Primary Education Development In Tanzania

1. Overview of the Country and Primary Education System:

Tanzania covers 945,000 square kilometers, including approximately 60,000 square kilometers of inland water. The population is about 32 million people, with an average annual growth rate of 2.8 percent per year. Females comprise 51% of the total population. The majority of the population resides on the Mainland, while the rest of the population resides in Zanzibar. The life expectancy is 50 years, and the mortality rate is 8.8%. The economy depends upon Agriculture, Tourism, Manufacturing, Mining, and Fishing. Agriculture contributes about 50% of GDP and accounting for about two-thirds of Tanzania’s exports. Tourism contributes 15.8%; and manufacturing, 8.1%, and mining, 1.7%. The school system is a 2-7-4-2-3+ consisting of pre-primary, primary school, ordinary level secondary education, Advanced level secondary, Technical, and Higher Education. Primary School Education is compulsory whereby parents are supposed to take their children to school for enrollment. The medium of instruction in the primary is Kiswahili.


One of the key objectives of the first president J.K. Nyerere was the development strategy for Tanzania as reflected in the 1967 Arusha Declaration, which ensures that basic social services were available equitably to all members of society. In the education sector, this goal was translated into the 1974 Universal Primary Education Movement, whose goal was to make primary education universally available, compulsory and provided free of cost to users to ensure it reached the poorest. As the strategy was implemented, large-scale increases in the numbers of primary schools and teachers were brought about through campaign-style programs with the help of donor financing. By the beginning of the 1980s, each village in Tanzania had a primary school, and gross primary school enrollment reached nearly 100 percent, although the quality of education provided was not very high. From 1996 the education sector proceeded through the launch and operation of the Primary Education Development Plan – PEDP in 2001 to date.

2. Globalization
To different scholars, the definition of globalization may be different. According to Cheng (2000), it may refer to the transfer, adaptation, and development of values, knowledge, technology, and behavioral norms across countries and societies in different parts of the world. The typical phenomena and characteristics associated with globalization include growth of global networking (e.g., internet, worldwide e-communication, and transportation), global transfer and interflow in technological, economic, social, political, cultural, and learning areas, international alliances and competitions, international collaboration and exchange, global village, multi-cultural integration, and use of international standards and benchmarks. See also Makule (2008) and MoEC (2000).

3. Globalization in Education

In the education discipline, globalization can mean the same as the above meanings as is a concern, but most specifically, all the keywords directed in education matters. Dimmock & Walker (2005) argue that in a globalizing and internalizing world, it is not only business and industry changing; education, too, is caught up in that new order. This situation provides each nation a new empirical challenge of how to respond to this new order. Since this responsibility is within a national and that there is inequality in terms of economic level and perhaps in cultural variations globally, globalization seems to affect others positively and vice versa (Bush 2005). In most developing countries, these forces impose forces from the outside and are implemented unquestionably because they do not have enough resources to ensure their implementation (Arnove 2003; Crossley & Watson, 2004).

There is a misinterpretation that globalization has no impact on education because the traditional ways of delivering education are persisting within a national state. But, it has been observed that while globalization continues to restructure the world economy, there are also powerful ideological packages that reshape the education system in different ways (Carnoy, 1999; Carnoy & Rhoten, 2002). While others seem to increase access, equity, and quality in education, others affect the nature of educational management. Bush (2005) and Lauglo (1997) observe that decentralization of education is one of the world’s global trends that enable to reform educational leadership and management at different levels. They also argue that Decentralization forces help different levels of educational management to have the power of decision-making related to the allocation of resources. Carnoy (1999) further portrays that the global ideologies and economic changes are increasingly intertwined in the international institutions that broadcast particular strategies for educational change. These include western governments, multilateral and bilateral development agencies and NGOs (Crossley & Watson 2004). Also, these agencies are the ones that develop global policies and transfer them through funds, conferences, and other means. Certainly, with these powerful forces, education reforms, and to be more specific, the current reforms on school leadership to a large extent are influenced by globalization.

