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Chapter 4 - Tanzania

4.1. Educational provision: An overview
4.2. Knowledge generated
4.3. Government interventions
4.4. NGO and Donor interventions
4.5. Donor interventions
4.6. Conclusions and recommendations


4.1. Educational provision: An overview

4.1.1 Primary and secondary education
4.1.2 Post-secondary education and training
4.1.3 Literacy and non-formal education
4.1.4 Education funding

The Tanzanian education system currently faces a crisis in terms of resources and management, in particular, teachers are demoralised, primary infrastructure is poor, and the curriculum lacks relevance. Parents are questioning the value of sending their children to school. Thus, gender must be considered in the context of a falling overall demand for primary education.

The principle of equality underpins the constitutions of Tanzania and Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM). Education, and specifically, basic education is regarded as a human right to be guaranteed by the state (Meena, 1995). From 1967 up until the mid 1980s, education policies were declared in the form of resolutions and decrees as part of the programme for 'socialism and self reliance'. The first education policy statement 'Education for Self-Reliance' (which formed part of the famous Arusha Declaration) stressed the need to break with the colonial past and emphasised educational 'relevance'. Despite the fact that the Nyerere government wanted to replace an overly academic system which serviced the elite in the colonial period, the primary curriculum never effectively incorporated skills useful for rural life (Cooksey and Riedmiller, 1997). Although not questioning the inherent gender bias of the education system, equity of access by region and gender was actively promoted.

4.1.1 Primary and secondary education

With the introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) policy following the Musoma Resolution of 1974, primary enrolments increased very rapidly. Achievements in terms of raised levels of literacy and increases in primary school enrolments were particularly impressive during the late 1970s. The gender gap for primary enrolments narrowed substantially (see Figure 1) and gender parity between the sexes was reached by 1985.1 However, GERs fell during the 1980s, largely as a consequence of economic crisis. The decline in both GERs and NERs which occurred during the 1980s was mainly due to a growing disillusionment with formal schooling among both pupils and parents as the quality of primary schooling deteriorated rapidly. At the same time, the average age of first enrolments also rose and, by 1993, was 9.0 years for girls and 9.7 for boys. A number of reasons explain this trend including parental considerations that children are too immature, increasing needs for child labour, and distance to school. Girls are somewhat less likely than boys to complete primary school.² It appears that the downward trend in GERs and NERs at primary had levelled off by 1993.

1 Although there was considerable regional variation in the proportion of girls and boys enrolled.

² World Bank Social Sector Review, 1995.

Figure 1: Gross and net enrolment by gender at primary level, 1978-1994

Source: Komba et al. 1995: Appendix 2.1

Drop-out rates for both boys and girls rose in the 1980s although they improved somewhat in the mid laces. Based on a cohort of 1,000 students, and using 1993-94 promotion and repetition rates, it has been estimated that 37% of boys and 34% of girls will fail to complete primary school (Peasgood et al, 1997). The higher drop of rates of boys in some areas can be explained by the need to contribute to family income in times of economic stringency. Girl's drop out from school can be attributed to a number of economic, social and cultural factors including initiation, early marriage and pregnancy. With automatic progression up to Standard IV, repetition rates for primary are relatively low in Tanzania, only 3.1% of those enrolled were repeating in 1994 (ibid).

Figure 2: Drop-out of boys and girls, 1993/94

Source: Peasgood, 1997. Calculated from MOEC data.

The terminal primary education policy that was adopted in the late 1960s restricted the expansion of post-primary education while guaranteeing jobs in the public sector for a small elite of secondary school and university graduates. Consequently, aggregate transition rates to secondary never exceeded 15% between 1986 and 1996. Much smaller numbers of boys than girls make the transition to secondary school. In 1990, female students comprised only 45% of enrolments at lower secondary schools and only 29% at upper secondary schools. Despite some expansion in the post-independence period, the secondary sector remains small. The gross enrolment rate for secondary education as a whole rose slowly from 3.3% in 1985 to 4.7% by 1990.

The overall decline in admission rates to secondary school was reversed after 1984 due to the growth in private schools. Female admissions to Form 1 rose from 11,529 in 1987 to 23,018 in 1994 with the proportion of girls enrolled at private schools being 62% and 57% for these years respectively (MOE, BEST, 1995). A higher proportion of girls are enrolled in these lower quality private schools than in public secondary schools. Despite the overall increase in enrolment rates for secondary schooling, drop-out rates have risen for both girls and boys. While a smaller proportion of girls enter Form 1, the drop-out rates during the secondary phase are significantly higher for girls than boys, particularly in the public secondary schools (see Table 1).

Table 1: Form I & Form IV enrolment and drop-out rates at the secondary level

Form I 1991

Form IV 1994

Implicit drop-out rate (%)



























Source: MOEC 1995, BEST 1990-1994.

Only a small proportion of secondary school students go on to higher education. Tertiary enrolments amounted to only 5,300 in 1990 and gross tertiary enrolment ratios remained static between 1970 and 1990.³ However, due to concerted efforts to improve the enrolment of girls along with an expansion at Muhumbili Medical School,4 the proportion of women attending university increased from 15% of total enrolment in 1987 to 29% in 1996 (University of Dar es Salaam, 1996). However, the Gender Task Force (GTF) at the university also highlighted a disturbing decrease in female enrolment between 1991/2 and 1995/6 in arts, commerce, education, law, science and engineering.

³ Donors to African Education, 1994 using UNESCO and World Bank data.

4 In 1995/6 there was a big increase in female enrolments at the Muhumbili Medical School mainly as a result of females taking courses in nursing rather than medicine.

Performance: The poor educational attainment of girls is one of the major indicators of gender inequality in Tanzania's schooling system. Evidence for girls under-performance at school is amply documented in Tanzanian education statistics, research studies and policy documents (TADREG, 1990 & 1992 Mbilinyi and Mbughuni, 1991 Malekela (eds) 1991, Omari, 1995, IDS/MOEC 1996). At all levels, performance varies by sex, district and region, with children from urban areas generally scoring better than those in rural areas (Komba, 1995:38). Primary School Leaving Examination results show that few girls excel in primary school with the largest gap between girls and boys being in maths. A study in the late 1980s of 200 pupils in seven schools shows that boys performed better than girls in all subjects (TADREG, 1989). With the declining quality of primary schooling, the performance of all children has also deteriorated at the secondary level.

Not only do far fewer girls sit for 'O' and 'A' levels but their pass rates are consistently lower than those of boys, particularly for maths. For example, in a sample taken of O-level candidates in four subjects, mathematics, biology, geography and English, boys achieved pass rates 15 percentage points higher than girls between 1988 and 1994 (Peasgood, 1997). Attainment data show that girls also dramatically underperform at the Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations (CSEE) with a failure rate which is three times higher than that of boys (ODA, 1996). There has been a sharp decline in the proportion of candidates obtaining passes in divisions one, two and three at both 'O' level and 'A' level, and this applies particularly to girls. The fact that girls are selected for secondary school with lower grades through the quota system might be one of several possible explanations for the poor performance of girls.

Information concerning female performance at the university is not available, although the Gender Task Force is of the opinion that 'everything considered, it is a fact that women students are not performing up to their intellectual capacity' (UDSM, 1996:88). Clearly, more research is needed in this area.

