Education is recognized by the government of Tanzania as central to achieving its primary goal of improving the daily life of Tanzanians. The Tanzania Development Vision 2025 and the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty both articulate this , recognizing improving primary education as the most effective gateway to achieving Sustainable Development. The government is committed to achieving universal education in several international agreements, which include Education for All (EFA) and the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals . This has manifested in admirable advances in primary school enrollment since 2000. As of 2007 net enrolment rate for primary education increased 38.4% to 97.2% since 2000 , with equal benefits for girls who made up half those enrolled. However there are still many problems with education in Tanzania, which must be addressed if the government is to achieve its primary goal of improving quality of life for all its citizens.
One of these problems is the high dropout rates for children aged 7 to 13 in Standard VII education. This is particularly a problem for girls. A study by Suma and Katabaro (UNDP) 2011 found net completion rate at Standard VII (7-13 years old) to be 65.2% for girls and 60.0% for boys. For girls social factors such as getting pregnant and early marriage are significant barriers to educational achievement. Another challenge to educational success at primary level is quality of education which can be very poor in some areas. According to the UNDP in 2009 after seven years of education only half (49.4% ) of pupils who took the Primary School Leaving Examination were able to pass it. Poor education standard not only leads to poor educational achievement but also leaves pupils with less transferrable skills in the job market and decreased employability. Studies have found that by the time children complete primary education 9 out of 10 cannot read basic English and 7 out of 10 are unable to read basic Swahili. A third problem with education within Tanzania, is that graduation to secondary education after primary is very low. According to the UNDP 2009 only 50% of pupils who finished primary education went on to enroll in secondary education.
The right to education is one of the most universally acknowledged human rights. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) all acknowledge it. Whilst the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960) and a number of other international documents go one step further emphasising the right to education regardless of gender, ethnicity or ability. UNICEF states that all educational establishments should be healthy, safe, protective and gender sensitive and that they should provide classes on gender, health nutrition and HIV/AIDS protection. Education is a key human right as it lays the ground –work for the future happiness, prosperity and wellbeing of that person. It is one of the few tools which can bring someone out of poverty and into prosperity. This is particularly pertinent in the developing world, where it has been found that for every extra year of education a person receives their income increases by 10%. It also has positive consequences for society. Educated girls are more likely to have healthy babies, safe childbirth and better nourished children. For girls the benefits of education on wellbeing is tremendous. A girl who gets a secondary education is less likely to marry early, marry against her will and have a sexually transmitted disease. Ensuring universal access to quality primary education regardless of gender or ethnicity is critical for the prosperity of Tanzania and its citizens. Removing environmental stressors which stop children completing their primary education is equally important to achieve this aim as well as being recognised as a human right by UNICEF.