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4. The School Leadership

In Tanzania, the leadership and management of education systems and processes are increasingly seen as one area where improvement can and needs to be made to ensure that education is delivered efficiently and efficaciously. Although literature for education leadership in Tanzania is inadequate, Komba in EdQual (2006) pointed out that research in various aspects of leadership and management of education, such as the structures and delivery stems of education; financing, and alternative sources of support to education; preparation, nurturing and professional development of education leaders; the role of female educational leaders in the improvement of educational quality; as well as the link between education and poverty eradication, are deemed necessary in approaching issues of educational quality in any sense and at any level. The nature of out-of-school factors that may render support to the quality of education, e.g., traditional leadership institutions, may also need to be looked into.

5. Impact of Globalization

As mentioned above, globalization is creating numerous opportunities to share knowledge, technology, social values, and behavioral norms and promote developments at different levels, including individuals, organizations, communities, and societies across different countries and cultures. Cheng (2000); Brown, (1999); Waters (1995) pointed out the advantages of globalization as follows: Firstly, it enables global sharing of knowledge, skills, and intellectual assets that are necessary to multiple developments at different levels. The second is mutual support, supplement, and benefit to produce synergy for various developments of countries, communities, and individuals. The third positive impact is creating values and enhancing efficiency through the above global sharing and mutual support to serve local needs and growth. The fourth is promoting international understanding, collaboration, harmony, and acceptance of cultural diversity across countries and regions. The fifth is facilitating multi-way communications and interactions and encouraging multi-cultural contributions at different levels among countries.

The potential negative impacts of globalization are educationally concerned in various types of political, economic, and cultural colonization and overwhelming influences of advanced countries to developing countries and rapidly increasing gaps between rich areas and poor areas in different parts of the world. The first impact is increasing the technological gaps and digital divides between advanced countries and less developed countries hindering equal opportunities for fair global sharing. The second is creating more legitimate opportunities for a few advanced countries to economically and politically colonize other countries globally. The third is exploiting local resources, which destroys indigenous cultures of less advanced countries to benefit a few advanced countries. Fourthly is the increase of inequalities and conflicts between areas and cultures. And fifthly is promoting the dominant cultures and values of some advanced areas and accelerating cultural transplant from advanced areas to less developed areas.Primary

The management and control of the impacts of globalization are related to some complicated macro and international issues that may be far beyond the scope of which I did not include in this paper. Cheng (2002) pointed out that in general, many people believe education is one of the key local factors that can be used to moderate some impacts of globalization from negative to positive and convert threats into opportunities for the development of individuals and the local community in the inevitable process of globalization. How to maximize the positive effects but minimize the negative impacts of globalization is a major concern in current educational reform for national and local developments.

6. Globalization of Education and Multiple Theories

Writing this paper was influenced by the multiple theories propounded by Yin Cheng (2002). He proposed a typology of multiple theories that can be used to conceptualize and practice fostering local knowledge in globalization, particularly through globalized education. These theories of fostering local knowledge are proposed to address this key concern, namely the theory of tree, theory of crystal, theory of birdcage, theory of DNA, theory of fungus, and theory of amoeba. Their implications for the design of curriculum and instruction and their expected educational outcomes in globalized education are correspondingly different.

The theory of tree assumes that fostering local knowledge should have its roots in local values and traditions but absorb external useful and relevant resources from the global knowledge system to grow the whole local knowledge system inwards and outwards. The expected outcome in globalized education will be to develop a local person with an international outlook who will act locally and develop globally. The strength of this theory is that the local community can maintain and even further develop its traditional values and cultural identity as it grows and interacts with the input of external resources and energy in accumulating local knowledge for local developments.