4.1.2 Post-secondary education and training

Vocational Training: In 1988 girls' enrolment in vocational training institutions reached 35%. However, after the imposition of fees in the early 1990s enrolments fell (25% in 1995). After the introduction of affirmative action measures, girls' participation in vocational training rose again to 28% in 1996. This process has been spearheaded by a gender unit. However, the increase in user costs and failure to get job placements continues to deter female enrolment. Subject bias early on in the secondary system has also made it difficult for girls to pursue technical careers and it has been a struggle to attract even suitably qualified girls into non-traditional areas (ie bricklaying). Mbilinyi (1991) raised the issue of the narrow scope of vocational training which ties students to one particular trade. Until the courses offered are relevant to the changing job market, it is unlikely that they will attract more female students.

Teacher Training: For at least the past two decades, teachers in Tanzania have been seriously demoralised and poorly motivated. Due to an enormous decline in real incomes, most teachers have more than one job. One of the main causes of poor quality in Tanzania's education system has been the low proportion of grade 'A' teachers. Recently the situation has improved somewhat with the proportion of grade 'A' teachers rising from 30% in 1991 to 37% in 1994 (MOEC, BEST 1995). During this period, the numbers of male and female Grade 'A' teachers remained approximately equal. Women teachers as a proportion of the total grade 'A' teachers rose slowly from 42% in 1981 to 51% in 1994 (ibid). Whereas the overall the proportion of women primary school teachers has risen from 37% in 1980 to 41% in 1990, the proportion of women teachers at secondary schools fell from 27% in 1980 to 24% in 1990 (DAE, 1994). There are generally fewer women teachers at all levels in rural areas.

The proportion of women lecturers at teacher education college has not risen above 20% during the 1990s. Very small numbers of women lecture at the two universities, particularly in applied and pure sciences and engineering.

4.1.3 Literacy and non-formal education

In 1969, adult education activities were shifted to the MOEC and a mass literacy campaign was started with financial support from Sida and UNDP in order to promote social and political mobilisation. During the post-independence period there has been a remarkable increase in literacy5 rates for men and women although rates fell by 8% from 91% in 1986 to 83% in 1992 (URT, 1995). Illiteracy rates are estimated to be rising by 2% per annum. This is a consequence of deteriorating education quality and literacy classes being abandoned due to inappropriate models.

5 Tanzania's literacy rates show a high degree of regional variation.

Table 2: Mainland literacy rates, by gender


Male literacy (%)

Female literacy (%)

Average (%)

























Source: URT 1995

4.1.4 Education funding

The overall proportion of education expenditure in the discretionary budget was 21.6% in 1993 which fell to 18.6% in 1994/95. Although the World Bank Public Expenditure Review suggests that there is considerable scope to re-allocating resources towards social sectors, education competes with the health sector for resources. Although the government's commitment to primary education has remained constant, spending on post-primary sectors has declined (IDS/MOEC, 1996).

The expansion of primary education as part of the drive for UPE in the 1970s did substantially narrow the gender gap in enrolments. However, the expansion of secondary education has failed to keep up with the rising demand from primary leavers. Gender inequality at higher levels of education has decreased somewhat over the last two decades, but girls are still not in a position to compete with boys academically (particularly in science and maths). The degree of educational inequality depends on class and location as well as gender. Girls are hampered by subject-defined specialisations at school which, in turn, restricts subject choices at the tertiary level. Lack of educational opportunities for girls at higher levels is both the cause and the consequence of continuing gender inequalities.

4.2. Knowledge generated

4.2.1 The overall research effort
4.2.2 The Mbilinyi report

4.2.1 The overall research effort

Compared with other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, an impressive volume of literature has been produced on gender and education in Tanzania: A recent bibliography lists some 397 consultancy reports, academic articles and books (FAWE, 1996). Most of these outputs have been funded either directly or indirectly by foreign aid agencies. Most early research on gender and education focused on the direct and indirect costs of girls' education as well as the cultural constraints operating against their participation.

Gender disparities in education were first highlighted in a 1969 study by Marjorie Mbilinyi. She identified three main obstacles to girls' participation - school costs, girls' domestic labour, and traditional views concerning the proper role of women. A survey of parental attitudes to education which formed part of this study showed that parents wanted more boarding schools for girls. The study also proposed that rural communities should be consulted in the formulation of education policies. Gender issues in education were taken further by a group of academics at the University of Dar es Salaam in the early 1980s. In particular, they produced an annotated bibliography, Women in Tanzania (1985), targeted at policy makers as well as a wider audience. Subsequently, several women's groups were established at the UDSM, (including Women's Education and Development (WED)) which focused on girls' education. All have been financially dependent on aid donors, most notably SAREC.

By the early laces, the economic and social constraints affecting girls' participation had been clearly demonstrated through primary research (Sumra and Katunzi, 1991). There is also ample evidence that returns to primary education have declined and parents' enthusiasm for education has diminished due to perceptions of the 'irrelevance of education' and the obvious decline in quality (TADREG, 1990 and 1993).

4.2.2 The Mbilinyi report

By far the most influential research output to date was a study commissioned by Sida and undertaken by Mbilinyi and associates in 1991 entitled, Education in Tanzania with a Gender Perspective. The objectives of the study were to 'summarise and critically assess available knowledge on women in the education system, specifically primary, secondary, adults and technical education' and to identify the support needed, further research and appropriate methodologies' (Mbilinyi et al 1991:1).6 Although the research was based mainly on secondary information, there was an extensive process of consultation and lobbying around the production of the report. In addition to measuring the usual indicators of gender inequality in the provision of education, the Mbilinyi report also examined more qualitative aspects of education including gender streaming and pedagogy, social constraints facing women, and the unequal access of women to resources.

6 The report's main authors were mainly academics with the exception of one MOEC official.

The report's comprehensive coverage and in-depth analysis led to a series of recommendations and strategies to promote gender equality. The report concluded that the lack of a gender policy in education had inhibited any kind of gender transformation in education. It was also critical of the 'instrumental' donor policy of prioritising basic education at the expense of other sectors where gender inequalities are more evident and made a large number of specific and general recommendations including curriculum reform, guidance and counselling, improvement in school materials, less emphasis on the role of examinations in determining access, family life education and the strengthening of teacher's associations. It also recommended that the government adopt an Equal Opportunities Policy across all ministries.

In more general terms, the report cautioned against cost-saving measures which might discriminate against girls. The broader framework in which these changes would take place included the establishment of an equal opportunities policy to cover all sectors of government. In terms of knowledge and information regarding gender, the report recommends greater support for research and gender sensitive data collection. Officials from the two education ministries, MOEC and MHE, formed part of the group who drew up the recommendations. However, the failure of this working group to prioritise the 300 recommendations ultimately hindered implementation.

The following important lessons were learned with regard to gender policies in education:

· The importance of participatory methods in policy formulation.

· The ability to use advocacy to promote gender equality.

· Greater cooperation is needed between the academic community, policy makers, NGOs and those at the grassroots.

· The formation of specific units within ministries to promote a gender perspective in policy.7

· The practical difficulties of moving from identification of problems to action.

· The importance of following up initiatives if bureaucrats are to incorporate research findings into policy.

7 Interview with authors of report.

The social and moral imperative for improving girls' education continued to be elaborated in the 1990s notably in the publications of the UNICEF situation report (1995).

