The Fruit of MKUKUTA in Tanzania's Education Sector: The Case of Secondary Education by Field Evidence from Two Districts

The Fruit of MKUKUTA in Tanzania's Education Sector: The Case of Secondary Education by Field Evidence from Two Districts
Authors: Nkyabonaki, Jason; Mkunde, Beatrice
Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 12, Number 1 / March 2013

Jason Nkyabonaki
The Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy

Beatrice Mkunde
The Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy


To promote the education standard in the country is a priority task for the Tanzanian government. This idea of promoting education is pre­vailing in the national vision from the onset of independence. The ef­forts of enhancing education are embedded in Tanzania Vision 2025 which are translated in National Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction (NSGRP) with Kiswahili acronym: Mkakati wa Kukuza na Kupunguza Umasikini Tanzania (MKUKUTA). However, it seems that implementation of this task may cause education quality prob­lems in so far as, since the onset of the Secondary Education Devel­opment program's (SEDP) policy, education sector has generally been more cherished in terms of increasing schools and classrooms than increasing teachers and other learning facilities. If promotion of education is premised on construction of classrooms and opening new schools, will it not lead to severe education quality decadence?

Our analysis based on field research reveals that this is not very likely to be the case: neither the present-day situation nor the tendencies we trace point to a high probability that this negative scenario will materialize. MKUKUTA policy initiatives will raise the standard of education levels after the stabilization of the take-offstage in the education sector and will rather contribute to a pace of national development.


To promote education is one of the fundamental points considered by the governments as a crucial factor for human development. Without education, the nation and people will fall prey to ignorance, poverty, diseases – a scenario that the post-independence Tanzanian government has perceived perfectly well.

Tanzania's National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Pov­erty (NSGRP), commonly known by its Kiswahili acronym MKU­KUTA, is the result of the revision of the Poverty Reduction Strat­egy (PRS), completed in June 2005 for implementation over the period 2005–2010. It is based on Tanzania's Development Vision 2025, especially in terms of an increased focus on even growth and governance targeting at poverty reduction outcomes which are con­sistent with, and indeed in many cases go beyond, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In half a decade, Tanzania was involved in MKUKUTA as a do­mestically developed and implemented roadmap for poverty mitiga­tion and wealth creation; the net results in education sector were decreasing number of ignorant citizens and formation of more in­formed and active citizens.

Around 80 per cent of the respondents accredited the coming of the government Ward schools under MKUKUTA as a landmark towards national development. They attributed development to the ability at least to secure and analyze information, a task wholly ful­filled in the course of learning in these secondary schools.

MKUKUTA I & II are profoundly based on the extensive so­cial inclusiveness which enshrines the central and local government, parliament, civil society, faith-based groups, private sector, districts and villages, and development partners. MKUKUTA involves the principles of national ownership; political commitment to democ­ratisation and human rights; maintenance of macroeconomic and structural reforms, building on sector strategies and cross-sectoral collaboration; strengthening of local partnerships for citizens' en­gagement in policy dialogue; mobilisation of aid; equality and sharing of benefits; sustainable development; decentralisation; and mainstreaming cross-cutting issues.

Meanwhile, MKUKUTA's objectives are encircled on three main cornerstones, namely:

• the economy growth and reduction of income poverty;

• improvement of life quality and social well-being; and

• governance and accountability.

The development and implementation of MKUKUTA have taken place in the context of a comprehensive multisectoral national plan­ning and budgeting systems aiming at boosting best practices entail­ing result-based management, political and administrative account­ability in order to achieve the set objectives.

The education sector is among the priority areas of MKUKUTA which is worked out to promote poverty reduction. The major as­sumption is that illiteracy disables one to see the invisible oppor­tunities which are only possible through the developed think tanks in schools. Following this assumption, the Tanzanian government has endeavored to promote education at all levels in order to maximize the potential of its human resources. MKUKUTA has objectively defined the key indicators for the education sector as follows:

• universal access for boys and girls to pre-school and primary education of high quality achieved (Net Enrollment Ratio – NER – to 100 per cent for pre-primary and primary);

• access to lower and upper secondary education for male and female students increased (NER to 45 per cent for lower secondary and 5 per cent for upper secondary);

• primary school survival rate for boys and girls (Standard I to Standard VII) improved;

• secondary school survival rates for boys and girls (Form 1 to 4; Form 5 to 6) improved;

• • improved pass rate for boys and girls at primary and secondary schools;

• • improved primary and secondary school transition rates;

• quality teachers trained, deployed, and retained to achieve rec­ommended students-qualified teacher ratio at all levels (primary = = 1:45 and secondary = 1:25).

• The MKUKUTA priority areas are benchmarks, which call for all stakeholders in the sector of education to coordinate their concerted efforts towards qualitative education, which ultimately will result in poverty reduction. The good governance norms require a shared responsibility between the government, CSOs and private sector for sustainable development. Within such an approach, the sector has made a tremendous vertical progress in the promotion of secondary education.

