English is taught as a subject from Standard Three onwards and is the medium of instruction in secondary schools and other institutions of higher learning. All primary school textbooks, except English textbooks, are written in Kiswahili. English textbooks are used in secondary schools and institutions of higher learning.
The Tanzanian educational system is based on the 7-4-2-3 system: 7 years of primary school, followed by four years of secondary school leading to Ordinary Level (0-level) exams in nine subjects, followed by two more years leading to the Advanced Level (A-level) exams in nine subjects, including General Studies. In the second year of secondary school, there is a national assessment examination which allows those who pass to continue to study for an additional two years. After those two years, students take the Certificate of Secondary Education Exam (CSEE), held in November; the results come out in March of the following year. Two years later, A-level exams are given. After the final year of secondary school - the thirteenth year - students can take the Advanced Certificate examination, which is recognized all over the world. On the average, a student can complete the Bachelor’s degree in three years, although some majors require more time.
0-Levels: The Certificate of Secondary Education is awarded in four divisions to candidates who conform to entry requirements:
Division One: is awarded to candidates who (1) pass in at least seven subjects, which must include at least one subject in civics, Kiswahili, foreign languages, social sciences or technology, mathematics, natural sciences, commercial studies or home economics. (2) pass with grades of A- C in at least four subjects; and (3) reach an aggregate of not more than 17 points in the candidate’s seven best subjects.
Division Two: is awarded to candidates who (1) pass in at least seven subjects, which must include at least one subject as listed above; (2) pass with grades of A-C in at least four subjects; and (3) reach an aggregate of not more than 21 points in the best seven subjects.
Division Three and Division Four. descending from the above standards.
Candidates are eligible to enter the fifth year of secondary school if they pass in at least five subjects with grades of A-C on the CSEE.
A-levels: The two-year high school course commences in July. The Advanced Certificate Examination (ACSE) is taken in May, and results come out in October. Applications for university are made immediately after the ACSE results come out. The ACSE is awarded in four divisions:
Division One. A candidate must (1) pass General Studies; (2) pass with not more than 9 points in three subjects taken at the principal level.
Division Two: A candidate must (1) obtain a pass in General Studies; (2) obtain not less than two principal passes; and (3) obtain not more than 12 points in three subjects taken at the principal level.
Division Three. A candidate must (1) either pass two principal subjects or pass one principal subject with a grade not lower than C; (2) obtain not more than 17 points in three subjects taken at the principal level.
Division Four: A candidate must (1) either obtain at least one principal pass or obtain at least two subsidiary passes taken at the principal level.
Principal Passes range from A-E, or 1-5, with 5 representing E. Candidates may also be awarded a Subsidiary Pass: S, or 6. Failure is represented by F, or 7.
Subsidiary Subjects are General Studies and Basic Applied Mathematics. The only grades awarded in these subjects are S or F. Students who fail General Studies are awarded a Division Three Certificate, even if they perform very well in other subjects.
University Education: Tanzania has five tertiary institutions:
- The University of Dar es Salaam
- Sokoine University of Agriculture at Morogoro
- St. Augustine University in Mwanza
- Open University of Tanzania (which offers degrees through correspondence)
- Tumaini University (a private Lutheran institution). With campuses in Iringa, Moshi and Arusha.
Other institutions of higher education include the University College of Lands and Architectural Studies (UCLAS), the Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, the Institute of Finance Management in Dar es Salaam, and the Institute of Development Management in Morogoro.
The school year for tertiary institutions generally begins in September or October. This forces students to stay home for more than a year after they take the ACSE.
Minimum entrance requirements for university and institutions of higher learning under direct entry are: Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (C.S.E.E.) or equivalent, with passes in five approved subjects obtained prior to the sitting of the Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (A.C.S.E.E.) or equivalent; AND two principal level passes (in appropriate subjects) at the same sitting with total points not below 5 based on the following scale: A=5; B=4; C=3; D=2; E=1; S=0.5; F=0. Or two principal level passes (in appropriate subjects) not at the same sitting provided they are both grade C or higher.
The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam scrutinizes student visa applications closely for evidence of academic commitment financial support and evidence of ties.
The Educational Advising Service of the Public Affairs Section of the American Embassy Dar es Salaam receives inquiries from approximately 4,000 students annually. As of 1999, more than 900 Tanzanians are studying in the United States, this places Tanzania in 6th place in Africa.