4.3. Government interventions

4.3.1 Gender policy
4.3.2 Gender in education policy

4.3.1 Gender policy

The government of Tanzania has formally committed itself to creating a positive environment for gender equality. This is reflected in the constitution and the signing of various international conventions and resolutions upholding the rights of women. The Ministry of Community Development and Women's Affairs (MCDWAC) was established in 1990 with the aim of monitoring and improving the status of women. The role of the Ministry is to coordinate, facilitate and represent women at top decision making levels. One of the main aims of this ministry is to help integrate women in the development process. A Women and Development (WID) policy was also developed in the late 1980s and was formally adopted by the government in 1992. Its main objective has been to integrate gender issues into the planning process as well as encouraging and coordinating women's participation in development programmes. The MCDWAC has been supported by a number of donor agencies.

The MCDWAC has close links with the MOEC8 and cooperates with NGOs around gender specific projects and programmed The post-Beijing National Programme of Action stressed women's inequality in decision making and a national commitment to women's rights. Consultants were commissioned to help redefine the WID policy in 1995 (Meena et al, 1995a).9 Despite all these efforts, it has proved very difficult to mainstream gender across government ministries and other public sector organisations although the current civil service reform process has the potential of strengthening the coordinating role of the MCDWAC (see below). Various meetings and workshops have been held with NGOs in order to widen inputs into gender policies and practices.

8 For example, in the area of adult literacy.

9 The 1995 report recommended that the MCDWAC adopt the Women, Equality and Empowerment Framework (WEEF) of UNICEF.

Gender Focal Points: GFPs were established in 1988 along with a gender unit at the Central Establishment Department following recommendations of a study on Women in Development which proposed the original WID policy. The introduction of focal points was an attempt to promote gender activities across different government sectors. However, GFPs have been treated as a marginal activity by most ministry personnel. Only when heads of department have been particularly interested in gender issues have the GFPs been active, as in the case of the Central Establishment Department, the Treasury, the MOEC and the Ministry of Trade and Industries. They have remained dormant in the Ministries of Land, Water, and Health. The proposed establishment of an inter-ministerial task force to support gender mainstreaming should have the effect of revitalising the GFPs.

Gender and the Civil Service Reform: In Tanzania, positions of power and influence in the public domain tend to dominated by men. In 1996, the Civil Service Department reported that the following proportions of senior positions in ministries were occupied by women: Ministers 11%, Deputy Ministers 28%, Principal Secretaries 9% and Deputy Principal Secretaries 16%. In an attempt to improve female representation in decision making, affirmative action measures were introduced by the government in the early 1990s, in order to guarantee women at least 15% of seats in the Union parliament and 25% of seats in local government councils. Women comprised only 15% of MPs after the 1995 election and most of these were put forward by their respective parties and not elected through a process of open competition. However, some women's NGOs consider that gender equality is not sustainable unless women are able to compete with men as equals in the political arena.

The current programme to reform the civil service was started in 1994. As part of the reform process, it has been agreed that the following measures should be taken to facilitate the mainstreaming of gender right across the public sector:

· Strengthening the gender unit in the Civil Service Department by increasing the number of officials from one to four. The Unit is in the process of developing a gender dissaggregated data base of all civil servants in order to improve information and access of women to senior government positions.

· Gender sensitisation for female managers.

· A training fund established for women in the Civil Service Department. The development of an equal opportunity policy. 10

· Research on gender discrimination in Tanzania (e.g. the issue of not re-admitting pregnant girls to school).

10 This was recommended by Mbilinyi et al (1991).

By 1997, no significant progress had been reported with respect to any of these measures.

4.3.2 Gender in education policy

Education Policies: During the 1990s, three wide ranging education documents have been produced by government. The Educational System in Tanzania Towards the year 2000 and the Tanzania Education System for the 21st century11 (the latter dominated by academics from the University of Dar es Salaam) were published in the 1990 and 1993 respectively. Both emphasised the need for rapid political liberalisation and sustainable social and economic development, based in particular on coherent, long term energy and industrial strategies and the expansion of the trade, transport and communication sectors. Education for Self Reliance was not given the same prominence as in the past. Increased cost sharing was also a major consideration in these documents.

11 Supported by DANIDA

Current government education policy is enunciated in the Education and Training Policy (ETP) of 1995. The emphasis given to higher education in the Tanzanian Education System for the 21st Century is largely absent from the current education framework. This largely reflects institutional rivalry between the MOEC and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education (MSTHE) (see Buchert, 1996). The ETP identifies two central issues: the seriousness of the decline in the quality of education and the key importance of increased investment in human capital in all 'productive sectors'. The overall aim of the policy is to:

· Decentralise education and training by empowering regions, districts, communities and education institutions to manage and administer education.

· Improve the quality of education and training by strengthening the following areas: in-service teacher education programmes, the supply of teaching and learning materials, rehabilitation of physical facilities, teacher training programmes, the system of inspection, streamlining the curriculum and examinations and certification.

· Promote science and technology through the following: the intensification of vocational training, rationalisation of tertiary institutions, strengthening science and technical education and the development of polytechnics.

· Broaden the base of education financing and training through cost-sharing measures involving individuals, communities, NGOs, parents and users (ESDP, 1997).

The ETP's main focus is basic education, but special attention is also given to equity issues with respect to girls' education, positive statements are made concerning support for girls' boarding and hostel facilities, special financial schemes, curriculum review, and elimination of gender stereotyping. However, because gender is not integrated throughout the documents and none of these recommendations are backed up by concrete plans of action, gender concerns appear as an 'add on' and lack real conviction. The gender inputs in the ETP were proposed by the Gender Coordinating Unit - although a number of other recommendations (such as providing for the re-admittance to school of pregnant schoolgirls) were ignored by the all male team of senior officials from the MOEC who approved the final draft of the ETP.

The Basic Education Master Plan (BEMP) (1997) linked to the social sector review, sets targets for revitalising student performance and ensures access and equity by region and gender. The aim of the Education Task Force and the sectoral development programme is to produce a clear framework for educational reform which involves a greater role of the private sector, cost sharing and the better use of existing state resources. The emphasis on cost recovery, however, is potentially negative for girls and women. The Education Master Plans have been strongly shaped by donors and have been developed in the context of the civil service reform programme.

The following structures have been established:

The Education Sector Coordinating Committee (ESCC) was established in 1996 in order to facilitate greater coherence in education policy formulation and implementation. It comprises members from key ministries: the Prime Minister's Office, the Planning Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology and Higher Education, the Treasury, the Central Establishment, Economic and Social Research Foundation and the secretariat of the MOEC. Government and donors intend to work together to promote greater transparency and Tanzanian ownership over education policy. The ESCC is to set up a documentation centre to avoid duplication of research and information in the education field and it will also produce a newsletter. By the beginning of 1998 documents on education had been collected and a study on the resource centre been completed.

By late 1997, joint government and donor structures had been worked out through the ESCC. Since 1996 the inter-ministerial planning team under the ESCC has been preparing the first phase of the Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP). The main objective of ESDP is to decentralise education by realigning the powers and functions of the central, district and local school authorities by the year 2000. This involves a wide ranging process of structural and organisational reform with the associated strengthening of operational management at various levels. The regional level has already been 'down-sized' and over the next year district authorities should be managing their own budgets. This is taking place in the overall context of the Civil Service and Local Government Reform Programmes.