The Government's Medium Term Plan and Budget for 2007/08 – 2009/10 had a prime objective of distributing resources so that the gains made in social service administration, particularly with regard to primary and secondary education and in connection with primary health care, are consolidated so as to sustain delivery at least to current levels (URT 2007). In 2010, the Government of Tanzania allocated 1,205.9 billion – an increase from 787.2 in 2009/10. A large propor­tion of this increase came from foreign sources for funding develop­ment budget.

With respect to promoting the education sector, the Government has adopted the process known as ‘Opportunities and Obstacles to Development’ or ‘O&OD’ as a preferred approach to participa­tory planning, thus making the process start at the lowest levels of governance and community. Participatory monitoring has also been introduced to ensure that the framework is complied in line with national commitment to international frameworks. The monitoring framework encompasses the following:

a) Public Expenditure Tracking System (PETS) which involve communities and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs);

b) Participatory Service Delivery Assessments (PSDA). The ap­proach informs citizens to make a follow up of all the money that is being allocated for development. Despite the efforts made by the government, the state faces the following challenges to attain a full compliance with the objectives:

• access to information;

• communication barriers complicated by the language used in policy plans and reports;

• harmonisation of various participatory processes;

• awareness of rights and obligations;

• capacity constraints at individual and organisational levels, par­ticularly at the lowest levels of a town/village's structure, the mtaa (urban) and kitongoji (rural).

However, the country's aspirations are directed towards the trans­lation of Vision 2025 and MDGs into large tangible outcomes with greater alignment of the interventions towards wealth creation as a way out of poverty. This approach thus opens pathways for retool­ing subsequent medium term strategies and calls for a more active private sector participation. The total implementation of MKUKU­TA based on budget performance initiatives for wealth creation and poverty reduction would see Tanzania achieving the development agenda by 2015.

In spite of particular changes in education policy that occurred during the recent decades in an attempt, first, to build up socialism and subsequently to give it up, the sphere of education has always been a focus of Tanzanian government attention. It was the coun­try's first president, Julius Nyerere, who initially established such an attitude.

It is also very important to point out that the contribution of edu­cation is recognized not only by the country's political leaders, but also by the society. Following independence, the fathers of the na­tion resolutely endeavored to build the nation through promoting the education system. The move intended to increase the skilled human capital and develop active civil society in order to meet development challenges for peace and tranquillity of the nation. The University of Dar es Salaam was founded to promote the development agenda amidst other learning and training colleges such as Kivukoni Col­lege for adult education. It is through these established institutions the political culture was socialized, ultimately leading to the nation building under a common denominator of Kiswahili language. Since the country gained independence, the primary level education sys­tem uses Kiswahili as a medium of instruction and this is deliber­ately taken to be a point of strengthening national unity and patriot­ism. Hence, even those students who join the secondary and higher learning institutions use Kiswahili language in most of their extra curricula meetings. Therefore, education in Tanzania significantly contributes to the nation building and enhancing the civil compe­tence. Moreover, from 1967, Tanzania followed socialism policy which intended to promote self-reliance. One of the drivers in the promotion of this policy was the education based on self-reliance. The schools at all levels were to offer knowledge according to self- reliance model under the socialism policy. This kind of education to that end fulfilled the mission set for by the nation (Nyerere 1974).

A considerable part of population who viewed the lack of edu­cation as an underlying factor for ignorance, diseases and poverty the malignant enemies pronounced at independence. It is because of that reason the enrolment levels have been increasing from year to year since 2006.

The present article is based on the field evidence collected re­cently by the authors in two districts: Misungwi in the Mwanza re­gion in the North and Kilolo in the Iringa region in the central part of Tanzania.


Some people who were interviewed mostly said that ‘something is better than nothing’, this had an implied meaning as evidenced by some parents:

Many parents are poor. Many people don't have good educa­tion and this is why we cannot earn enough money to send our sons and daughters to English Medium schools. Hence, our lack of education is now bridged by our children who at­tend these new government Ward secondary schools. Thanks to the government.1

Along that way of thinking, it is argued that the political aware­ness among the youths particularly demanding for regime change, is an outcome of MKUKUTA on education sector. Though, not to understate the facts that MKUKUTA has not only stimulated the economic growth but as well has promoted the social networks and opened avenues for human progress. It was noted that around 75 per cent of students in these secondary schools were at least able to access internet. We consider this to be not only a sign of educa­tion development but as well an empowerment tool for the society citizens.2

The educators' views when discussing the foundations of MKU­KUTA on education and poverty reduction were of the opinion that education is largely expounding vertically but horizontally there is a problem of quality. Some individuals who support the establish­ment of government Ward secondary schools, rated the coming of these schools as a blessing for they have enabled parents even those looking socially helpless, to afford the secondary education expens­es by paying 20,000 Tanzanian Shillings.

