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Uwezo Tanzania | Inequalities in education

Among children aged 9 to 13, 38% are unable to complete Standard 2 work but the differences between districts are huge. In Iringa Urban, the best performing district, 75% of children aged 9 to 13 are able to pass basic literacy tests in English and Kiswahili and basic numeracy tests. The worst performing district is Sikonge, where only 17% of children were able to pass those basic tests. Regionally, 64% of children in Dar es Salaam aged 9 to 13 years are able to pass the three tests, but only 23% of their peers in Katavi can do the same. The difference between rural (51%) and urban (65%) areas overall is less pronounced than the differences between specific locations.

In Dar es Salaam, just 16% of students aged 11 are one or more years behind at school. In Katavi, that figure rises to 72%. 

These differences show that location exerts a far greater influence on learning outcomes than poverty and other traditionally analyzed demographic variables. Four out of ten children (42%) in ultra-poor households passed all three tests compared to nearly six out of ten (58%) of their counterparts in non-poor households.

Aidan Eyakuze, Executive Director of Twaweza said “A lot has been made of the influence of wealth on educational opportunities and outcomes. But, our data suggest that where the child lives has the most profound effect on whether or not they will learn. Location has a greater influence on learning outcomes than poverty, whether a child’s mother is educated, whether the child attended pre-school or even whether they are stunted. Although there is cause for concern, the data also offer policy actors the opportunity to target interventions and to focus resources on the areas, and the children, that need them most.”

These inequalities are visible across generations; three out of four children (74%) whose mothers have secondary education or higher, passed all three tests compared to 46% of children whose mothers have no formal education.

These findings were released by Uwezo Tanzania at Twaweza in a report entitled Are our children learning? Uwezo Tanzania Annual Learning Assessment Report 2017. The report is based on data collected by Uwezo Tanzania, Africa’s largest citizen-led assessment of learning outcomes in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. In the sixth round of data collection by Uwezo Tanzania in 2015, a total of 197,451 children were assessed from 68,588 households. Data were also collected from 4,750 primary schools.

Inequality by location is also evident in school inputs, resources and services.

  •  In Dar es Salaam, half of the schools (51%) have access to electricity while in Geita, just 2 out of 50 (4%) enjoy this service.
  • Geita also does poorly on water supply with only 12% of schools providing clean and safe water while in Kilimanjaro, close to 8 out of 10 schools (78%) do.
  • In Kilimanjaro, 26 pupils share one toilet, but in Geita, it is 74, or three times as many pupils.
  • Similarly, 5% of schools in Geita provide lunch while the share of schools in Kilimanjaro is 79%
  • In Dar es Salaam, six pupils share one textbook while in Kilimanjaro, just two pupils share one textbook
  • Kilimanjaro is also the best performing region in terms of pupil-teacher ratio (36:1) compared to 52:1 in Katavi.
  • Pupil absenteeism is problematic across the country but some areas are harder hit: in Dodoma, 79% of pupils were present on the day of Uwezo assessment visit while in Mtwara, 61% were.

Read a full presentation on inequalities in education here.

Read more: education Tanzania

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