A study was commissioned in 1997 to assess the gender needs of the SDP although its recommendations that the SDP should draw upon a local team of gender experts and the production of a gender oriented teacher's manual have not yet been acted upon. There is a pressing need for a gender training module to be developed for personnel involved in the SDP which could be developed in collaboration with interested NGOs. There needs to be a consistent gender input into the Education Sector Reform programme in order to ensure that gender issues are introduced at every level into the work of the MOEC.

The Gender Coordinating Unit (GCU) was formed in 1994 in response to the recommendations of the Mbilinyi et al report' its objectives being to coordinate gender activities across all departments of the MOEC. Sida and UNESCO have assisted with funds to operationalise the tasks of the GCU. The GCU is responsible for training teachers in guidance counselling techniques and it has also worked with some NGOs such as TGNP to engender the current education and training policy.

The formation of the GCU was followed by a series of training seminars in gender planning sponsored by Sida. MOEC personnel drew up gender objectives for their respective departments, know as the 'Elimu guidelines'. Their recommendations included such actions as gender sensitising parents on the importance of girls' education, guidance and counselling for all children, and introduction of a 50/50 male to female teacher ratio. However, this comprehensive set of targets and goals were not even published, let alone acted upon. Important initiatives which might have enabled the mainstreaming of gender in the MOEC were allowed to founder due to 'lack of resources'.12 Admittedly, for these targets to be met, funding levels in many areas would need to be substantially increased. Nor does there appear to have been much follow up of the gender training by Sida. Asked why these and other initiatives were not taken up, a local gender trainer commented that 'Tanzania is a patriarchal society...they are afraid to take on gender.' The Gender Coordinating Unit lacks any real power and is marginalised in the MOEC hierarchy. Not surprisingly, therefore, it has been quite ineffective. The GCU members attend on a voluntary basis and are not given any time off from their permanent jobs. Like other sections of the MOEC, its activities also suffer from a lack of transparency.

12 Interview with head of GCU 9/96.

DFID has also sponsored gender training initiatives in a number of government ministries. In 1993, the MCDWAC requested training support from the British Council for gender sensitisation and gender planning for senior government officials as part of the post-Nairobi plan of action to mainstream gender. The training (based on the Caroline Moser gender planning model) had the intention of raising gender awareness across all ministries. The MOEC group established the following objectives: improving girls' performance at 'O' level, counselling for girls and provision of adequate material resources for girls schools.13 A number of activities were delineated for the MOEC including strengthening the research unit in the Planning Department.

13 These details are from 'Report of the Gender Planning Workshops for Senior Government Officials in Tanzania' by Nazneen Kanji, 1/96.

The two gender training sessions 14 in which the MOEC was involved, undoubtedly raised awareness of gender, although neither resulted in concrete inputs into policy formulation or implementation. Nor did they appear to strengthen the hand of the Gender Coordinating Unit. 'There has been a lot of gender training in the MOEC and other ministries, although it has failed to attract the right people even though many have obtained valuable skills from such training.'15

14 The consultant in charge of the DFID sponsored training felt that it had failed to reach its target group i.e. senior bureaucrats, as they delegated to more junior officials.

15 Interview with former permanent secretary of the MCDWAC.

Specific Gender Interventions: Despite the abundant evidence that has been produced on the extent and causes of gender disparities in education in Tanzania, very limited action has been taken. For example in 1991 Mbilinyi made recommendations in the following areas: the readmission of pregnant school girls' to school, the introduction of family life education, and actions to prevent the sexual harassment of girls and improve gender bias in the curriculum. None of these had been comprehensively addressed by mid-1997. Some respondents considered that the Mbilinyi Report had 'limited impact' on government policy, although such initiatives that have taken place (i.e. the formation of the GCU and the attempts to raise female enrolment in non-traditional areas of vocational training) were largely as a result of the momentum created by the report and donor pressure (particularly by Sida). A number of gender specific interventions have been taken within relevant government ministries to improve gender awareness, often sponsored by foreign aid agencies, notably Sida, DFID and UNICEF. Some aspects of the government's education policy which tried to promote gender equity have had unintended consequences; the quota system being one example.

Girls' access to secondary & tertiary education, the quota system: As discussed earlier, girls in Tanzania have more limited access to educational opportunities, particularly at the secondary level. A quota system was introduced shortly after independence by the government to increase the enrolment of girls in government secondary schools as well as students from disadvantaged regions. The quota operates by allowing a certain proportion of girls to be admitted to secondary school with lower PSLE grades than boys.16 However, as presently constructed, the system sets up girls for failure because of the lack of any kind of additional support at both primary and secondary schools. In the early 1990s, the World Bank put pressure on MOEC to remove the quota system although NGOs concerned with education (such as the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP)) have argued that quotas should remain until remedial measures are put in place. Omari correctly points out, '..the vicious circle of poor learning in primary schools compounded by the gender quota, gives girls an extremely poor foundation for competition in higher levels where there are no gender quotas' (Omari, 1995:38).

16 Half of secondary school places have been reserved for girls in most urban areas.

With the rapidly rising demand for secondary education, disproportionately more girls have enrolled in private schools than in public schools. The main reason being that there are not enough secondary places to meet demand for all children, but particularly girls. However, most private schools are seriously underfunded and their overall examination performance is poorer than that of public schools.

Any attempt to redress inequality of any kind in educational provision has to tackle two fundamental issues, namely the availability of school places and performance in terminal examinations. It is important to emphasize that gender equity in education does not only mean gender parity in access, but also the creation of conditions which enable girls to remain in school, to participate in a positive learning environment and to perform to the best of their natural abilities. This involves raising the overall standard and quality of educational provision.

Gender Streaming in Arts and Science Subjects - the diversified curriculum: The policy of streaming secondary school students by broad subject areas is a key feature of the Education for Self Reliance. In order to replace 'irrelevant' colonial models of education, a diversified curriculum was first introduced for all secondary schools in 1973 and is still in operation. There are five main streams - agriculture, home economics, technical, commercial and general academic (Katabaro, 1991). Because each secondary school has to follow one particular stream, students have been denied any meaningful choice of subjects. Girls predominate in the commercial and domestic streams and boys are found mainly in agriculture and technical education. Even if girls follow a technical bias, they can only go on to technical colleges since they do not usually have the requisite academic qualifications for university (Meena, 1995).

Gender in the Curriculum: Improved family life education to address issues of sexuality in schools was an important recommendation of the Mbilinyi (1991) report. In response to mounting concerns about the drop-out of pregnant schoolgirls, family life education was taught on an experimental basis in a small number of primary and secondary schools between 1987 and 1994. This pilot project was supported by the UNFPA. The second phase of the programme began in 1995 and involves the integration of family life education into all levels of the education system. The Tanzanian Institute of Education has also sponsored research to assess the acceptability of Family Life Education materials in the community at large which will be followed by a training needs assessment for teacher training colleges.17

17 Interview, family life education official at TIE, Dar es Salaam.

A number of school inspectors and curriculum developers have attended UNFPA sponsored training sessions on family life education. Although first mooted in 1994, a general review of the curriculum is only just underway in 1997. This offers an ideal opportunity for the MOEC to try and mainstream gender. UNICEF has run sensitisation workshops for Tanzanian Institute of Education personnel to help them assess the existing syllabi from a gender perspective. Introducing 'girl child' issues into the syllabus has, however, been controversial within the Institute. Curriculum reform has been given high priority under the Education Sector Development Programme. However, the on-going curriculum reform package which includes the introduction of gender into the curriculum and teacher training, is likely to be a long and difficult process, and dependent on the strength of gender advocates within the Institute.

