This paper reviews the research evidence of returns to education in
Tanzania, both financial and non-financial. It considers whether these
returns translate into poverty reduction. It reviews recent attempts to
reduce poverty through expanding access to education in the light of the
long term outcomes of Tanzania's attempt to achieve Universal Primary
Education (UPE) in the previous century.
The first part of this paper describes the Tanzanian context. An
overview of the history of educational development in Tanzania is given.
The current extent of poverty is explored by looking at statistical data
and surveys of Tanzanians' experiences and opinions. The education and
training system is then described. The political context of education
and poverty reduction is considered in terms of the local policy
environment and the influence of donors in the education and training
sector. Given the current context, post-basic education has been taken
to include secondary as well as tertiary education.
The next part of the paper reviews the research findings on the returns
to education in Tanzania. Research indicates that there are many
potential benefits to education, but that the poverty reducing effects
of primary education have been limited. Each education sub-sector is
then considered in more detail. At primary level, the low quality of
education is a likely reason for the limited influence that it has had
on poverty reduction. Secondary education has greater potential than
primary to provide individuals with a pathway out of poverty. However,
access to secondary education in Tanzania is very limited, especially
for the rural poor. Low quality and quantity of secondary provision has
had a negative impact on the quality in primary schools. Particular
attention is given to three phases of expansion within the formal
education system: the UPE drive of the late 70s and early 80s, the
Primary Education Development Programme and the more recent Secondary
Education Development Programme (SEDP). The balance between quantity and
quality is considered in each case. A problem encountered in UPE, and
anticipated in SEDP, is that the supply of teachers is limited by the
quality and quantity of higher levels of education. The impact of higher
education on poverty reduction is considered briefly. Links between
education, training and work are explored.
The final section of the paper looks at the social, political and
economic environment that school leavers have entered into. It explores
how this environment can either inhibit or enable the realisation of the
benefits of education. This environment has changed dramatically since
the time when the first UPE pupils were graduating. During the 80s there
were many barriers that prevented individuals from capitalising on their
education. Since then, many of these barriers have been removed. In
particular, the environment is now much more supportive of enterprise
and small businesses. Some aspects of the environment, such as access to
health services, have not changed as positively and barriers still exist
that impede the relationship between education and poverty reduction.
Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK, 56 pp.
Post-Basic Education and Poverty in Tanzania. Post-Basic Education and Training Working Paper Series - Nº1