How Tanzania Is Attaining Economic Diversification Through Skill-Based Education

As a low income country striving to attain middle-income status, Tanzania education aims to create employment for the nearly 1 million youth joining the labour-force every year.

This calls for expansion of existing firms and creation and growth of new enterprises.

However, the quality of the education and training systems is compromising the quality of the workforce force skills. This is in turn hindering business growth.

Tanzania Secondary Education


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In a study by the World Bank, skills shortages faced by Tanzanian firms were investigated using data from a unique Enterprise Skills Survey. Under the survey Tanzanian employers were asked questions about their workforce, the skills gaps affecting their operations, and what they are doing to overcome these gaps. The results were illuminating.

Key among the findings was the fact that firms with higher shares of tertiary-educated workers are more productive. However, the study saw no such impact of secondary and technical vocational education and training. This is a likely result of poor quality of secondary education in Tanzania.

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Going forward

Tanzania can address the issues by improving the quality of secondary education, particularly since the government recently committed to universalize secondary education.

Reforms must seek to improve English and IT skills that have broad application in many jobs, as well as basic proficiency in writing, critical thinking and problem solving. Technical vocational education and training (TVET) also requires reforms in curricula, faculty recruitment, and training as well as instructional practice oriented to industry requirements.

Furthermore, there is a need to expand the pool of tertiary-educated people across geographical regions. While the study found that tertiary-educated workers impact productivity, that pool is currently too small.

University-educated managers are associated with higher labour productivity because they tend to recruit more skilled workers and are likely to rate education deficiencies as a big obstacle, possibly because they are aware of the gaps between what is available in Tanzania and the rest of the world.

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Originally published under World Bank Blogs