Vocational Training: The Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) was established in 1994 to replace the National Vocational Training Department (NVTD) as part of an attempt to improve the coordination of vocational training activities in Tanzania. It has been estimated that returns to vocational training are greater than returns to formal education in Tanzania. While private rates of return for university education were 10% and 11% for males and females, respectively, they were 18% and 20% respectively for vocational training (Cooksey and Riedmiller, 1997). The employment profile of Tanzania has undergone profound changes since the mid 1980s as a consequence of economic liberalisation with the shrinking of employment opportunities in the formal sector alongside a mushrooming of the informal sector. A significant proportion of women operate in the informal sector, although only a small proportion are employed as artisans. The majority of these are concentrated in the catering sector.

The National Vocational Training Programme offers training in five areas of provision: basic training, in plant and apprenticeship training, evening courses for skills upgrading, the training of instructors and in-plant supervisors, and trade testing. However, VETA only provides 17% of training provision in Tanzania, the rest is provided by private sector training institutions.

A gender unit was formed at the VETA headquarters in Dar es Salaam in 1996 in order to spearhead affirmative measures to increase the enrolment of girls at vocational training centres. These measures include:

· The training of more women teachers.

· Gender sensitisation of all VETA staff.

· Counselling provided for women at all VETA centres. A counselling service is also offered to secondary school girls to encourage them to take up non-traditional trades.

· The curriculum has been revised to encourage girls to enrol in areas previously dominated by males.

· Improvement of workshops and use of 'gadgets' to make learning easier for girls.

· New modular based courses are shorter and, therefore, more attractive to female students.

Affirmative action measures have been encouraged and funded by Sida since the early laces, and shaped by the commitment of senior female officers in VETA. The recommendations of the 1991 Mbilinyi Report had a significant effect on gender aspects of vocational training policies. Despite a drop in girls' enrolment in the mid laces, due to the introduction of user fees, affirmative action measures have helped to attract more girls subsequently. VETA will continue to develop strategies to attract women students. Girls have found it harder than boys to gain entry to a vocational training centre and almost impossible to acquire job placements even if they get admitted due to gender discrimination in the workplace (Mush, 1995). Furthermore, NVTD statistics indicate that in 1993, of those who left VTCs, 93% of males secured employment compared to only 30% of females. Although VETA's affirmative action measures are commendable, their impact will be limited by the wider educational environment and problems within the vocational training system itself. Despite some diversification of courses to provide training for self employment, the state provision of vocational training is still tied to traditional artisan occupations.

The School Environment - Single sex versus co-educational schooling: The generally negative environment for girls prevailing in most co-educational schools in Tanzania explains why girls generally perform better at single sex boarding schools (Mbilinyi, 1991, UNICEF, 1995, Meena, 1995). However, there are only 15 single sex boarding schools for girls in Tanzania and 38 boarding schools for boys. Single sex boarding schools at secondary level offer girls an atmosphere that is free from sexual harassment and provides strong female role models. However, for financial reasons, it is unlikely that the any new single sex government schools for girls (either day or boarding) will be constructed in the foreseeable future.

Up to the end of the 1980s, the policy making process in education tended to ignore available expertise and knowledge. As the government itself accepted, 'political sentiments have tended to override technical knowledge' (URT, 1993:44). Academic respondents at the UDSM stressed that government policy formation often proceeds without reference to existing knowledge.18 For example, the repeated failure by the MOEC to take measures to allow pregnant schoolgirls back to school flies in the face of research evidence which shows the negative effects of such exclusion. In some cases, however, the failure to utilise research evidence concerning gender inequalities may be quite deliberate. In general terms, education policy in the past has been inconsistent and unclear, reflecting competing political and bureaucratic interests. Indeed, the frequent change of political leaders and senior officials over the past two decades has created a climate of uncertainty and insecurity not conducive to careful planning (Mosha, 1995). The reluctance to tackle gender issues in education, therefore, can be attributed to both inefficient management systems and a resistance to gender equality on the part of some male policymakers.

18 Interviews with a professor of education and the chief academic officer at UDSM 11/96.

4.4. NGO and Donor interventions

4.4.1 NGOs and Gender

4.4.1 NGOs and gender

Civil society in Tanzania has been considerably strengthened and enriched as a result of political and economic liberalisation Equally important, the government's growing inability to fund the social sectors has strengthened local and foreign-based NGOs which, since the mid to late 1980s, have become heavily involved in a variety of activities, in particular, health, education, human rights, and income generation. Since the early 1990s, the number of NGOs in Tanzania have mushroomed. By 1997, approximately 800 NGOs operating in Tanzania were registered under the Tanzanian Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (TANGO) and 60-80 more under the umbrella of the Tanzania Council of Social Development (TACOSODE). There are also a number of unregistered NGOs. Only a few of these have seriously addressed gender issues in education. Most women's NGOs in Tanzania were formed in the wake of the two global Women's Conferences (Nairobi and Beijing) and foreign aid agencies have extensively underpinned these organisations.

The following six NGOs have made significant contributions to gender equality in education.

The Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) was established in 1992 to plan for the Beijing Conference on Women. Its formation was strongly influenced by the knowledge and experience gained from the production of the Mbilinyi report (1991). TGNP's main funder has been the Dutch government. The overall objective of TGNP is to facilitate the process of gender equality and empowerment. Its goals are to generate and coordinate information on gender and development using animation19 and social analysis. TGNP has produced a number of publications on gender inequality in Tanzania which have been widely disseminated. A Gender Profile of Tanzania (1993) deals specifically with education and training. TGNP also offers gender training and assertiveness courses. TGNP has consistently engaged with MOEC officials regarding gender aspects of the Education and Training Policy 1995. It is in the process of strengthening its advocacy techniques and, along with other womens' NGOs, intends to scrutinise the next national budget from a gender perspective.

19 A Freirian form of participatory methodology.

The Tanzanian Home Economics Association (TAHEA) Since its formation in 1980, TAHEA has moved beyond the narrow concerns of home economics to campaign for children's rights (particularly those of girls). It has conducted research on child labour and expanded this into a situational analysis in order to raise the status of children. It has a particular concern with teenage pregnancy and promotes health education.

The Family Planning Association of Tanzania (UMATI) is one of the oldest NGOs in Tanzania. In addition to promoting family planning, it has broader WID concerns. UMATI runs a non-formal education programme for girls who have left school due to pregnancy. One of their aims is to demonstrate to the policy makers that such girls could complete their education. UMATI has lobbied the MOEC to re-admit pregnant schoolgirls at a time when donors are reducing their support for non-formal education.

The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) is a continent-wide organisation concerned with improving girls education through lobbying of top decision makers. Its membership is made up of senior policymakers and politicians. FAWE's aim is to network with all those interested in promoting girl's education including women's NGOs, education policy makers and constituencies at the grass roots.

The FAWE national chapter in Tanzania was launched in 1990. A FAWE workshop held in November 1996 on girls' education produced a plan of action in three main areas: improving the school environment as it affects girls (e.g. dealing with sexual harassment), school drop outs through pregnancy, and female literacy. By early 1998 work still had not begun in the above areas although two staff persons had been appointed to carry forward the FAWE agenda.