This argument is cemented by the research conducted by Bon­darenko who as well compiled the perception of some Tanzanians re­garding education in the country. One of the respondents has aptly put it

The biggest thing, I think, is lack of education. Because peo­ple are not educated, because they are illiterate, they can­not get jobs; they remain poor and cannot give education to their children. So, this is a vicious cycle: illiteracy leads to poverty and poverty leads to more illiteracy … Educa­tion prevents poverty. An educated parent will never agree to his sons or daughters being uneducated … If someone gets a complete secondary education, he will try to give his child at least a complete secondary education too. And thus we will have another cycle: the educated people will get jobs and then influence the society. So, education and poverty are the main stumbling blocks in Tanzania today (Bondarenko 2004).

On the other hand, those individuals with opinion on these sec­ondary schools expressed their views by saying that with the ap­pearance of these schools, the poor are going to be poorer through the children who get the education which is neither competitive nor sufficient to make them successful in labour market. They claimed education to decline and one of the parents openly said ‘these schools are for the poor of my type and they have tended to yield individuals who cannot help anything, these are not schools but rather talking shops as there are no adequate teachers, books and other learning facilities. These are not schools. Let politicians and bureaucrats not cheat us’.3

The question of increased number of new schools is attribut­ed to the decrease of quality education. This however, is attribu­ted to the perception of the society particularly by old learned wom­en and men who associate education with fluency in international languages, especially in English. For instance, one retired primary school teacher commented: ‘our children today in government Ward secondary schools can hardly make up a grammatically correct sen­tence in English. Is this education? Alas, it is not education as their tongues are not sharp enough to speak English fluently’.4 But are there, nevertheless, real grounds to maintain that the ap­pearance of new schools creates the potential of decreasing educa­tion quality? Do our data support this hypothesis? In order to answer these questions, let us turn to the data obtained from the analysis of all the 80 completed questionnaires.

2.1. Teachers-Students Ratio

Our study has revealed that the teachers-student ratio is rather high for secondary schools per MKUKUTA parameter (in 2011 in Ward secondary schools it was about 1:45 while the standard norm is 1:25).

In both districts, the number of teacher student ratio is quite high despite of variations from year to year. It is observed that it is mostly in new schools that the teachers are very few in number and besides, those who are present are certificate holders famously known as ‘li­cence teachers’.5 As it is evidenced from the data, one notices that there is a problem of teachers' presence in terms of numbers but also in terms of quality as already stated above. It is worth noting that around 80 per cent of the schools face the shortage of teachers in science related subjects. It was well put by school leaders that the problem of teacher shortages has two dimensions, namely: the teacher-student ratio is really high but it is even higher than ever in science subjects. As one headmaster puts it: ‘my school has only arts teachers because even those teachers for science subjects lack qualification and hence use mostly punishments to threaten students not to ask questions’. The ratio is above the MKUKUTA aims and this might not be healthy for quality education propagated by MKU­KUTA which stands at calling for quality teachers ratio at all levels (primary = 1:45 and secondary = 1:25) (Table 1).

The ratio of teachers to students is very high comparatively to MKUKUTA's established benchmark of 1:25 teacher-student ra­tio for the secondary schools. Hence, it is inherently difficult for a teacher to manage and be able to teach effectively. We consider the high teacher-student ratio to be the source of many problems faced by schools performance either in examinations or in discipline. It is quite difficult for one teacher to keep a close eye on 60 students and be able to teach them in an appropriate manner. MKUKUTA II provides an indicator of secondary teacher-student ratio to be 1:25. However, the ambition faces the challenge in terms of enrolment levels that keep on growing from year to year due to the expansion of primary education. From the data in districts, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Forms 1–4 increased from 20 per cent in 2006 to 40 per cent in 2010. The same way, the Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) at this level increased from 13 per cent in 2006 to 30 per cent in 2010. In both cases, GER for males is higher than that for females. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Form 5–6 increased from 3.2 per cent in 2006 to 4.9 per cent in 2010. Also the Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) at this level increased from 1.0 per cent in 2006 to 1.9 per cent in 2010. However, the trend of transition rate from Form 4 to Form 5 was decreasing in 2007–2009. It is worth noting that the problem of teacher shortage does not necessarily lead to the produc­tion of low standard graduates, it rather produces individuals who are able to find materials by themselves and become self-independ­ent. The conclusion is drawn with confidence that the accumulated knowledge, skills and wider attributes will make the beneficiaries responsible citizens.

Moreover, the government recruitment of teachers for secondary schools has to be enhanced to ensure the expansion of enrolment matches with the teachers. Our study demonstrates that in some schools there are teachers who have been employed under the so called ‘clash program’ and now they are renamed as license teachers meaning that they lack the technical aspect of teaching.

