January 25, 2009

Strong primary education progress in the Republic of Tanzania

On page 63 of this UNESCO report, I read about strong primary education progress in the Republic of Tanzania. Between 1999 and 2006 the number of out-of-school children of primary school age in the United Republic of Tanzania decreased dramatically - from over 3 million to under 150,000. A strong partnership of government, donors and civil society has been instrumental in the rapid improvement in access to and completion of primary education there. In 2001, the government abolished primary school fees and launched a programme to simultaneously improve access and quality at the primary level. The main components of the programme were:

1. Increased spending on education - with a focus on primary education
Public education spending rose from 3% of GDP in 2000 to 4.5% in 2005.

2. School construction and rehabilitation through school development grants
Between 2002 and 2004 some 30,000 new classrooms were built.

3. Introduction of double shifts
Splitting shifts made it possible to accommodate the large, rapid enrolment increases after fee abolition.

4. Recruitment of teachers and upgrading of current staff
An additional 32,000 primary school teachers were recruited between 2002 and 2004.

5. Introduction of school capitation grants
At school level, grants have paid for teaching and learning materials, including textbooks, to help defray school operating expenses and to support teachers’ professional development.
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