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Education in Tanzania

Some key points throughout history:

Time Period



Pre- Colonial Period

(Up to 1870s)


·Informal education System focusing on the “Good citizen.” 

·Elders are the educators

Formal Education introduced in the 1860s & 1870s

Early Colonial Period



Formal Education Reinforced under German Rule (1893)

The first government school in 1893

Schools virtually collapse with the First World War

Mandate Rule Period


Missionary and government education approaches begin to harmonize

·  By 1945, there are 92 Government and native authority schools

·  First Director of Education appointed in 1920

Trusteeship Period


Local authorities mandated to oversee the provision  education



·  Initiatives taken to minimize discriminatory practices

·  Pressure by first strong political party (TANU) on the trusteeship government to open more technical schools

·  Pressure to create a separate Ministry for Education

Post Independence

(1960s )

·  Focus shifted towards producing skilled manpower for social and economic sectors of the post-independent state


·  Abolition of racially based education system



·       Massive enrolment

·       Rapid expansion of schools

·       Arusha Declaration 1967

·       Most schools nationalized

·       No private primary schools permitted

1970s –

early 1990s


·  Private primary schools allowed

·  Universal Primary Education Program introduced

·  School fees abolished and massive increase in student enrolment

·  1984- School fees reintroduced for primary and secondary schools. Enrolment declines

   ·  Adult Education Program

Mid 1990s - Present

Ministry of Education transformed to include vocational training


·  Free and compulsory primary education re-introduced

·  Education Sector Development Program introduced in 1997

·  Primary Education Development Plan introduced in 2001

·  Secondary Education Development Plan introduced in 2003


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