Education sector in Tanzania

The Tanzanian government’s aim is for a well informed and educated society which could efficiently use the country’s natural resources, and it has called on investors to help improve the quality of education.

Market overview

Education is a continuously developing sector that is contributing significantly to the Tanzanian economy, hence creating a need to develop, up to-date systems and products to match the fast growing technologies and curricula in the world. Tanzania is aiming to harness and improve the skills of its people for accelerated economic growth.

Tanzanian government is keen to develop the education sector and has placed the sector as one of its top priority sectors. This is evidenced by several initiatives by the government. First, Tanzania’s Development Vision 2025 proposes "a well-educated and learning society" as one of five major attributes. Also, education is identified as a main area of focus in the government’s National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP).

Furthermore, in recent years the government has concentrated on implementing its Primary and Secondary Education Development Programmes (PEDP and SEDP) which aim to improve the level of education in Tanzania. The education sector also receives more public funding than any other sector in the country.

However, despite the initiatives, the education sector in Tanzania is still facing major constraints. Currently, the biggest challenge facing the sector is the shortage of teaching and learning materials i.e. lack of adequate textbooks, reference books, journals and lack of adequate modern equipment and laboratory equipment that match with modern technologies. Provision of above services could be areas of potential investment for UK companies.

In addition, the Tanzanian government is encouraging the private sector to set up specialised schools of excellence in management, engineering, finance, marketing, oil and gas and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Three ministries manage and co-ordinate the Education Sector in Tanzania, namely Ministry of Education and Vocational Training which coordinates all the education sector activities whilst the Ministry of Regional Administration and Local Government manages basic education. Another ministry, the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children is responsible for policy formulation, inspection, curriculum development and facilitation of folk education. At Tertiary level, planning and service delivery are vested with the institutions themselves through their Governing Councils.

Nevertheless, co-ordination and quality control is the responsibility of the Higher Education Accreditation Council (HEAC). At primary and secondary levels quality assurance remains to be the responsibility of School heads, Ward Education Office and School Inspector.

Education infrastructure

Tanzanian’s education structure was built from the British education system; due to this historical link with the UK, many private schools today follow the British curriculum.

The structure of the Formal Education and Training System in Tanzania constitutes 2 years of pre-primary education, 7 years of primary education, 4 years of Junior Secondary (ordinary Level), 2 years of Senior Secondary (Advanced Level) and up to 3 or more years of Tertiary Education. Specifically, the education system has three levels, namely: Basic, Secondary and Tertiary Levels.

Basic or first level education includes pre-primary, primary and non-formal adult education. Secondary or second level education has Ordinary and Advanced level of secondary schooling while Tertiary or third level includes programmes and courses offered by non-higher and higher education institutions.

There are a total of 44 higher education institutions distributed as follows; twelve (12) public universities and university colleges/institutes; 21 private universities and university colleges; and eleven (11) non-university higher education institutions (including technical colleges, but excluding non-university institutions in Zanzibar), most of these are currently offering degrees in professional fields.

The University of Dar es Salaam is the oldest (1961) and largest university in the country, followed by Sokoine University of Agriculture (1984) in Morogoro region, and Muhimbili University of Health Sciences (1991) in Dar es Salaam.

Medium of Instruction

The main feature of Tanzania’s education system is the bilingual policy, which requires children to learn both Kiswahili and English. The bilingual education is mandated by law. English is essential, as it is the language which links Tanzania and the rest of the world through technology, commerce and also administration.

The learning of the Kiswahili enables the Tanzanian students to keep in touch with their cultural values and heritage. English is taught as compulsory subject in the primary education whereas at post-primary education, it is the medium of instruction whilst Kiswahili is the medium of instruction at primary education. However, recently majority of private primary schools are using English medium as the language of instruction.

At tertiary education, Kiswahili is taught as a compulsory subject whilst English remains an optional subject.

Key opportunities

Public and private investment in education has increased tremendously in the last few years.

However, opportunities still exist in the following areas:

  • Construction and operation of private schools and colleges at different levels such as Primary, Secondary, High Schools, Vocational Training Centres, and Universities.

  • Establishment of industrial, vocational and technical training facilities and encouraging the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at all levels. Vocational training is another area that is developing and requires to be developed further i.e. in terms of industries such as retail, tourism, IT, oil and gas etc which are all fast developing and employing a large number of the local population in Tanzania.

  • Special Needs – this sector is very much under developed in Tanzania, with only 2 full time special needs schools which have short curriculums that don’t cover all the needs of its students. Opportunities exist in training professionals/teachers in schools, setting-up/implementing curriculums to include all different special needs area (e.g. teaching the partially blind/deaf, dyslexic, mentally disabled, etc) and supply of products to schools and other special needs institutions.

  • Supply of products such as learning materials in terms of books, computers, digital libraries, and mainly for the large number of students following UK-based courses e.g. ACCA, ABE, etc and books for private schools offering the British curriculum. In addition to this, there is a need for specialised equipment e.g. research laboratory consumables and music and art products amongst others.

  • Continuous Professional Development is not only being recognised a lot more but also being implemented by the larger/international and medium sized organisations, creating opportunities to provide up to date and a continuous development plans for these organisations. Some of the smaller organisations are also looking into development plans for their staff, hence creating opportunities for UK SME’s too.

  • Corporate training into various disciplines such as banking, tourism, media, legal sector, mining, oil and gas and consultancy services are among the areas with numerous opportunities in Tanzania.

Latest export opportunities in the Education & Skills sector.

Latest export opportunities in Tanzania.

Getting into the market

The most suited market entry strategy is through formation of a partnership with an existing institution. This model is currently in existence and has been working well between foreign and local colleges and universities. Through partnerships UK colleges and universities are able to offer a number of their courses at local colleges which can then result in UK accreditation. This option gives the local colleges an edge over their competitors as UK accreditation is regarded highly in the Tanzanian/East African market.

More about doing business in Tanzania.


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events in Education & Training sector

Annual Conference of Association for Educational Assessment


12 – 16 August 2013

Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Sectors: Education & Training
Countries: Tanzania
Topics: Getting Started
Export Action Plan