Tanzania's Ministries of Education, Schools2030 and UNICEF's Data Must Speak research join forces to improve education in the country

12 May 2022
Students in a classroom, Tanzania

12 May 22, Florence/London – UNICEF’s Data Must Speak Positive Deviance* Research is expanding into Tanzania. The research, which is now active in 14 countries, aims to improve education around the world by identifying best practices from schools that are doing well.

The Data Must Speak (DMS) Research identifies these ‘positive-deviant’ schools and explores why they perform better than others despite operating under similar conditions. Using a mixed-methods approach, positive deviant schools will be analysed to identify exceptional behaviours and practices. By working hand-in-hand with Tanzanian Ministries of Education (MoEVT and MoEST ) and local partners, promising grassroot education innovations can then be scaled to improve learning for every child.

Some Tanzanian schools involved in the DMS research will also be taking part in the Schools2030 project – a global initiative led by the Aga Khan Foundation which seeks to catalyse school-driven holistic learning innovations to improve quality teaching and learning across ten countries and 1000 schools. By identifying positive school-level trends and the factors that contribute to some schools outperforming others, the DMS Research will gather evidence that in the long term, will help efforts to scale positive trends to impact education systems and learners worldwide.

The data gathered through this research, which is funded by the Jacobs Foundation as part of Schools2030’s research workstream, will then be used to produce accessible and actionable recommendations on how to scale these local solutions to ensure that children’s learning outcomes can be improved nationwide and in the entire global learning community. Specifically, results from this research will support the mission of Tanzania’s Ministries of Education to strengthen the country’s public education systems. Key insights are expected to be incorporated within Tanzania’s ongoing Education Development Plan, and findings from future stages of the research will continue to feed into government education sector planning.

“Schools2030 and Data Must Speak share a core belief that teachers are the most important change-agents in education systems. This research partnership will allow us to identify and amplify examples of “what works” by teachers for teachers, to improving learning outcomes and equity,” said Dr Bronwen Magrath, Schools2030 Global Programme Manager.

“Partnerships are essential in our goal to inform systems-change and drive action towards greater educational achievement. This new partnership is hugely welcomed, and we look forward to exploring the insights that high-performing Tanzanian schools can offer our global research,” said Renaud Comba, Data Must Speak Research Manager at the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti.

Preliminary findings on contextual factors that contribute to school performance will be published by mid-2023 on the DMS research webpage.

The research will form part of broader discussions about how best to promote cooperation and dialogue between schools, systems and societies to improve holistic learning outcomes that will be taking place at the inaugural Schools2030 Global Forum in June 2022 in Dar es Salaam.

Notes to editors
*Positive deviance research works through identifying individuals or organisations that are performing better than their peers, despite being subject to similar constraints or challenges.
*The DMS research is currently operating in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.

Media contacts

Kathleen Sullivan
UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti
Tel: +39 055 2033 222
Sarah James
Global Communications Manager
Tel: +44 207 387 3862
Tel: +44 738 489 2599

About the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti

The Office of Research – Innocenti is UNICEF’s dedicated research centre. It undertakes research on emerging or current issues to inform the strategic directions, policies and programmes of UNICEF and its partners, shape global debates on child rights and development, and inform the global research and policy agenda for all children, and particularly for the most vulnerable. Visit www.unicef-irc.org and follow UNICEF Innocenti on TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work for children. We also promote and protect children’s rights in the UK and internationally. We are a UK charity, entirely funded by supporters. United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), Registered Charity No. 1072612 (England & Wales), SC043677 (Scotland). For more information visit unicef.org.uk.

About Schools2030

Schools2030 is a ten-year participatory learning improvement programme based in 1,000 government schools across ten countries. Schools2030 supports teachers and students to design and implement education micro-innovations. These low-cost and scaleable innovations will inform and transform education systems to improve holistic learning outcomes for the most marginalised learners worldwide. Join the movement on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

About the Aga Khan Foundation

Established in 1967, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) brings together human, financial and technical resources to address the challenges faced by the poorest and most marginalised communities in the world. Special emphasis is placed on investing in human potential, expanding opportunity and improving the overall quality of life. The Aga Khan Foundation is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network.