Education Fact Sheet
Minister for Education and Vocational Training: Hon. Mr Ali Juma Shamhuna
One of the key features of Zanzibar’s education system is that, according to Zanzibar’s Education Act of 1982, the provision of basic education up to secondary level was compulsory and free. The span of basic education has changed over the years. Up to the revolution in 1964, basic (primary) education was eight years. Between 1968 and 1976 the number of years increased to ten. From then up to 1992 basic education was 11 years. In 1992 it was reduced to 10 years. The overall structure of education as laid down in the 1991 Zanzibar Education Policy is 3-7-3-2-2. This means the school system comprises 3 years of pre-primary education. However, this is not considered as part of basic education. Primary education comprises seven years followed by 3 years of the first cycle of lower secondary education. These ten years are basic compulsory education, and pupils take a terminal examination at the end of this cycle.
About 40 percent of the first cycle of lower secondary education graduates are selected to continue for two years to complete the second cycle of lower secondary education, at the end of which they sit for the Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (CSEE). The Advanced Certificate is taken after a further two years of upper secondary education on the basis of their performance in the CSEE. A more detailed description of the three selected levels of the education system has been provided below.
Pre-primary education is provided by public, private and Quranic schools, and is not compulsory. Access and participation is still low, and in 2000 it stood at around 13 percent of the 4-6 age group.
Basic education in Zanzibar is made up of seven years of primary and three years of lower secondary education. The first year of junior secondary is termed “Orientation Secondary Class” (OSC). This year was introduced to strengthen the language and mathematical ability of pupils. The Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) in 2000 was 85.5 percent while the Net Enrolment Rate (NER) was 54.7 percent, with a drop out rate and repetition rate of 7.3 percent and 4.9 percent per annum respectively.
There are three cycles of secondary education. The first cycle, termed the “junior secondary education” is a three-year cycle and constitutes part of the basic education. The second cycle, termed the “senior secondary education” lasts two years and covers Form III and Form IV. At the end of Form IV, pupils write a qualifying entrance examination to gain entry into the third cycle. This third two-year cycle covers Form V and Form VI, and is termed the “Advanced level”.