FAWE also sponsored a research project on Gender and Primary Schooling in Tanzania which was a joint effort between MOEC and a team from the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University. This project outlined the constraints affecting girls' participation in primary education and made policy recommendations regarding the financing of education aimed at improving the quality of education. The project's main findings were presented at a workshop in Tanzania in April 1997. Taking its recommendations further is the responsibility of the FAWE members within the MOEC. Although the report contained some important insights into gender differences in education from its school surveys, with the exception of the recommendations concerning the financing of education, its conclusions did not go beyond what has already been covered by previous literature and other policy recommendations. Once again, the problem is not lack of information concerning gender inequalities in education so much as a failure to move from understanding to action.

Nevertheless, FAWE is one of the few organisations, with its central focus on girls' education which has the potential to support the mainstreaming of gender in the education ministries.

The Tanzanian Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA) was formed in 1988 to educate women and the wider society. TAWLA provides legal clinics for women and conducts research and lobbying in crucial areas such as the marriage and inheritance laws. TAWLA has been centrally involved in pushing for resolution of gender issues in the proposed Land Act and is a leading member of the Gender Land Task Force which involves a number of women's NGOs.

The Tanzanian Women's Media Association (TAMWA) was formed in 1987 at the instigation of one of the women's research groups at the UDSM. Its immediate concern was to challenge discrimination against women in the media as well as the negative portrayal of women. It has campaigned around violence against women and teenage pregnancy and conducted research on the extent of female domestic labour in urban areas of Tanzania. In 1998 TAWLA's focus is on gender sensitisation for the media which it uses as a tool in its advocacy work.

All these organisations, have used and, in some cases, generated research to support their advocacy programmes concerning gender equity in education, legal and human rights. Given their common goals, these organisations, have worked closely together to further their case for gender equality through dialogue with policy makers. All of them are funded by donor agencies which raises the issue of sustainability. Moreover, there is a considerable degree of competitiveness between some NGOs in the context of limited foreign funding.20 However, a coalition of women's NGOs recently managed to successfully lobby for the introduction for new legislation against sexual offences which will be on the statute by the end of 1998. Most respondents agreed that there was currently greater awareness of gender issues than before which can be attributed partly to the activities of the NGOs mentioned above which have helped provide a more enabling environment for gender equality in education.

20 Interview with TGNP board member.

4.5. Donor interventions

4.5.1 Donor support to education
4.5.2 DFID
4.5.3 Sida
4.5.4 UNICEF

4.5.1 Donor support to education

Since the mid 1970s, Tanzania has become increasingly aid dependent. Development assistance as a proportion of GDP increased from 12% in 1975 to nearly 43% in 1990. The influence of foreign aid agencies on internal decision making has increased as a consequence (Buchert, 1996).

Tanzania devotes around 6% of its GDP to education with donor agencies funding about 84% of development expenditures and 14% of all government expenditure on education (World Bank, 1996). The share of primary education in the total education budget increased from 50% in 1990/91 to 55% in 1993/4 (IDS/MOEC, 1996). While levels of funding have been inadequate in all education sectors, resources have not been used efficiently. Most foreign funds in the 1990s have gone into primary education. Foreign aid has tended to finance the development budget and donors have been reluctant to subsidise teachers' salaries. The major bilateral donors active in the primary education sector are Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands. The main donors to secondary education have been NORAD and DFID. In terms of numbers of projects and amount of funds, the most influential donors are DANIDA, Sida, NORAD and GTZ followed by the DGIS, Irish Aid and DFID.

Among the multilateral agencies, UNICEF and UNESCO have been involved in education programmes since before independence. European Union and World Bank support has increased and both agencies have recently become heavily involved in renewed efforts to reform the management and organisation of the education sector. The World Bank have also invested in a community education Programme and a girls' scholarship scheme for secondary school.

Different agencies have tended to support different sub-sectors to the point where 'there is a danger of donors building parallel education systems'.21 DANIDA, DGIS, Irish Aid and UNICEF have channelled their aid through district level programmes, and others, most notably the World Bank, have conducted pilot projects in a number of areas. A 1996 review of district level programmes, showed little evidence of improvement in the quality of teaching and learning.22 Furthermore, the focus on poor districts by some donors raises issues of sustainability. It is clear that a coordinated sector wide development is needed. Agency coordination should improve with the Education Sector Coordinating Committee (ESCC) and the Education Sector Development Programme.

21 Interview, Professor I. Omari, UDSM.

22 District based Planning: Primary Education Planning and Programming, a review of approaches by DGIS, UNICEF, Irish Aid, Draft, 1996.

Until very recently, few donors explicitly addressed gender issues in the education sector However, by 1996 Sida, UNICEF, the World Bank, DANIDA, NORAD, DFID, Irish Aid and DGIS all had some gender objectives in their education programmed Irish Aid is financing a primary maths upgrade project in Korogwe to promote the more effective participation of girls. DANIDA's Primary Education Project (PEP), based in the MOEC, has a strong gender component in its community and teacher training operations. The project introduced a 'better schooling for girls' module for teachers and trainers which contains training material aimed at enhancing teacher awareness of the central role of school in the socialisation process. The World Bank's Girls' Secondary Education Support Programme (GSESP) has since 1995 developed a pilot programme to provide bursaries to enable poor girls to attend secondary school. Up to 1997, 392 girls had received bursaries for junior secondary school. The scheme has been scaled down in response to criticism about the complicated process of getting communities to identify suitable candidates and the high administrative costs. Now potential candidates are identified by headteachers.

4.5.2 DFID

As part of a global rationalisation process, DFID decided in 1996 to increase significantly its support to the education sector in Tanzania with a focus on basic education. Prior to that time, DFID's main involvement has been the English Language Teacher Support Programme (ELTSP) that was mainly concerned with reading programmes, teacher development and in-service training in order to boost the standard of English at secondary schools where it is the medium of instruction. In 1992, two consultants were asked to make recommendations regarding gender inputs in the ELTSP. The report went well beyond the terms of reference and pointed to some now well know constraints affecting girls' participation in secondary school. In light of the general lack of consideration of gender issues in the project at the time, it was recommended that the ELTSP develop training modules on 'gender dynamics in the classroom' to be incorporated into pre-service and inservice teacher training colleges (Katunzi and Ladbury, 1992:32). The aim was to help teachers exchange information and develop ways of promoting girls' learning. The first workshops were held in 1994. However, subsequent changes of personnel in the project appear to have weakened the effectiveness of gender inputs.

The main limitations of the gender components of the ELTSP have been: infrequent monitoring visits to schools, sensitising only English teachers, and limited time allocated to gender in teacher training programmed An evaluation of the ELTSP conducted in early 1996 by two consultants from Bristol University found no hard evidence to indicate any improvement in examination results (ODA, 1996). However, more qualitative data obtained from the Examinations Council clearly points to improved English competencies over the lifespan of the project.

The Primary Education Support Project (PESP) provides crucial assistance to the Education Sector Development Programme. Project objectives emphasise women and the poor, the improved management and delivery of education services, improved demand responsiveness, community participation and sustainability. These activities will cover a wide area: primary education management, curriculum reform and teacher development, English Language teaching, examinations, planning and monitoring, adult education and NGO support. Project related activities include improving the performance of girls in primary and secondary school. However, the project is still at a formative stage.

