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Educational System in Tanzania

The one tip that you hear expats living in Tanzania repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Tanzania. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Tanzania is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Tanzania.
|-Educational System in Tanzania

The educational system in Tanzania is a blend of the traditional African system and the Western system, which was introduced during the colonial period. The Tanzanian government places a high priority on education, and it is compulsory for all children. The system is divided into several stages, each with its own focus and age range. This guide will provide expats with a comprehensive overview of the Tanzanian educational system, including the main stages of education, enrollment procedures, language requirements, public and private school options, and alternatives such as homeschooling and online schooling.

What are the main stages of education in Tanzania?

The Tanzanian educational system is divided into four main stages: pre-primary education, primary education, secondary education, and tertiary education. Pre-primary education is for children aged 4-6 years, primary education is for children aged 7-13 years, secondary education is for students aged 14-19 years, and tertiary education includes universities and vocational training institutions.

Pre-primary Education

Pre-primary education in Tanzania is for children aged 4-6 years. This stage focuses on preparing children for primary education by teaching them basic literacy and numeracy skills, as well as social and physical skills. Pre-primary education is not compulsory, but it is highly recommended to ensure a smooth transition to primary school.

Primary Education

Primary education in Tanzania is compulsory and free for all children aged 7-13 years. The curriculum includes subjects such as Kiswahili, English, mathematics, science, social studies, and vocational skills. At the end of primary school, students take the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) to qualify for secondary education.

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Tanzania is divided into two stages: ordinary level (O-level) and advanced level (A-level). The O-level is for students aged 14-17 years and covers subjects such as English, Kiswahili, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, history, and civics. The A-level is for students aged 18-19 years and allows students to specialize in arts or science subjects. Both levels conclude with national examinations.

Tertiary Education

Tertiary education in Tanzania includes universities and vocational training institutions. Universities offer undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs in various fields. Vocational training institutions provide practical skills training in areas such as agriculture, engineering, and business.

How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?

Newcomers can enroll their children in Tanzanian schools by first obtaining a student pass from the Immigration Department. They will then need to contact the desired school directly to inquire about the enrollment process, which typically involves submitting an application form along with the child’s birth certificate, passport, and previous school records.

My children are still learning Kiswahili, can they enroll in a public school?

Yes, children who are still learning Kiswahili can enroll in public schools in Tanzania. However, it’s important to note that Kiswahili is the medium of instruction in primary schools, while English is used in secondary schools and higher education. Therefore, it may be beneficial for children to have a basic understanding of Kiswahili before starting primary school.

Are there public bilingual schools?

There are a few public bilingual schools in Tanzania that offer instruction in both Kiswahili and English. However, these schools are not common and may have limited spaces. Admission is typically based on academic performance and language proficiency.

What types of private schools are common in Tanzania?

Private schools in Tanzania include international schools, religious schools (such as Catholic and Islamic schools), and bilingual schools. International schools often follow the British, American, or International Baccalaureate curriculum and offer instruction in English. Religious schools follow the national curriculum but also include religious instruction. Bilingual schools offer instruction in both Kiswahili and English.

Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?

Expats in Tanzania typically send their children to private schools, particularly international schools. This is due to the language of instruction, the curriculum, and the quality of education, which is often perceived to be higher in private schools.

How expensive are Private schools in Tanzania?

The cost of private schools in Tanzania varies widely depending on the type of school and the level of education. International schools are generally the most expensive, with annual fees ranging from $3,000 to $20,000. Religious and bilingual schools are usually more affordable, with fees ranging from $500 to $3,000 per year.

Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Tanzania?

Homeschooling is not common in Tanzania and there are no specific laws regulating it. However, it is generally accepted as long as the child is receiving an education that is equivalent to the national curriculum. Expats who wish to homeschool their children should consult with the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training for guidance.

May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Tanzania?

Online schooling is a viable option for expats living in Tanzania, especially for those who are temporarily residing in the country or who prefer a curriculum from their home country. However, it’s important to ensure that the online school is accredited and that the child has a suitable learning environment at home.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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