In addition, the teachers training universities and colleges also leave much to be desired. There has been also an increased move towards enrolment of students in these colleges without a substan­tial programme of increasing number of lecturers. The teaching load seems de facto to be very high today in Tanzania's higher educa­tion institutions. Of course, the quality of teaching degrees produced leaves much to be desired as the workload makes the lecturers un­able to ensure the quality control in the teaching process. This can be exemplified by the following statement of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam when addressing the audience on the university's 50th anniversary, he said that ‘When the country got independence, the nation had very few colleges and universities also had a considerable number of students. But today, the popula­tion is more than 40 million and thus the number of students has rapidly increased while the physical and human resources to man­age have remained limited’.6 Our analysis shows that this in any case cannot ensure the quality of education to the future novices of teaching. Hence, the cycle of poor education remains vicious. Comparatively, the Netherlands' experience shows that there is no distinction between research-intense and other universities. With a few exceptions, every university lecturer is also supposed to be an active researcher.

A particular example is the Erasmus University Rotterdam whereby a standard teaching load for a person with a full time ap­pointment is 4 courses a year. Most courses are 10 weeks long, 2 hours a week; graduate courses are 15 weeks. All teaching staff supervise a few (roughly 3–5) BA and one or two MA dissertations annually, and mark an equal number of dissertations supervised by others. Class size varies from 10 students (MA courses) to about 100 students (some first year courses) (Robeyns 2009).

Meanwhile, in Tanzania, for instance, at the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy, a Lecturer has 8 hours per week and super­vises around 20 students for research and practical training in total. The class size ranges from 150 to 450 students. It goes without say­ing that the measure of quality leads to the danger side as quality is compromised by the workload.7

Nevertheless, the government's creativity to ensure all the sheep in the flock are reached by the master instead of abandoning them alone in the wilderness is commendable. The education through application of web-technologies to government teachers should be enhanced at their centres of work so as to keep them learning and serving.

Meanwhile, we found that most teachers do not feel comfortable with the job they have as they consider it to produce more difficul­ties than give an asset. When responding to the question whether it is prestigious to be called a teacher, some teachers were of the opinion that teaching profession is soiled by the politicians who discredit its image and make it the least respected profession. They said ‘it is be­cause you cannot take someone for a day and make him/her a medi­cal doctor, but in teaching profession it is done’. Other respondents also confirmed by saying that the government has left teachers as orphans for apart from being paid lowly, face other numerous prob­lems such as travelling long distances in search of their monthly sal­ary, poor housing, inadequate teaching aid and lack of extra income motivations. The evidence remarkable in this discussion was given by one of the teachers:

Look here, I am a teacher for about ten years now but I cannot even afford to ride a bicycle. What life is this? Do you think I will do my work committedly? It cannot be so. A politician in parliament sleeps without any significant con­tribution and if he/she makes it, it is about why cannot the par­liamentarians be given suits for attending the house meetings? This is unfair and it makes us despair. The individual parliamen­tarian gratuity after five years is about 100 million in Tanzanian Shillings. When can a teacher earn such an amount? This is the reason why teachers do not feel the sense of responsibility and it results in the decreasing education quality.8

2.2. Reference/Syllabus Books-Students Ratio

The study has revealed that the books-students ratio was very high: it was 1:39 in 2006 and 1:14 in 2010 comparatively. The MKUKUTA standard ratio is set to be 1:5, that is a book per five students, but the actual situation is very different (Table 2). In the year 2010, the two districts’ schools had a book-student ratio of 1:12. This is another blow in achieving MKUKUTA goals, that is a qual­ity education, which can contribute to the economic growth of the nation and reduce poverty. However, Table 2 shows that the ratio of reference/syllabus books to students gets lower and lower. This is the base of our argument that in the course of time after the stabilization of Ward secondary schools the fruits of MKUKUTA shall be tan­gibly realized. The unbelievers in district schools of ward schools would be left impressed due to the reaped MKUKUTA harvests in the education sector.

Furthermore, education is a key which opens up some closed op­portunities. The trends of education in which students have inad­equate reference books leave much to be desired if quality education is to be realized. However, we argue that the cognitive capacity of the secondary school graduates is enriched with abilities to manage at least their own lives and thus it is a source of stability and peace through having responsible citizens.

2.3. Teachers' Qualifications per District

In our study criteria of measuring quality of education have two aspects, that is, students passing level in form IV exams and the teachers' qualifications. It is observed that around 73 per cent of students who sat for the exams from 2006 to 2010 in the districts under study failed in their final examinations. From the remaining percentage of 27 % that passed, there are only 3 % who passed at the level of class I and III while the rest fall on class IV. Accord­ing to the Focused Group Discussion, the main reasons for such a mass failure include the lack of qualified teachers as most teach­ers seem to be ‘license teachers’ and even among those who are qualified there are still quite few to secure the teaching needs.