The theory of crystal is the key of the fostering process to have “local seeds” to crystallize and accumulate global knowledge along with a given local expectation and demand. Therefore, fostering local knowledge is to accumulate global knowledge around some “local seeds” that may exist local demands and values to be fulfilled in these years. According to this theory, the design of curriculum and instruction is to identify the core local needs and values as the fundamental seeds to accumulate that relevant global knowledge and resources for education. The expected educational outcome is to develop a local person who remains a local person with some global knowledge and can act locally and think locally with increasing global techniques. With local seeds to crystallize the global knowledge, there will be no conflict between local needs and the external knowledge to be absorbed and accumulated in the development of the local community and individuals.

The theory of birdcage is about how to avoid the overwhelming and dominating global influences on the nation or local community. This theory contends that the process of fostering local knowledge can be open for incoming global knowledge and resources, but at the same time, efforts should be made to limit or converge the local developments and related interactions with the outside world to a fixed framework. In globalized education, it is necessary to set up a framework with clear ideological boundaries and social norms for curriculum design such that all educational activities can have a clear local focus when benefiting from the exposure of wide global knowledge and inputs. The expected educational outcome is to develop a local person with a bounded global outlook who can act locally with filtered global knowledge. The theory can help ensure local relevance in globalized education and avoid losing local identity and concerns during globalization or international exposure.

The theory of DNA represents numerous initiatives and reforms made to remove dysfunctional local traditions and structures in a periphery country and replace them with new ideas borrowed from core countries. This theory emphasizes identifying and transplanting the better key elements from the global knowledge to replace the existing weaker local components in the local developments. In globalizing education, the curriculum design should be very selective to both local and global knowledge to choose the best elements from them. The expected educational outcome is to develop a person with locally and globally mixed elements who can act and think with mixed local and global knowledge. The strength of this theory is its openness for any rational investigation and transplant of valid knowledge and elements without any local barrier or cultural burden. It can provide an efficient way to learn and improve the existing local practices and developments.

The theory of fungus reflects the mode of fostering local knowledge in globalization. This theory assumes that it is a faster and easier way to digest and absorb certain relevant types of global knowledge for the nutrition of individual and local developments than to create their own local knowledge from the beginning. From this theory, the curriculum and instruction should aim to enable students to identify and learn what global knowledge is valuable and necessary to their own development and significant to the local community. In globalizing education, the design of education activities should aim at digesting the complex global knowledge into appropriate forms that can feed the needs of individuals and their growth. The expected educational outcome is to develop a person equipped with certain types of global knowledge who can act and think dependently on relevant global knowledge and wisdom. Strengths of the theory are that some small countries easily digest and absorb the useful elements of global knowledge than produce their own local knowledge from the beginning. The roots for growth and development are based on global knowledge instead of local culture or value.

The theory of ameba is the adaptation to fasting changing the global environment and the economic survival in serious international competitions. This theory considers that fostering local knowledge is only necessary to fully use and accumulate global knowledge in the local context. Whether the accumulated knowledge is really local or the local values can be preserved is not a major concern. According to this theory, the curriculum design should include the full range of global perspectives and knowledge to totally globalize education to maximize the benefit of global knowledge and become more adaptive to changing an environment. Therefore, achieving a broad international outlook and apply global knowledge locally and globally is crucial in education. And, cultural burdens and local values can be minimized in the design of curriculum and instruction to let students be totally open to global learning. The expected educational outcome is to develop a flexible and open person without any local identity who can act and think globally and fluidly. The strengths of this theory are also its limitations, particularly in some cultural fruit countries. There will be the potential loss of local values and cultural identity in the country, and the local community will potentially lose its direction and social solidarity during overwhelming globalization.

