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Tanzania Education Overview

Tanzania education sector presents opportunities for U.S. investors.

Tanzania’s Ministry of Education governs all activities related to the education sector in close coordination with the Ministry of Regional Administration and Local Government and the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender and Children. These two ministries assist the Ministry of Education in policy formulation, inspection, curriculum development, and facilitation of the education sector.

The education system in Tanzania constitutes of 2 years of preprimary education, 7 years of primary education, 4 year of secondary education, 2 years of advanced secondary education and 3 or more years of tertiary education. Tanzania is estimated to have about 44 higher education institutions which include 12 public universities and colleges, 21 private universities and colleges, 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.

Thee method of teaching is bilingual which means children can be taught in both English and Kiswahili. Private schools use English as a medium of teaching from primary schools onwards. Public schools use Kiswahili in primary education and English from Secondary education onwards. The government of Tanzania has placed great emphasis on the development of the education sector in the country.

This has been evident through the Tanzania’s Development Vision 2025 and the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP). One of the initiatives from these strategies is the government effort to improve the level of education in primary and secondary schools by providing free education to students enrolled in public schools so that no one is left uneducated. Despite the actions taken by the government to improve education in the country, there are still challenges facing the sector. Some of these challenges include lack of competent teachers, shortages on learning material, and inadequate class infrastructure to match with modern technologies.

These challenges present an opportunity for U.S. companies to invest in. In the year 2021, about 80,000 students passed their high school exams (advanced level education) and were eligible to join universities.  In East Africa, Tanzania ranks third behind Kenya and Rwanda in terms of students studying in the U.S.  Globally, Tanzania ranked as a small contributor of international students in the U.S., with approximately 800 students enrolled in the U.S. in the academic year 2019/20.

The main programs sought after by Tanzania students in U.S universities include IT & computer science studies, finance & accounting, business management, engineering, and medicine. Tanzania is now transitioning into an industrialized country, and the government is advocating for more science and technology in schools and there is a strong demand among students for this curriculum focus.

The country is now developing its oil and gas sector hence there will be a need of local engineers to service this sector. Furthermore, the current Administration of President Hassan has put an emphasis on developing the IT sector therefore it is expected more students will take an interest in computer studies.

Most Tanzanian students rely on scholarships and financial aid from schools. The upside potential for student growth in Tanzania is limited by parents’ ability to pay.  A small, elite population of Tanzanians spend an average of $20,000 per year on tuition, but even that limits the number of eligible students significantly.

There are number of ways to target Tanzanian students and to encourage them to enroll in courses offered in U.S. universities. Working with local education agents and consultants who send students overseas is one way. Growth in the education agent model is a recent phenomenon and can be helpful to target students who are unfamiliar with the U.S. education mode.  These consultants have the power to influence parents on which universities to send their children. U.S. universities can give these agents incentives such as a higher commission if they recruit Tanzanian students to study in the U.S.

By offering agents an attractive commission they can promote and recruit many Tanzania students to U.S. universities. Forming partnership with local universities and colleges is also another way to promote U.S. universities in Tanzania. Through partnerships U.S. universities and colleges can offer their courses at local colleges through online media which can supplement their current course offerings.  

Such a partnership could also lead to U.S. accreditation/recognition of their degrees. U.S universities can also market their online courses it to students in Tanzania. U.S. Universities can also have distance learning programs where they can offer their courses online and promote it and students can be able to access it.

A good example is the Harvard University Extension School an their counterpart in the U.S, Single School promotions where we promote U.S. universities in Tanzania by linking them with different stakeholders, Gold Key Services where we organize one-on-one meetings for U.S. universities to meet with education stakeholders and sell their products.

We also advise U.S Universities to attend College Fairs, Education USA forums, NAFSA conferences, and webinars. Thd the Boston University Online. The U.S. Commercial Service in Tanzania provides various support to U.S. education clients such as virtual introductions with local universities and schools, International Partner Search where we find suitable universities and schools to partner withese few recommendations have worked out for many institutions in building their relationship with the local market.

Opportunities that exist in Tanzania education sector for American organizations to invest are:

  • ICT infrastructure in schools and universities to facilitate modern day learning in and outside classrooms
  • Introduction of new courses in computer coding, fashion, animation and cinematography, music, sports management

These courses can be offered online or through partnering with local institutions. There is a huge market for these subjects among Tanzanian youth compared to traditional courses. Working with local education agents by providing them with incentives to promote U.S universities among parents and students.

For more information on the Tanzanian education market or to begin to introduce your school or education technology/product to Tanzanian partners contact Commercial Specialist Athanasius Lupatu at the U.S Commercial Service, U.S Embassy, Dar es Salaam,