Expansion of Private Secondary Education: Experience and Prospects in Tanzania

After decades of restricting private secondary education, the government of Tanzania embarked on new policies in the mid-1980s to support its expansion. The non-government sector expanded rapidly in response to high excess demand, raising transition rates to secondary education sharply.

But the new policies had little impact on student learning or school effectiveness, and were accompanied by widening social inequities and increased competition among schools for teachers and school heads.

The findings suggest a possible need to refine the government’s policies, for example, through selective subsidies to low-income students, and to schools that offer high-value added education.

A fundamental problem faced by all secondary schools, whether government or non-government, is that most students enter Form 1 without a strong foundation for subsequent learning, as evidenced by relatively low scores on the primary school leaving examinations even among the best students who enter sought after places in government schools.

Thus, beyond the interventions within secondary education, policies to upgrade learning at the primary level also warrant attention in any strategy to strengthen secondary education.


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