Education in Zanzibar
Zanzibar comprises two main islands, Unguja and Pemba, and a number of sparsely populated smaller islands, all of which make up a total area of 2,643 square kilometres. Since 1964, Zanzibar forms part of the United Republic of Tanzania. The Union Government is responsible for defence, external affairs, fiscal policy and monetary issues, while Zanzibar has autonomy over development policy and execution of both recurrent and capital activities. While Tanganyika and Zanzibar constitute the United Republic of Tanzania, education is not a union matter. Consequently, the responsibility for ensuring its development falls under the full responsibility of Zanzibar.
In 2002, Zanzibar’s population was estimated 981,754 inhabitants, 51% of which was female and 57 percent rural. The population was growing at an estimated 3.1 percent per annum. Of the total population, 54 percent was in the 15-55 age group, which is indicative of the size of the active labour force. Administratively, Zanzibar has five regions, three in Unguja and two in Pemba. North Pemba had a population of 185,326 while South Pemba had 175,471 inhabitants. North Unguja had a population of 136,639, the Urban/West had 390,074 inhabitants and South Unguja had the smallest population of 94,244. Each region has two districts under the District Commissioner. The head of the region is the Regional Commissioner. Each district is also subdivided into several smaller administrative units knows as “Shehias”.
Zanzibar’s economy is based on agriculture, but the tourist industry is also gradually becoming a major contributor to the country’s economy. Income per capita in 2000 was US$220, and was growing at 1.2 percent per annum. Levels of employment in the formal sector were low as a result of low domestic investment and negative fiscal pressure.
Minister for Education and Vocational Training: Hon. Haroun Ali Suleiman
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.
In 2000 there were 207 government schools and 118-private owned schools. All government schools are administered and managed by the Department of Education. The role of the Department is to provide management support to the schools, and also includes the deployment of new teachers. The Department also has the role of ensuring that all programmes at school level are well implemented. At district and regional levels the district and regional education officers are in-charge of their areas respectively. The deployment of teachers is done at district level, but the process is coordinated at central level by the Department of Education.
From an instructional perspective, the school is divided into several sections. At the primary level there are two sections. Section one is comprised of Standard One to Three and section two comprises Standard Four to Seven. Section three covers Orientation Secondary Class to Form Two. Moreover, each section has a section leader who is the supervisor and advisor to the teachers in the section.
The function of the school committee is two-fold, namely:
Although the formation of the school committees had been decreed, the committees have not been given legal powers to exercise their duties and functions.
The inspection of schools is administered by officials at national level. Between 1995 and 2000 a number of reforms have been introduced in the inspection and supervision of schools. The purpose was to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Of these reforms, the two important ones were the revision of the inspectorate system and the introduction of teacher centre advisors. The inspectorate was revised to be in line with other systems in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries. The major changes in the system was the introduction of the basic inspection component whose purpose was to assess the overall strength and weakness of the school rather than pointing at the mistakes of a particular teacher. Secondly, the school heads were appointed as associate inspectors in order to make them more accountable. The inspection was designed in a way that made it more transparent and the inspection reports are distributed and discussed with all stakeholders including school committees.
Since 1997, teacher professional development has been decentralized to the zonal Teacher Centers (TCs). There are nine Teacher Centres and training is conducted by TC advisors. The role of the advisors is to visit schools and identify teachers who need advice, provide such advice, and guide teachers in their particular subject area. It is around the findings from these visits and discussions with teachers that training is planned and conducted.
See the SACMEQ reports for more information.
SACMEQ II (2000) Reading achievement
SACMEQ II (2000) Math achievement
For more country statistics, see also: