Education equity and quality


What UNICEF is doing

Early childhood development

Quality education

Gender equality

Children with disabilities

Life skills

Impact with equity

Results for children


What UNICEF is doing

UNICEF support to education in Tanzania focuses on:

  1. development of quality pre-primary education to help give children the best start in life
  2. improving the quality of education through support for in-serve and pre-service teacher training programmes at pre-primary and primary levels
  3. promotion of whole school development planning (WSDP) at the district, ward and school levels, which incorporates concepts of the child-friendly school and strengthening the inspectorate system and
  4. support for inclusive, child-centred and gender responsive education policy and strategy development at the national level.

UNICEF is an active member of the Education Sector Development Committee and the Education Development Partner Group (DPG), advocating for inclusive education policies, sharing best practices, and helping to leverage additional resources.

The goal of UNICEF’s work in education is to ensure that all children have access to quality primary schooling. This implies that children must be ready to learn, teachers must be prepared to teach, and school systems must be capable of managing the education process.

Quality education

UNICEF plays a critical role in helping Tanzania move towards a vision of quality and equity education. This is particularly important given the many challenges children face in going to and staying in school and getting a good education.

UNICEF supports the development and implementation of national quality standards that provide a holistic school development structure based on a child friendly approach.

This stresses the importance of providing an encouraging environment for learning in school, including safety and protection from violence, access to clean water and sanitation, as well as effective teaching and learning processes, improved governance and successful learning outcomes.

Support for in-service teacher education and training (INSET) in selected districts, Whole School Planning and strengthening the school inspection and supervision system is leading to a significant improvement on the delivery of quality education in these districts.

More important, it is providing evidence to Government of what works and what can be scaled up nationally.

Supporting early childhood development

UNICEF is one of Tanzania’s strongest partners in early childhood development. Support involves building partnerships and advocating for greater national investment in early childhood development, and improving the standards of preschool education by training teachers and other stakeholders. UNICEF also supports the development and pilot implementation of a cost-effective quality preschool model in order to inform and influence cost-effective early childhood development expansion strategies.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-1858/Noorani
Girls cut cloth in a tailoring class at the Kiwohede Centre, an NGO in Illula Township, Tanzania. The school offers a four-year course that includes English language instruction and vocational training.

Tanzania has recognized the importance in investing in early childhood development and the need for a multi-sectoral approach to address the holistic needs of young children and support to parents and families.

UNICEF is working in close collaboration with key ministries in the development of the Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy (IECD).

The policy addresses the holistic development of young children from birth to eight years and outlines the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in ensuring survival, development, protection and participation of young children.

To help practitioners improve service delivery, UNICEF supported the development of an IECD Resource Pack, which contains comprehensive information on IECD including advocacy planning.

Reducing gender gaps

UNICEF supports the Tanzania Gender in Education Initiative (TGEI) which was established in 2008 to advocate for gender issues in education.

The 52- member organisation has developed a joint work plan that focuses on improving retention and performance of both girls and boys in primary schools, as Tanzania seems to be on track towards achieving universal enrolment in basic education.

TGEI has a ten-member task force meets quarterly and has been instrumental in ensuring teachers and head teachers are equipped with skills to apply gender responsive teaching methods.

Moreover, in about 10 percent of primary schools, the Secretariat has trained teachers and pupils in TUSEME (Let’s Speak Out) approach that enhances child participation in matters of their concern, including development of life skills, especially for prevention of child marriage, early pregnancy and the spread of HIV/AIDS among adolescents. UNICEF is now supporting the scaling up of this programme to other districts.

Advocacy by UNICEF and partners to ensure that girls do not lose their right to education due to pregnancy resulted in a clear statement by the Education Minister about the right of school-age girls to be readmitted to school after childbirth, and opened up a dialogue about their right to attend school when pregnant.

In addition the Education and Training Policy, which is the guiding document for the Education Sector, now expressly states that pregnant girls must not be excluded from school and must be supported to complete their education.

Catering for children with disabilities

Support to the education of children with disability is another feature of UNICEF’s programme as this group of children is often undeserved in educational provisions. 

There are basic statistics available on the number of children with disabilities enrolled in primary and secondary schools. However this information is limited. For example, there are issues with the categorisations used for these children in BEST and not enough is known about the achievement rate for these disadvantaged groups of children.

A real concern remains the lack of information about children with disabilities who are not enrolled in school.  Children with albinism represent a particular at risk population, given certain cultural beliefs and practices which put their lives in danger and thus necessitate special protective measures beyond support that meets their specific learning and health needs.

UNICEF has commenced work with partners to address the needs of children in this population. Partnership has been established with Under the Same Sun (UTSS) and initial support has been provided to the MOEVT to produce a guideline for class interaction for children with albinism. More work is planned in this area to ensure that this particular group of children can access quality education services.

Life skills

HIV prevention education and reproductive health education are areas where existing school curricula contain gaps. UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEVT) to finalise a Life Skills education framework as well as a Care and Support strategy for the most vulnerable children, including children affected by AIDS.

The operationalization of these two strategic plans constitute the main area of UNICEF’s work and support in Life Skills, with the overall aim of equipping children with age appropriate information, knowledge, attitude and skills they need to make informed decision and choices in the areas of sexual and reproductive health. The TUSEME clubs that are supported by UNICEF in several districts have provided an effective model for empowering young children.

Impact with equity

Within the framework of the United Nations Development Assistance Plan (2011–2015) in Tanzania, and guided by a rights based approach, UNICEF commitment to addressing capacity gaps sustainably is strategic and focused on UNICEF comparative advantage and positioning in the education sector.

UNICEF will support education systems capacity development, by enhancing learning and the school environment and focusing on equity, gender and life skills.



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