It is crystal clear from the study that the number of degree teach­ers in most schools is very low in comparison to certificate and di­ploma holders (Table 3). It is worth noting that the rural schools face a larger shortage of degree teachers than urban schools. Most schools near the centre had to some extent an average of 3 to 5 de­gree holding teachers while in rural schools it was between 0 and 2. It is well known that, a degree holder teacher is to be a mentor of other teachers holding certificates and diploma qualifications. The absence of a mentor may lead to what is observed today, that is a mass failure in the national examinations. In most schools, in par­ticular the case of Kilolo district, the degree holding teachers are very few and they were only 5 out of 51 teachers in 2010.

Furthermore, our study findings align with the entire national picture as the schools performance is quite low. Education leaders doubt on the quality of secondary education and it has remained an outcry. The percentage of students passing Form 4 examina­tion (Division 1–3) shows a slight improvement, but since 2002 the results fluctuate at the average of 30 per cent level which is only half way towards the target of 70 per cent of students attaining Division 1–3. Moreover, the pass rates in Form 4 examinations have been fluctuating from year to year, the highest in 2004 (91.5 %) and the lowest in 2009 (72.5 %). The percentage of students re­corded failed started to increase again from 2008 (16.3 %) to 2009

(27.5 %) (Policy Forum 2011). However, the education skills and wider attributes gained by the students who get even below Divi­sion 3 are not as they were at the primary education level. Probably, they have gained something to add value to their personal life and society. It is the conclusion of this study that the gains attained by students are crucial for socio-economic development of the country.

The remarkable evidence from our study shows the trends of de­teriorating quality of education to be attributed to various factors and reasons that include, on the one hand, the unfriendly learning envi­ronment and, on the other hand, the character of the society compris­ing irresponsible parents who do not strive for the academic progress for their children. The decline in students' passing exams therefore should not be attributed to the government but the entire society (Pol­icy Forum 2011). The total number of teachers' training institutions, the governmental and private, is 103, they produce 52,146 teachers for secondary schools and these are responsible to teach 1,789,547 sec­ondary school students. This is quite a challenging ratio for the qual­ity of the secondary education in Tanzania (URT 2011a). Following the existing gaps between graduating teachers and students enrolled, there is a voluntary doubt that quality cannot be achieved. However, most graduating teachers tend to leap at the chance to stay in large cities and other urban centres such as of district and region centres. The relevant ministry has been doing everything possible to ensure that every region and Ward secondary school gets a certain num­ber of teachers per year. However, the major problem is that most graduates leave the rural government posts and strive to find private schools employment in the urban areas. This tendency has increased the decline in the quality of education in public schools. This is re­flected through the results of national exams, whereby the private schools which attract best teachers due to high salaries occupy the first ten positions. For instance, the average starting salary for de­gree graduates in private schools is 600,000 Tanzanian shillings while in public schools it is 450,000 Tanzanian shillings. It is worth noting that most students pursuing teaching education feel inferior to other students of non-teaching courses. The reason is that teach­ing is considered the least paid job and a work left for those who fail to compete in other programmes. For instance, for a candidate to join law studies at the University of Dar es Salaam should have Division 1 score in Form 6 while for the teaching degree programme an extension is made to Division 3.9

2.4. Students and Toilet Holes

The study findings show that most schools are doing better in ensuring students' sanitation through increasing the minimum ratio of students and toilet holes. In two districts, the students-toilet holes ratio is between 1:30 minimum and 1:48 maximum (Table 4). According to the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, the ratio should stand at one hole per 20 girls and one hole per 25 boys. However, given the establishment of the new Ward government schools and burning concerns to stabilize, the ratio is still satisfactorily conducive for students to learn and grasp. More­over, starting from 2006 some schools have been enduring expansion pro­grammes in construction of classroom without endeavoring the increase of toilet holes. This would result in a serious overwhelming of pre­sent structures for sanitation. Therefore, any planning regarding the expansion in terms of enrolment should combine with the increase of toilet holes.

However, our study shows that the ratio of students to toilet holes is gradually decreasing in conjunction with the government's efforts of promoting education in the country, an aim enshrined in MKUKUTA. It is thus summed-up by arguing that the falling ra­tio of students-toilet holes at this initial stage of Ward secondary school construction, the future will see light at the end of a tunnel in areas of socio-economic and political development.

2.5. Students with Special Needs for Their Education

The study findings reveal that students with special needs are ac­cepted to schools (Table 5). The phenomenon of students with spe­cial needs is recorded in every district. It is a success on the side of the government and pro-poor activists who worked to convince the society that deformation of a body does not impede a person from realizing their life dreams. The guardians seem to have understood the subjects as today such persons are enrolled and they pursue their education as other students with no disability.

Moreover, the major problem that the study has found is that many benefactors who offer to pull out these special needs students from a state of deprivation of their right to education, focus on pay­ing school fees, buying uniforms and sometimes preparing lunches and dinners. Most respondents were of the opinion that the benefac­tors should not end up spending money on workshops but should enhance the learning environment of these students as the infra­structure in place is not friendly to them. Some respondents called it a deception to continue offering dinner coupons to these special needs students without transforming structures that would eventu­ally create a friendly learning environment for them for future goals.

The psychological motivation to parents/guardians, who still keep their children in the kitchen simply due to their deforma­tion, would see the need and rationale of sending these children to schools as they look at the success of those in similar status. One of MKUKUTA's objective is to ensure social inclusiveness and safety nets to vulnerable groups. This objective is given a golden mark of success as we see that in both districts the numbers of students with disabilities are above the obstacles which used to plunder their paths to education and other social related cores.

2.6. Schools' Infrastructural Layouts

Our study reveals that most schools are exceeding well by hav­ing infrastructures which support the teaching process. About 60 per cent of schools are supplied well to be a source of power in most districts. Electricity supply is a very important component particularly for science and technological studies. Thus, without such a utility it would be difficult to practice on the part of stu­dents pursuing science and technological studies. Having electric­ity is one thing and doing scientific experiments is another thing. For instance, it is uncomfortable to see that in some schools elec­tricity is available but they do not have laboratories for science subjects and those who have these laboratories face shortage of equipment. Hence, the education authorities should ensure the school laboratories are well equipped to promote the scientific learning.

The staff housing particularly teachers was another component noted with concern in our study. We found that in about 90 per cent of all districts under study the schools had some houses for teachers. The outcry from the respondents is that in most cases these houses are not adequate to satisfy the needs and still what is worse they claimed that the houses were not constructed properly. This is a very important aspect to discuss as the government budget allocated for construction of houses for teachers may not be realized. This de­mands not only the accountability in terms of how much money was spent but as well the quality of what the money was spent for. It has been a practice in the public sector, for officials to account in num­bers leaving the qualitative aspects aside. The school boards should ensure that the construction of houses for teachers is performed ac­cordingly, that is with efficiency and effectiveness.

We observe that the absence of adequate houses for teachers in some schools would be the factor for some students' failure in their final examinations. From the focused group discussion, the over­all argument was that for most teachers to walk a long distance to school was a factor reducing their efficiency. One contributor put it the following way: ‘teachers are tired before start teaching’. This can be interpreted that without proper housing policy for teachers the performance and teaching efficiency can be hardly achieved.

Moreover, most schools have no libraries and above all do not have laboratories. Without libraries, it is difficult to develop the cul­ture of self-learning and entrepreneurship. It would be a great factor which can promote national development if students are made to learn through practices in school laboratories and libraries. MKU-KUTA's target of promoting school performance to a desirable lev­el still has a chance if the government will invest in libraries and school laboratories. Around 89 per cent of schools had no libraries and laboratories. Even the remaining 11 per cent which had librar­ies and laboratories were dissatisfied particularly with the equip­ment available. The quality of education can only be achieved if the learning environment is made friendly in terms of ensuring proper infrastructures in place.

2.7. School Drop-Outs

The study has observed that on average the schools are doing very well in retaining the enrolled students upfront to the final year. In the two districts the school dropouts numbers are decreasing and this is an area where MKUKUTA would be given a credit as the retention of students is attributed to good school governance (Table 6). In Mis­ungwi district, most students who drop out are males who go for fish­ing activities as a way of increasing family income. Pregnancy cases are at a level that is moderate in almost all districts with exception of Misungwi, which seems to have registered a high number of dropouts due to pregnancies that accounts for 85 students of all dropout cases in the two districts. The rest of the factors that contribute to school dropouts include family poverty, shortage of teachers, truancy and la­ziness, lack of parents' motivation to education, sickness and orphan­age as well as death. All these factors should be mitigated in order to ensure the dropouts are reduced and controlled to their lowest levels.

The village governments in Kilolo District are doing a very good job as they cooperate with school authorities to punish par­ents and students who drop out of school. The village govern­ments, for instance, impose some fine to parents whose children fail to go to school out of no sound reasons. This is a good prac­tice simply because it shows a total governance approach as every stratum of society should feel responsible for promoting develop­ment. Poverty reduction would be a success story only if every segment of the society fulfils its function; the total result would be a shared responsibility and cumulative development. The culture of total governance in promotion of development should be given a primordial importance. It is revealed from the findings that about 77 per cent of respondents said the process of participatory govern­ance in schools was efficient and effective. The remaining 23 per cent said, it is more of participated governance as mostly the col­lected views from the school level do not seem to be reflected in the district council's budget allocation for schools. It is worth noting that the 23 per cent claim of their voice not being reflected in the school budget does not eliminate the best practice of participatory govern­ance. However, the MKUKUTA's tier on citizens' participation is a success story particularly in the education sector as the agenda of school development is owned by people themselves. As a result, this reduces tension between the government and its people and thus inspires the national building spirit.