DFID has used consultants to help to shape their gender inputs in education. It has also placed a consultant in the Ministry of Education who is taking a lead role in assisting the Education Sector Development Programme. However, as we have seen in section 4.3.2, in the past, DFID has not consistently monitored gender inputs to ensure that programme goals are being achieved.

4.5.3 Sida

Up until 1995, Tanzania was the largest recipient of Swedish bilateral aid. Since the late 1960s, Sida played a prominent role in supporting a wide range of education and training activities. A new agreement in 1996 between GOT and Sida increased the proportion of Sida's aid funds on education in both nominal and relative terms. Sida supported the UPE policy in the 1970s and has provided quality back-up for the quantitative expansion of education. During the 1990s, Sida has invested in adult non-formal and primary education and vocational training. However, its support for vocational training will end by 1999. Sida has also made smaller contributions to secondary education and teacher training. Since 1996, Sida's approach to gender has shifted from specific interventions administered through gender officers to integration in on-going programmes.23 Consequently, there has been a change in emphasis from gender awareness and sensitising to gender mainstreaming. Sida tends to adopt a 'hands off approach when dealing with government partners and it does not (like some other agencies) write terms of reference or plans of action for the MOEC.

23 Interview with Sida education official, Dar es Salaam, 9/96.

While Sida has strongly backed adult education, a 1991 evaluation of the government's literacy programme, concluded that learning outcomes were generally disappointing due to traditional, top down teaching methods (Kater et al, 1992). Subsequently, Sida funded a women's expert group to make suggestions regarding the gender sensitivity of literacy materials. Sida even suspended its support for adult education until the MOEC agreed to develop more participatory approaches. Sida is currently helping to fund a pilot REFLECT literacy scheme in several districts.24 Since the re-organisation of the Folk Development Colleges, more women have participated in literacy training, although teacher training in this area still lacks gender sensitivity. The distance education programme that it sponsors has been highly problematic. In particular, teacher training materials have been poorly designed and lack gender sensitivity (Thomas et al 1996).

24 Interview member of the Adult Education department at the MOEC.

Support for production and distribution of educational materials has great potential to improve the learning environment for both sexes,25 but book management activities in the past have been beset with administrative problems.26 Sida's education programme for 1996-1999 intends to help reduce sex role stereotyping by means of sensitisation seminars for authors, curriculum developers and publishers (MOEC, 1996).

25 Although this is unlikely on its own to raise the standards of Tanzanian schools.

26 School text books either were found rotting in the warehouses or were sold in local markets instead of being provided free to schools which was Sida's intention.

With respect to vocational training, low female enrolments and the persistence of gender stereotyping of courses reflects wider problems which are outside of the control of the vocational training institutions themselves. The gender aspects of Sida's education programme have been problematic in some areas, notably teacher training and distance education. But with regard to vocational training, measures have been put in place by the gender unit to encourage the participation of girls.

The production of knowledge around gender and education has been given a high priority by both SAREC (now part of the new Sida) and Sida. This has included sponsoring of various women's groups and education working groups at the UDSM and the funding of the Mbilinyi Report. SAREC and NORAD also funded a Women's Research and Development Project which produced the high profile report, Mothers of Africa which focuses on women's health and reproductive rights. Both organisations have helped to build the knowledge base and strengthen the advocacy of women's groups.

At a more general level, Sida has supported the development and publication of gender disaggregated statistics in Women and Men in Tanzania (1992) and Analysis of Women and Men, the Tanzanian case (1995).27 This kind of data collection is essential for gender research and policy formulation.

27 Produced jointly by the MCWAC and the Tanzanian Bureau of Statistics.

Sida's gender officers played a significant role in supporting women's groups and education research activities. From the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s, a number of Tanzanian women also benefited from different types of training offered through a Sida sponsored training fund.

Conclusion: An evaluation of Sida's aid programme in 1996 concluded that, despite substantial improvement in the integration of gender into plans between 1993-1996, the extent to which gender goals could be achieved depends on the extent to which they have been internalised and prioritised (Thomas et al, 1996). Under the new system of mainstreaming, it is often assumed that gender has been internalised by all staff which can be problematic28. One Sida official interviewed considered that clearer targets should be set in Sida's own planning of gender inputs.29 A local gender trainer stressed that if Sida staff are hesitant or unclear about the operationalisation of gender, this is picked up by local partners. In Tanzania local capacity regarding gender remains limited despite extensive Sida supported gender training. The Thomas evaluation stressed the need for Sida to link up with NGOs to a greater extent to promote gender in education.

28 Interview Tanzanian gender trainer, 9/96.

29 Interview, education official, Dar es Salaam, 9/96.

4.5.4 UNICEF

UNICEF has a long history of providing welfare to women and children in Tanzania. As part of its global empowerment framework, the Tanzanian office of UNICEF has since the 1990s emphasised capacity building and confronting structural inequalities. In 1995, UNICEF was operating in 50 districts in the mainland and Zanzibar. Like Sida, UNICEF operates through the MOEC although many of its programmes, are decentralised. Education as a proportion of UNICEF Tanzania's total budget has risen from 8% in 1992 to 15% in 1996.30

30 Interview education personnel, UNICEF, Dar es Salaam 9/96.

Research on gender and education has played a key role in the design of UNICEF's country programme. According to one staff member UNICEF is a 'knowledge based organisation'.31 Certainly, insights gained through the monitoring and analysis of their own programmes have powerfully shaped gender initiatives. The present thrust of UNICEF's education programme is towards basic education, (both formal and non-formal) with a particular emphasis on girls. UNICEF research in the 1990s found that schools tend to play a stronger role in reinforcing traditional gender roles than the family. UNICEF's situation report entitled The Girl Child in Tanzania, Todays Girl Child, Tomorrows Woman, explores the social, economic and cultural factors affecting Tanzanian youth and highlights the relative disadvantage of girls. The report points to the rising tide of violence against women and the many cultural practices (including initiation and early marriage) which seriously hinder girls' educational opportunities.

31 Interview, education personnel, UNICEF Dar-es-Salaam, 9/96 and 11/96.

During the 1980s, UNICEF pursued a community-based approach in most of its programmed. As part of its 1992-1996 country programme, UNICEF built 300 primary schools and trained school committee members and headteachers in participatory methods. Teachers were provided with gender sensitive materials at UNICEF supported teacher resource centres. Following on from the Situation Report, UNICEF launched the girl child initiative (GCI) funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).32 The first phase involves a study of girls' enrolment and performance in seven districts.

32 CIDA contributed $3 million supplementary funding to UNICEF for the 1997-2001 phase of GCI.

UNICEF's current programme comprises two main strands: (i) A primary education project whose main objective is to improve enrolment and retention of all children, but especially girls, (ii) A complementary basic education project which provides functional basic education to out-of-school children and adolescents.33 In 1996, UNICEF began to organise training sessions for curriculum developers at TIE in order to facilitate the engendering of the curriculum. However, this is recognised as a long and difficult process.

33 Curriculum will be geared towards local needs and life skills.

An important regional programme for East Africa, 'The Sara Communication Initiative' uses multimedia approaches to raise the status of girls. Materials produced by UNICEF will be used in both formal and non-formal educational settings and these are in the process of being tested in Tanzania.

