Globalisation And Primary Education Development In Tanzania: Prospects And Challenges

Overview of the Country and Primary Education System:

Tanzania covers 945,000 square kilometers, including approximately 60,000 square kilometers of inland water. The population is about 32 million people, with an average annual growth rate of 2.8 percent per year. Females comprise 51% of the total population.

The majority of the population resides on the Mainland, while the rest resides in Zanzibar. The life expectancy is 50 years, and the mortality rate is 8.8%. The economy depends upon Agriculture, Tourism, Manufacturing, Mining, and Fishing. Agriculture contributes about 50% of GDP and accounting for about two-thirds of Tanzania’s exports. Tourism contributes 15.8%; and manufacturing, 8.1%, and mining, 1.7%. The school system is a 2-7-4-2-3+ consisting of pre-primary, primary school, ordinary level secondary education, Advanced level secondary, Technical, and Higher Education. Primary School Education is compulsory whereby parents are supposed to take their children to school for enrollment. The medium of instruction in primary is Kiswahili.

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One of the key objectives of the first president J.K. Nyerere was the development strategy for Tanzania, as reflected in the 1967 Arusha Declaration, ensuring that basic social services were available equitably to all members of society. In the education sector, this goal was translated into the 1974 Universal Primary Education Movement, whose goal was to make primary education universally available, compulsory and provided free of cost to users to ensure it reached the poorest. As the strategy was implemented, large-scale increases in the numbers of primary schools and teachers were brought about through campaign-style programs with the help of donor financing. By the beginning of the 1980s, each village in Tanzania had a primary school, and gross primary school enrollment reached nearly 100 percent, although the quality of education provided was not very high. From 1996 the education sector proceeded through the launch and operation of the Primary Education Development Plan – PEDP in 2001.


To different scholars, the definition of globalization may be different. According to Cheng (2000), it may refer to the transfer, adaptation, and development of values, knowledge, technology, and behavioral norms across countries and societies in different parts of the world. The typical phenomena and characteristics associated with globalization include growth of global networking (e.g., internet, worldwide e-communication, and transportation), global transfer and interflow in technological, economic, social, political, cultural, and learning areas, international alliances and competitions, international collaboration and exchange, global village, multi-cultural integration, and use of international standards and benchmarks. See also Makule (2008) and MoEC (2000).

Globalization in Education

In the education discipline, globalization can mean the same as the above meanings as is a concern, but most specifically, all the keywords directed in education matter. Dimmock & Walker (2005) argue that in a globalizing and internalizing world, not only business and industry are changing; education, too, is caught up in that new order. This situation provides each nation a new empirical challenge of how to respond to this new order. Since this responsibility is within a national and there is inequality in terms of economic level and perhaps in cultural variations globally, globalization seems to affect others and vice versa (Bush 2005) positively. In most developing countries, these forces come as imposing forces from the outside and are implemented unquestionably because they do not have enough resources to ensure implementation (Arnove 2003; Crossley & Watson, 2004).

There is a misinterpretation that globalization has little impact on education because the traditional ways of delivering education persist within a national state. But, it has been observed that while globalization continues to restructure the world economy, there are also powerful ideological packages that reshape the education system in different ways (Carnoy, 1999; Carnoy & Rhoten, 2002). While others seem to increase access, equity, and quality in education, others affect the nature of educational management. Bush (2005) and Lauglo (1997) observe that decentralization of education is one of the global trends in the world, enabling the reform of educational leadership and management at different levels. They also argue that Decentralization forces help different levels of educational management to have the power of decision-making related to the allocation of resources.

Carnoy (1999) further portrays that the global ideologies and economic changes are increasingly intertwined in the international institutions that broadcast particular strategies for educational change. These include western governments, multilateral and bilateral development agencies and NGOs (Crossley & Watson 2004). Also, these agencies are the ones that develop global policies and transfer them through funds, conferences, and other means. Certainly, with these powerful forces, education reforms, and to be more specific, the current reforms on school leadership to a large extent are influenced by globalization.

The School Leadership

In Tanzania, the leadership and management of education systems and processes are increasingly seen as one area where improvement can and needs to be made to ensure that education is delivered efficiently and efficaciously. Although literature for education leadership in Tanzania is inadequate, Komba in EdQual (2006) pointed out that research in various aspects of leadership and management of education, such as the structures and delivery stems of education; financing, and alternative sources of support to education; preparation, nurturing and professional development of education leaders; the role of female educational leaders in the improvement of educational quality; as well as the link between education and poverty eradication, are deemed necessary in approaching issues of educational quality in any sense and at any level. The nature of out-of-school factors that may render support to the quality of education, e.g., traditional leadership institutions, may also need to be looked into.

Impact of Globalization

As mentioned above, globalization creates numerous opportunities for sharing knowledge, technology, social values, and behavioral norms and promoting developments at different levels, including individuals, organizations, communities, and societies across different countries and cultures. Cheng (2000); Brown, (1999); Waters (1995) pointed out the advantages of globalization as follows: Firstly, it enables global sharing of knowledge, skills, and intellectual assets that are necessary to multiple developments at different levels. The second is mutual support, supplement, and benefit to produce synergy for various developments of countries, communities, and individuals. The third positive impact is creating values and enhancing efficiency through the above global sharing and mutual support to serving local needs and growth. The fourth is promoting international understanding, collaboration, harmony, and acceptance of cultural diversity across countries and regions. The fifth is facilitating multi-way communications and interactions and encouraging multi-cultural contributions at different levels among countries.

The potential negative impacts of globalization are educationally concerned in various types of political, economic, and cultural colonization and overwhelming influences of advanced countries to developing countries and rapidly increasing gaps between rich areas and poor areas in different parts of the world. The first impact is increasing the technological gaps and digital divides between advanced and less developed countries, hindering equal opportunities for fair global sharing. The second is creating more legitimate opportunities for a few advanced countries to economically and politically colonize other countries globally. The third is exploiting local resources, which destroys indigenous cultures of less advanced countries to benefit a few advanced countries. Fourthly is the increase of inequalities and conflicts between areas and cultures. And fifthly is promoting the dominant cultures and values of some advanced areas and accelerating cultural transplant from advanced areas to less developed areas.

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