2.8. School Budget

The study has revealed that most schools have established a clear system of participatory budgetary processes. A budget is a plan and the planning seems to be involving the community members. The study shows that around 85 per cent of respondents were of the views that they participate in the process of monitoring the schools revenues. One should particularly note that most community mem­bers are not willing to actively contribute to development. It is evi­denced by the heads of schools almost in all districts that parents and guardians do delay to pay the required schools contributions, thus causing delays in accomplishing planned projects. However, the high ingredient attached to that unwillingness has been poverty that the heads of schools have mentioned to be featuring the com­munities. Hence, call for the wealth segment of the society to assist these schools has been made for the purpose of promoting quality education which is MKUKUTA's pivotal goal for poverty reduction.

Moreover, the district councils have been left not untouched. About 78 per cent of the heads of schools expressed the views that districts' authorities had always set their priorities and thus the school's set priorities are on the whole not reflected. The study in addition reveals that the planning processes at the grassroot lev­el and district levels do not seem to properly align because of the budget constraints that councils face. It is not by default but rather by design that the districts gradually adjust to the available resources with renewed intensity.

Moreover, the budgetary constraints to schools share around 99 per cent (Table 7). It is revealed from the field information that most school projects such as construction of classrooms, libraries and laboratories etc. have not been accomplished either on time or completely due to the grave differentials of amounts requested and appropriated by the government. For example, the study has also identified the delayed remittance of funds to schools which is one of the serious blocks towards the realization of efficiency. As it is said, a shilling of today is not a shilling of tomorrow, it is not surprising that most school projects take long to be ac­complished due to late remittances of funds which encounter inflation.

It is emphatically noted from the study that the participatory gov­ernance which is a feature of MKUKUTA has enabled the commu­nity identify with these established ward schools. The decentraliza­tion by Devolution policy of 1998 seems to be operative as powers to plan and implement development projects are absent to the peo­ple themselves under the guidance and counseling from the govern­ment. This is a right approach to development, as people know what they need and how much they can contribute in terms of money and labour. The government has to be lauded for sending signals of projects ownership to the community, as indeed it is a panacea to development obstacles. As identified in about 90 per cent of schools, there are volunteering teachers and they are paid through voluntary contributions made by the community. This is a different experi­ence as in the few recent years people would leave their homes (par­ticularly men) to avoid such contributions.10 The high-level rate of participation is an outcome of the policies pursued in the primary and secondary education programmes whereby school contributions became a matter of village government/ward business and not only that of schoolchildren's parents.

Moreover, the concomitant result of good governance is always enhancing loyalty to the people. The assumption is that through PETS and PSDA the community has become more aware of their weaknesses, strengths and opportunities. The identification of these tenets is a by-product of the government to implement good gov­ernance components of accountability and transparency on the rev­enue mobilized and the total expenditures. Thus, the efficiency and effectiveness of established Ward secondary schools and enhanced oversight powers granted to them (community) on the use of funds has greased their souls and minds to offer all that they have for their own development. The allocated budget in particular in 2010/11 financial year is 9.8 % and this amount is quite minimal to sup­port the secondary education in Tanzania (URT 2011b). The tech­niques for distribution of the information regarding the revenues for 99 % are common across all the districts. The school boards are given a mention by all the respondents as a body which connects the school authority and the public at large. It should be noted that the composition of school boards has to ensure a representation which reflects all the members of community from all people in society. This is desirable as it avoids elite capture in the local development processes that would transgress the entire governance motive under Decentralization by Devolution approach.


MKUKUTA policy is a benchmark for country's development through the accelerated public service delivery in the educational sector. The development in terms of increased number of con­structed classrooms has not only increased enrolment but also led to the creation of temporary and permanent employment opportuni­ties. This is an achievement as the community has benefited much from created employments which in turn have led to poverty re­duction. The construction of new schools has reduced the cost of sending students to the distant schools thus leading to the reduced expenditures on the part of the government and thus widening the spectrum for new investment ventures for poverty reduction.

The study also considered the budget execution to be a success as most of the communities are fully engaged in the monitoring of their money. It is a milestone in terms of achieving the MKUKU­TA pillars which envisage the transparency and accountability as the best practices for social economic development. The image of the government is standing at unbeatable stage for promoting loy­alty, thus maintaining peace and unity of the nation.

Our analysis has realized the significance of the study as a form of political socialization. This is through the increased enrolment of students who amidst existing challenges learn and integrate the society's values. It is an achievement which is gauged for the pro­motion of peace and security. Thus, the continued profile of national stability, peace and unity is expected to be on continuum due to the implementation of MKUKUTA at the grassroot levels.

