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Sweden & Tanzania

Education and Vocational training

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. Another focus is strengthening employability and entrepreneurship of women and men through support to vocational education and training.


In Tanzania, most children attend school. More than 90% of all girls and boys are enrolled in primary school and the Tanzanian government annually allocates about 18% of the national budget to education. Although, this does not mean that all children learn to read,  write and count, and quality of education is a challenge. Many young people also drop out of school before they finish primary education for various reasons, and school enrolment has decreased since 2012. There is further a need for strengthening incentives for girls’ participation in particularly secondary education and for creating better learning opportunities for pupils with disabilities.

Many young men and women have difficulties in joining the work force – due to lack of skills, lack of work experience, and lack of work opportunities.

Use of information and communications technologies (ICT), including mobile services, is on the rise in Tanzania, but the opportunities in ICT are far from explored and utilized in the context of the education system.

Swedish support

The 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.

Swedish support to the Tanzanian education is based on a systems perspective. In other words, Sweden plays an active role in the development of the education system, both on mainland and Zanzibar. A wide range of actors within the Tanzanian education system, such as the government of Tanzania, civil society, education researchers, and the private sector are Sweden’s partners to support improved education. The use of ICT and e-learning is strongly encouraged.

The main dialogue issues are:

  • Quality - Improved learning outcomes for both children and adults specifically related to literacy and numeracy and skills development.
  • Gender equality - women’s role in education especially within secondary education;
  • Vulnerable groups - focused on access to quality education for children with disabilities.
  • Equity - improved equity across the country on learning outcomes, and equitable allocation of resources within the education sector that deliver quality.

Until 2014 most of Sweden's financial support for education has been through the General Budget Support (GBS), complemented by support to civil society organisations, and support to Zanzibar education. In addition to the GBS the present and planned education portfolio include:

  • Starting 2015 Sweden will support the Big Results Now in Education through a Program for Results financing modality. Agreement between Sweden and the United Republic of Tanzania is expected to be signed during the beginning of 2015.  
  • A special Zanzibar education program support.
  • HakiElimu, an organization with roots in civil society has been supported in order to promote advocacy in education and give the public an opportunity to create and demand changes.
  • The research project UWEZO - managed by Twaweza -has been provided with resources for their work which focuses on education and school improvement at the local level. 
  • Innovative pilot projects focusing on schools' use of information and communication technology have been initiated.
  • Sweden expects to support the Productive Social Safety Net programme (PSSN), under which conditional cash transfers linked to primary and secondary education will be provided. Agreement between Sweden and the United Republic of Tanzania is expected during 2015. 
  • Planning is underway to identify interventions in support of vocational training and skills development.

In 2013 Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar were approved for support from the Global Partnership for Education, GPE. Sweden is appointed Supervising Entity for the grants. The role of the Supervising Entity is to oversee and support implementation. 

Recent results

The major investment in the school conducted over the past few years has contributed to improved access and equality in education. The number of children enrolled in school is high at all levels and the difference between the number of boys and girls who attend school have largely equalized. It can be noted though that enrolment rates have declined since 2012. 

The issue of quality in education is now high on the agenda of the Swedish dialogue with the government, civil society, academics and the private sector. The Swedish support to the education sector has also led to a more vigorous attention on the situation in Tanzanian schools. This is particularly the case with the UWEZO/Twaweza and HakiElimu projects; the two projects have together highlighted quality issues through research findings and encouraged self-help.

The annual UWEZO/Twaweza report has been discussed extensively in public and in parliament and has shifted attention away from enrolment towards quality and relevance of education. HakiElimu has instead focused on getting citizens involved in improving their own schools and is ever present in press and media. The combination of these NGOs has largely influenced the debate and action around education in Tanzania.

Other contributions though small, are helping the government make the right steps to address pertinent issues with innovative thinking and behavioural change. The pilot project promoting ICT in secondary schools demonstrates an increase in enthusiasm and participation in class and the positive effects of quality materials availability.

On Zanzibar, Sweden also contributes to the construction of classrooms and other facilities, which will allow about 12,000 school children, including students with disabilities, to go to school.


Helena Reuterswärd (

Stella Mayenje (  (on leave)

Theresia Moyo (

Last updated 21 Dec 2017, 10.24 AM