incorporated into Tanzania Vision 2025, which sets the overall strategic direction for development of the country. The Draft Education and Training Sector Development Programme (ESDP) 2008-2017 sets out a vision for the education sector. It defines objectives and principles to guide management and dialogue structures, outcome areas, monitoring and evaluation, financing and investment choices, teachers and teacher management, language learning and capacity development (SARUA 2008 – MRCI Report).

At primary level Tanzania has implemented the second phase of the Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP) 2007-2011, which aims to support the country’s intention to achieve universal basic education and improve primary school education. The Secondary Education Development Programme (SEDP) aims to improve access to and quality of secondary education so that it can accommodate the majority of learners from primary education who qualify (SARUA 2008 – MRCI Report).

The Higher Education Policy (1998) has its major thrusts as follows: creation of a higher education council for accreditation purposes; dramatic expansion of enrolments; institutionalization of cost sharing; correcting the gender imbalances in enrolments; improving female participation rates in science, mathematics and technology; encouraging the establishment of private institutions; improving the funding of higher education, being responsive to market demands in the enterprise training; increasing autonomy of institutions of higher learning; improving coordination and rationalization of programmes and sizes; and promoting of cooperation among institutions of higher learning. This Policy is currently under review through a process of consultation, and the revised policy is expected to be released in 2009. 

Higher Education Legislation

Brief Description

No information available                            

List of Statutory Bodies in the Higher Education Sector

Statutory Bodies   

 Brief description        

Tanzanian Education Authority (TEA)                          This agency provides development grants and loans to institutions, assists institutions to purchase equipment, and conducts pre-entry programmes for girls.
Tanzanian Commission for Universities (TCU) The Commission provides quality control on programmes offered, accredits HEIs, and coordinates student admissions.
Higher Education Students Loan Board (HESLB) The Board issues loans to needy and eligible students, as well as recovering loans from debtors once their studies are complete.
National Council for Technical Education (NACTE) Performs a similar function to TCU, but for HEIs that are not universities.


Funding Data

Public Expenditure on Education as a % of Gross National Income (GNI) 2.2%
% Education budget allocated to higher education 21.9% (2006/7)
Loan/Grant scheme in place Yes

Source: SARUA (2008) – Pillay report

Science and Technology

Key Indicators


R&D Intensity [The ratio of Gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)]  0.35%
ISI Output (Number of papers published in the 7500+ journals of the ISI Web of Science)           1990-1995: 1132
1996-2001: 1435
2002-2007: 2248

Source: SARUA (2008) – CREST Report