Education and Vocational training

  • SIDA_DG_DAR-22

    School children Photo: Rob Beechey

Sweden contributes to ensuring that more girls and boys acquire basic knowledge and skills in school and that the quality of primary and secondary education is improved.


As a result of the introduction of free basic education in 2014, a large number of new children from the poorest families have started school. The pressure on schools increased a lot and has led to a lack of teachers, classrooms and text books. More than 93% of all girls and boys are enrolled in primary school and the Tanzanian government annually allocates about 21% of the national budget to education. Although the Government has put much effort in increasing the education budget there are still challenges in regards to the quality of education. 20% of the children who are in the 4th grade cannot read and have difficulties to write and count. Many girls and boys do not complete basic education for reasons related mainly to poverty, early pregnancies and child marriage. On average, only 15 out of 100 children complete basic education. Furthermore, there is a need to strengthen incentives for girls’ participation in school, and to create better learning opportunities for pupils with disabilities.

United Republic of Tanzania is a union of Tanzania Mainland and the Zanzibar islands. Zanzibar has similar challenges as Tanzania Mainland in the education system, as a high population growth has resulted in a lack of classrooms, teachers and text books. The the general learning outcome is lower than on Mainland but the government is making efforts to improve the quality of education.  

Many young men and women have difficulties in joining the work force due to lack of skills and lack of work experience. To change this, Sweden supports vocational and entrepreneurship trainings.

Swedish support

Tanzania is one of Sweden’s biggest recipients of support for education. The country strategy includes two results related to education:

  • Greater number of girls and boys who acquire basic knowledge and skills in school.
  • Greater number of young people who complete vocational education and training, including the ambition that at least 10,000 people find employment.

Sweden’s support to the education sector is guided by improving the capacity of institutions and organizations to achieve the global sustainable goals on education (goal 4 and 5) in both the short and long term. Sweden has an active role in the development of the education system both on Mainland and on Zanzibar. A wide range of actors within the Tanzanian education sector such as the government of Tanzania, civil society, education researchers, and the private sector are partners in supporting improved education.

The main dialogue issues are:

  • Quality - Improved learning outcomes for both children and adults specifically related to reading, writing and counting.
  • Gender equality – girls’ equal rights to education.
  • Vulnerable groups - access to quality education for everyone, especially children with special needs and out of school children.
  • Equitable resource allocation - equitable access to resources across the country.
  • An effective Global Partnership for Education (GPE) – Sweden advocates for an increased aid-effectiveness.

Ongoing projects:

  • Sweden supports the entire education sector on Tanzania Mainland through a Program for Results Financing Approach. This means that funds are disbursed once the achieved results have been reported and verified by an independent body. The results to be delivered are linked to improved quality; learning outcomes and retention of children in school; if the capitation grant is paid timely to schools; teacher’s motivation; improvement of school statistic; improved reading, writing and mathematical skills; girls remaining in school; access to learning materials and to reduce the drops-outs.
  • Sweden has been re-elected for a second term to be the Grant Agent for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE)’s funds for both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar. As a Grant Agent, Sweden supports the government throughout the implementation of the program and is responsible for follow up and reporting to GPE.
  • GPE’s support to Tanzania Mainland is focused on a small number of subjects in primary school (reading, writing and counting), pre-primary school, children with special needs, development of curriculum and learning materials and community engagement for improvement of the quality of education.
  • GPE’s support to Zanzibar is focused on pre-primary school and an inclusive education.
  • Sweden supports the Ministry of Education in Zanzibar to strengthen their capacity in planning, implementing and follow up on its sector plan, with the purpose of more children getting access to a better basic education and more effective administrative systems. During the past years, Sweden has contributed to around 12 000 children getting access to classrooms, which are also adapted for children with disabilities.
  • The civil society plays an important role to influence and promote the participation of various actors in the policy work, create a debate, increase transparency and contribute to a results oriented research on education.
    • Haki Elimu (“the Right to Education”) works to influence policy making through public dialogue, research, advocacy and local networks;   
    • Tanzania Education Network (TENMET) is the only umbrella organization in the Tanzanian education sector. TENMET assembles almost 200 organisations working in areas such as girls’ right to education, education in refugee camps, education in sexual and reproductive health, etc.
    • TWAWEZA does research and contributes to a bigger public dialogue on education.  
  • Sweden’s support to the Productive Social Safety Net programme (PSSN) gives cash transfers to the poorest families, on condition that the children attend school.
  • Women and young people get the possibility to attend vocational education and receive training on how to start and run their own businesses through support to organisations like Femina Hip, Restless Development, the United Nations Development Assistance Plan (UNDAP), Coffee Farmers Alliances Tanzania (CFAT), the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) and Agricultural Markets Development Trust (AMDT).
  • UNESCO in Tanzania gets support through Sida’s regional team on sexual and reproductive health in Lusaka to develop learning material on education in sexual and reproductive health.

Recent results

The results based support, which was introduced in 2015, is the first of its kind in the education sector on a global level. It requires understanding by local education agencies as well as on a central level on what different actors need to do to achieve the planned results of which the payment is conditioned to. The program has contributed to the development of a willingness to work for strengthened reading and mathematical skills in grade 2, better data and statistics for different education levels and more students passing their exams. Even though many new children have started school, retention of students has increased. Many fear that students might leave school due to full classrooms and few teachers, something the ministry wants to tackle through, among other things, more effective use of classrooms and the teachers’ time.

The civil society organizations’ efforts have contributed to a more active debate; influence on education policies and more actors, such as parents- and village associations, participating in the school’s work. GPE’s support to Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar has contributed to an increase in the number of children who attend pre-primary school; enrolment has almost doubled the past three years. The focus in primary school is on reading, writing and counting; the foundation for acquiring knowledge in the higher classes. New text books, teacher education and education of school committees have also been part of GPE’s support.


Helena Reuterswärd (

Stella Mayenje (  

Philip Finell (