Undeniably, the knowledge gained in the process of learning is a key to national development. This is due to the entrepreneurship and changes of mind set attained through books and practices that will cater for new ways of doing things and thus create more op­portunities for poverty reduction. Sustainable development is only possible through people who have knowledge to master their own circumstances and hence, the education sector expanded under the MKUKUTA initiatives will yield the results of transforming the na­tion from a critical level of poverty to a middle income country.

Therefore, the study concludes that education is a pillar that will transform Tanzania to achieve the MDGs and Vision 2025 trans­lated to MKUKUTA policy for sustainable development. The sec­tor contributes to national growth through inculcating the culture of hardworking which is an ingredient to poverty reduction. The pro­gressive efforts to promote education services have a trickle down effect which will ultimately make people widen their potential for venturing in economic promotion activities, thus leading to seeing Tanzania by 2025 wear a graduation gown for achieving the status of a developed country.

3.1. MKUKUTA Fruits Accrued in the Education Service Sector

Results of the study show that in the course of implementing the government budget aligned with MKUKUTA indicators in the ser­vice related sectors where education is not an exception, the follow­ing results have been achieved:

• Increased enrolment of students in teaching colleges and uni­versities mostly under the government sponsorship to mitigate the problem of teachers in the country.

• Creating employment for teachers and administrative staff.

• Community willingness to contribute to schools development, for example, through payments of temporary teachers.

• The construction and refurbishment of classrooms, staff houses and administration blocks.

• Buying school facilities including sport equipment.

3.2. Role of the Government Budget under MKUKUTA in Education Sector

The study has identified cardinal contributions of the implementa­tion of government budget under MKUKUTA for education sector to be:

• Training students' skills that would make them enterprise and thus become innovative and proactive for poverty reduction.

• • Educating for change of mind set about the values for develop­ment thus enhance the zeal of self-economic growth to individuals and the nation at large.

• • Mitigating the problem of teachers' houses and few class rooms.

• Promoting the government and non-government actors to sup­port children from economically poorest families so that the nation does not lose a think tank through students' inability to pay for their education.

3.3. Challenges

The realized challenges revealed by our analysis in the tracking of the government budget in education sector include:

• The projected funds are not granted timely and in abundance hence the slowness in the implementation of school projects.

• Late tuition fee payments by guardians/parents lead to school programmes inefficiency.

• Lack of school projects for mobilization of revenue to sup­plement the government grants to support school programmes and projects.

• Absolute poverty facing a large part of the community thus pro­ducing most parents' school fees defaulters.

• The presence of personnel who do not have adequate skills for enhancing quality education.

• Some students claim the status of orphanage after seeing other students are helped.

• Limited morale on parents regarding the contribution to school development.

• Laxity in the implementation of school board's resolutions and recommendations.

3.4. Recommendations

• The government has to timely pay the grants requested by schools to promote schools learning environment.

• The amount of school fees payable directly by parents to schools should be regularly reviewed.

• Stakeholders' participation in the process of education expendi­ture tracking should be enhanced for poverty reduction and good governance.

• School leaders have to ensure regular financial reporting to the parents/community in order to maximize their faith on the value of their contributions.

• District council leadership has to strengthen the budgetary pro­cesses for the sector of education in the district.

• Parents should become more proactive and responsible in mon­itoring the learning processes of their children.

• Schools libraries should be constructed and those in existence should be equipped to satisfy the status of a library.

• Each school has to put in place a proper record keeping system regarding students, teachers, property, etc.

• There should be special social benefits (higher salaries, reliable means of transport and communication, etc.) for teachers working in the hinterland and country side to encourage real qualified persons to go to work there.


It would not be possible to accomplish the task of writing this pa­per if not the solely assistance of Professor Dmitri Bondarenko – Institute for African Studies of Russian Academy of Sciences for his guidance and empirical intellectual advice.


1 A parent from Kilolo District interviewed on the coming of ward schools and their significance.

2 Field data and authors' emphasis.

3 A view of a parent interviewed in Misungwi District. Seemingly this parent is informed that is why might have looked at the issue from a wider angle.

4 Response of a retired primary school teacher in Kilolo district about new ward schools and education quality.

5 Licence Teachers refer to teachers who joined the education sector after a three months training which believably produced incompetent teachers.

6 Mwananchi newspaper 10th October, 2011.

7 Authors' experience at The Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy in 2010/11 academic year.

8 The views of a teacher who shared his feelings regarding education develop­ment in Tanzania.

9 Mwananchi newspaper 10th October, 2011.

10 Focused group discussion synthesized views on people’s perception on their responsibility to development 2011.


SEDP Secondary Education Development Program

PETS Public Expenditure Tracking System

PSDA Participatory Service Delivery Assessments

MDGs Millennium Development Goals

GER Gross Enrolment Ratio

NER Students' Net Enrolment Ratio


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