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Tanzania

Higher Education

Only 70 Africans held university degrees just prior to independence, and 20 of them were teachers. Most had attended Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda or the Royal Technical College (now the University of Nairobi) in Nairobi, Kenya. A few had also studied in England or the United States. Clearly, the system had to dramatically expand educational opportunities if it was to meet the needs of an independent nation. Adult illiteracy hovered at 73 percent.

No Tanzanian student is admitted to national universities unless they serve for two years in the national service, regardless of how intelligent they are. Those unwilling to prove their commitment to nation building are forced to attend foreign universities at their own expense.

Prior to independence Tanzania did not have a university. Students seeking university education were forced to travel to other countries, notably Uganda and Kenya, but England and the United States were also possibilities. The University of Dar es Salaam was established in 1970. It offers degrees in agriculture, law, business and commerce, medicine, engineering, and science. The faculty of agriculture is located in Morogoro, while most of the other faculties are located in Dar es Salaam. It normally takes three years to complete a Bachelor's degree and four years to complete a law degree. Examinations are held once a year at the end of yearlong courses. External examiners give additional assessments of learning. Admission to the university is based upon several criteria. Students must work for two years or compete two years of national service before applying for entrance to university. There are three hurdles that must be crossed: first, they must have high academic standards; second, local CCM (Chama Cha Mapunduzi/Party of the Revolution—the party in power) representatives must attest that a student is devoted to national policies; and third, coworkers, employers, or commanding officers must testify to the student's character and on-the-job performance. If they pass all three tests and are admitted, then they must sign a contract stating that they will work for five years wherever the Tanzanian government chooses upon earning their degrees.

Numbers cited above show that enrollments are doubling every seven years on average. Undergraduate degrees are awarded in four categories: first class (A average), upper class (B+ average), lower second (B average) and pass, with all but pass being honor degrees. As Tanzania's economy continues to modernize and diversify, the demand for college graduates and professionals will grow along with it. Students who take degrees abroad often do not return because salaries in England, Canada, and the U.S. are significantly higher than in Tanzania.

Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceTanzania - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education