Tanzania is one of the most pertinent examples of a country where earlier efforts to get all children into primary schools yielded little apparent benefit in the long run. Tanzania came very close to achieving universal primary education (UPE) in the early 80s but by the end of the 20th century less than 60% of primary school-aged children were in schools. Although a relatively high percentage of the adult population have passed through primary school, Tanzania remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Reasons why primary education did not lead to poverty reduction in the Tanzanian case can be found both within the education system and in the environment into which primary graduates entered. This paper reviews the evidence of returns to education in the Tanzanian context and examines the factors that limited the realisation of the benefits of education in the past. It considers lessons learned from Tanzania's earlier experiences with UPE and then looks at current efforts to expand access to education.
8th UKFIET Oxford Conference on Education and Development, Oxford, UK, 13-15 September 2005,17 pp.