In conclusion, UNICEF initially believed that gender inequalities could be resolved by using participatory techniques. Following UNICEF's adoption of its empowerment policy in 1995, UNICEF Tanzania has focused on directly addressing the specific social and educational needs of the girl child. UNICEF's gender inputs are relatively new and therefore it is difficult to assess their impact. Informed by research in the first stage of the Girl Child Initiative, UNICEF has developed a strategy to promote more positive attitudes towards girls in the wider community at the same time as improving the quality of basic education.

4.6. Conclusions and recommendations

During the last two decades, a number of important gender interventions in education have been made by government, donors and NGOs in Tanzania. Research has contributed to an understanding of the disadvantages faced by girls at all levels of the education system. The much higher opportunity costs of girls' schooling and the numerous social and cultural constraints that adversely effect female participation have been consistently highlighted. While these research efforts have been fairly comprehensive, a few crucial areas have been neglected; most notably the role of teachers, curriculum, and forms of assessment. Equally important, much of the knowledge generated has been in the form of consultancy reports commissioned by donors.34 The findings of these reports have not been widely disseminated which raises major concerns about the ownership of knowledge. Significant home-grown (although Sida funded) research initiatives such as the Mbilinyi Report education policy might have had a greater impact on education policy if the lobbying process had been conducted more effectively.

34 It is often hard to gain access to consultancy reports commissioned by aid agencies.

Government education policy since independence has viewed gender as one of several equity issues. While the narrowing of the gender gap in primary education has been widely documented, steps taken to improve girl's access to post-primary education institutions (like the quota system for secondary schooling) have had unintended and often negative outcomes. While the main areas of gender inequality remain at the post-primary level, during the 1990s most donors have focused on basic education.

The formation of a separate women's ministry and of the gender coordinating unit at the MOE opened up new opportunities for integrating gender into education decision making. However, due to political, social and structural constraints, this potential has yet to be realised. The only major education institution to develop a gender plan of action has been VETA in the field of vocational training. But the difficulties faced by VETA in implementing this plan of action highlight the limitations of one institution acting in isolation.

Donors have been the main driving force behind gender research and policy, mainly through their funding of NGOs, the MOEC's own education programmes, and provision of gender training in key areas. However, educational aid has failed to deliver quality improvements in the education system. Many agencies now realise that, without fundamental administrative reform, education policies of any kind will not be implemented. This accounts for the strong donor support for the ESCC and the Civil Service Reform Programme. A core group of aid agencies (notably Sida, DFID, UNICEF, DANIDA, NORAD, DGIS and the World Bank) have tried to promote gender-sensitive education projects. This group has been the common denominator in all gender activities, be they inside or outside of the government system; its support for gender initiatives has been both financial and moral. Sida has been a major player in this respect. However, as elsewhere, the effectiveness of donor interventions relies upon the existence of local gender advocates operating either within ministries or the NGO sector. Several women's NGOs in Tanzania are managed by ex-academics, which has helped to fuse knowledge and practice regarding gender.

Without internal advocates, any donor moves to promote gender will founder. For example the women's groups at the University of Dar es Salaam (supported by SAREC and NORAD) have played an important role in raising gender awareness both on and off the campus. This has undoubtedly helped not only to raise the level of understanding of gender inequalities in Tanzania, but also to encourage higher female enrolments at UDSM. In contrast, extensive donor-sponsored gender sensitisation and training has been undertaken in MOE and other ministries since the early 1990s, but the impact on gender policy in education has been minimal. Even though donors like Sida believe in local ownership of education planning, they have used conditionality indirectly to keep gender 'on the agenda' in education. Acceptance of funding for gender initiatives by the MOEC is sometimes motivated not by commitment but the need to keep 'resources flowing.'

Most gender initiatives in the education sector have only emerged over the last five years and their partial and uncoordinated nature has already caused serious problems. A prime example is the controversy in the donor community surrounding the efficacy of the World Bank's girls' scholarship scheme for secondary education. As always, greater donor coordination would certainly help to remedy this situation. Strengthening local ownership also means further capacity building. This is nowhere more relevant than in the field of gender but it is clear that gender is a particularly difficult nut to crack as it involves not only arguments about human resource development but also extensive attitude change. UNICEF is one of the few agencies which is trying to change negative social and cultural attitudes towards 'the girl child'.

Despite numerous training efforts sponsored by donors, gender has not been internalised in either of the education ministries. Nor has it been internalised in some of the donor agencies which claim to have mainstreamed gender. The push to institutionalise gender has invariably come from committed gender advocates both within government and aid agencies. Clearly, any process involving attitude change will be laborious, requiring different kinds of interventions both short and long term. However, any package of gender measures must be coherent and grounded in sensible educational reform and an overall gender policy.

A number of recommendations emerge from this analysis of gender and education in Tanzania. The following include recommendations by the Tanzanian country group at a dissemination seminar held for this project in Harare on January 12th-13th, 1998.


1. Structures and Functions

· The MCDWAC's role of 'watchdog' for gender across other ministries should be enhanced in order to actively support affirmative action at senior policy levels and promote gender policies in all ministries.

· Women's representation at senior levels in government should continue to be improved by introducing incentive structures for ministries which achieve certain targets.

· The Gender Unit should be located in the Planning Department of the MOEC. The unit should have jurisdiction over activities of both the education ministries.

· The head of the Gender Unit should be a senior official selected through open competition.

· The terms of reference for the present Gender Unit in the MOEC need to be reviewed and updated. This process would also involve individuals and institutions outside of the Ministries of Education.

· The GCU should be involved in the process of compiling documentation in the area of gender and education.

· In order that gender issues are successfully mainstreamed throughout the entire education system, it is essential that the two education ministries coordinate their activities in this area more closely.

· Gender initiatives within the ministries of education should not be 'one off' affairs but an individual or individuals should have responsibility for follow up and further developments.

· Systems must be set in place to institutionalise gender both in government structures and aid agencies.

· Greater transparency should be encouraged in the ministries of education and more participatory methods employed in the design of education policies.35

· NGOs and other interested groups in civil society have a key role to play in opening up the policy making process and widening its constituency.

35 As is already the case in the Adult Education Department of the MOEC.

2. Areas of focus and lobby groups

· The crucial areas of curriculum reform and engendering the curriculum should involve close collaboration between the two education ministries and the TIE.

· Teachers' status should be improved and their professional organisations, encouraged if they are to take gender issues on board. Such organisations should be drawn into policy making.

· FAWE should not be tied to government officials but should link up with NGOs and other interested groups to help open up the policy making process.

· If FAWE members are too busy to proceed with present plans of action, they should delegate or employ others to complete these tasks. The formation of a permanent staff as in the Ghana chapter might be a useful model.

· School inspectors and members of the Teachers' Service Commission should be gender sensitised.

· Greater continuity in the process of gender sensitisation should be encouraged.

3. District level interventions

· The GCU should develop a team of gender trainers to work with teachers and community leaders at the district level.

· Parents should be involved in education planning and resource management through school committees.

· School committees should be fully accountable to both the community and government.

· The current drive to decentralise education which involves capacity building of school committees should be extended to other areas, for example, Parent Teacher Associations.

4. Donors

· The activities of donors should be made more transparent.

· Better utilisation of existing knowledge about gender and education would assist in the formulation of gender policies. Every effort must be made to synthesise key findings of donor funded research and these should be made freely available. This includes the findings of consultancy reports.

· Donor coordination should be improved (particularly in the area of capacity building) to avoid wasteful duplication of effort.