Each country or local community may have its unique social, economic, and cultural contexts, and therefore, its tendency to using one theory or a combination of theories from the typology in globalized education may be different from the other. To a great extent, it is difficult to say one is better than the other even though the theories of tree, birdcage, and crystal may be more preferred in some culturally rich countries. For those countries with less cultural assets or local values, the theories of ameba and fungus may be an appropriate choice for development. However, this typology can provide a wide spectrum of alternatives for policy-makers and educators to conceptualize and formulate their strategies and practices in fostering local knowledge for the local developments. See more about the theories in Cheng (2002; 11-18)

7. Education Progress since Independence in Tanzania

During the first phase of Tanzania’s political governance (1961-1985), the Arusha Declaration, focusing on “Ujamaa” (African socialism) and self-reliance, was the major philosophy. The nationalization of the production and provision of goods and services by the state and the ruling party’s dominance in community mobilization and participation highlighted the “Ujamaa” ideology, which dominated most of the 1967-1985 eras. In the early 1970s, the first phase government embarked on an enormous national campaign for universal access to primary education of all children of school-going age. It was resolved that the nation should have attained universal primary education by 1977. The ruling party by that time, Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), under the leadership of the former and first president of Tanzania Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, directed the government to put in place mechanisms for ensuring that the directive, commonly known as the Musoma Resolution, was implemented. The argument behind that move was essential that, as much as education was a right to every citizen, a government committed to the development of an egalitarian socialist society cannot segregate and discriminate her people in the provision of education especially at the basic level.

7.1. The Presidential Commission on Education

In 1981, a Presidential Commission on education was appointed to review the existing education system and propose necessary changes to be realized by the country towards the year 2000. The Commission submitted its report in March 1982, and the government has implemented most of its recommendations. The most significant ones related to this paper were the establishment of the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC), the Tanzania Professional Teachers Association, the introduction of new curriculum packages at primary, secondary, and teacher education levels, the establishment of the Faculty of Education (FoE) at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, the introduction of pre-primary teacher education programme; and the expansion of secondary education.

7.2. Education during the Second Phase Government of Tanzania

The second phase of the government of Tanzania, spanning from 1985 to 1995, was characterized by new liberal ideas such as free choice, market-oriented schooling, cost efficiency, reduced government control of the UPE, and other social services. The education sector lacked quality teachers and teaching/learning materials and infrastructure to address the expansion of the UPE. A vacuum was created while fragmented donor-driven projects dominated primary education support. The introduced cost-sharing in the provision of social services like education and health hit most of the poorest of the poor. This decrease in government support in the provision of social services, including education and cost-sharing policies, was not taken well, given that most of the incomes were below the poverty line. In 1990, the government constituted a National Task Force on education to review the existing education system and recommend a suitable education system for the 21st century.development

The report of this task force, the Tanzania Education System for the 21st Century, was submitted to the government in November 1992. Recommendations of the report have been considered in the formulation of the Tanzania Education and Training Policy (TETP). Despite the very impressive expansionary education policies and reforms in the 1970s, the goal to achieve UPE, which was once targeted for achievement in 1980, is way out of reach. Similarly, the Jomtien objective to achieve Basic Education for all in 2000 is Tanzania unrealistic. The participation and access level have declined to the point that attainment of UPE is once again an issue in itself. Other developments and trends indicate a decline in the quantitative goals set rather than being closer to them (Cooksey and Reidmiller, 1997; Mbilinyi, 2000). At the same time, serious doubt is being raised about school quality and the relevance of education provided (Galabawa, Senkoro, and Lwaitama, (eds), 2000).

7.3. Outcomes of UPE

According to Galabawa (2001), the UPE described, analyzed, and discussed three measures in Tanzania: (1) the measure of access to the first year of primary education, namely, the apparent intake rate. This is based on the total number of new entrants in the first grade regardless of age. This number is expressed as a percentage of the population at the official primary school entrance age and the net intake rate based on the number of new entrants in the first grade who are of the official primary school entrance age expressed as the percentage of the population of corresponding age. (2) The measure of participation, namely, gross enrolment ratio representing the number of children enrolled in primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the official primary school-age population; while the net enrolment ratio corresponds to the number of children of the official primary school age enrolled in primary school expressed as a percentage of the corresponding population. (3) The measure of the internal efficiency of the education system, which reflects the dynamics of different operational decision-making events over the school cycle like dropouts, promotions, and repetitions.