The key to life? Citizens' views on education

In Tanzania, 25 out of every 100 shillings spent by government goes to education. At the same time, almost one out of every three children leave primary school unable to read and count.

In 2015, a new and ambitious Education and Training Policy was officially launched. Basic education has been extended from seven to ten years and it includes four years of compulsory secondary education. Government has promised to remove tuition fees for secondary schools with effect from 2016. The quality of secondary school education remains poor – as reflected in an increase in the failure rates in the Certificate of Secondary Education (of Form 4) examinations over the past few years. The new policy is a part response to the public outcry sparked by the high rate of student failure of Form 4 exams. Measures to improve the quality of secondary school education include boosting teacher motivation and improving school infrastructure.

Will the new policy lead to improved learning outcomes? To what extent does it resonate with the expectations and aspirations of ordinary citizens for their children?

In this brief, we report citizens’ views on education, with a focus on the quality of secondary school education. The questionnaire was designed in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEVT). Data were collected between 5 and 22 November 2014 from a nationally-representative, high-frequency mobile phone survey, Sauti za Wananchi. The data, collected from 1,381 respondents, are representative for Mainland Tanzania.

Some key findings are:

  • One in two citizens believes that being able to read and write is the most important skill for secondary school graduates.
  • Six out of ten citizens believe that the primary school system adequately prepares students for the transition to secondary school.
  • Close to two out of three citizens believe that children should be taught in English throughout primary and secondary school.

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Authors: Angela Ambroz



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