World Bank financing to make secondary education safer, better, more accessible for Tanzanian students
The World Bank approved a credit from IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, which will enable millions of young Tanzanians to access and complete secondary education in safer and better learning environments.
The $500 million Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQUIP) will directly benefit about 6.5 million secondary school students by strengthening government-run schools and establishing stronger educational pathways for students who leave the formal school system.
SEQUIP uses a disbursement mechanism that is phased and releases funds in tranches only when previously agreed results have been achieved. These include increasing access to schools, improving education quality for all public secondary education options, and supporting more children to re-enter the formal public system if they drop out.
“Every child in Tanzania deserves a good education, but thousands are denied this life-changing opportunity each year. This project puts the country’s young people front and center; it also dedicates two-thirds of its resources to better and safer learning environments for girls,” said Mara Warwick, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania. She added, “This is an important step in addressing the challenges that Tanzania’s children face throughout their education. The World Bank will continue our dialogue with the government on broader issues concerning equal treatment of schoolchildren.”
Tanzania’s Fee Free Basic Education Policy has led to more children entering school: primary enrollment rose from 8.3 million to 10.1 million between 2015 and 2018, while secondary enrollment increased from 1.8 million to 2.2 million. But despite better access, the secondary education system suffers from low quality and high dropout rates. Nearly 60,000 students (30 percent) fail to complete their schooling each year, and children are not learning enough, particularly in mathematics and science, due to a lack of skilled and motivated teachers, large class sizes, and a poor learning environment. There is also a large gender gap in upper secondary school enrollment, as this learning environment has more effect on girls and their performance in exams.
“Tanzania, like many countries around the world, is suffering from a learning crisis, where children are either not in school, or are in school but not learning,” said Jaime Saavedra, Global Director for Education for the World Bank. “Of 100 children who start school in Tanzania, less than half will finish primary and only three will complete their upper secondary schooling. This is a crisis. This project will support better quality secondary education, while helping make school a safer place where children can thrive, and where all girls, no matter the circumstances, have a pathway to complete their secondary education.”
Over the past two years, about 300,000 children, half of them girls, have been unable to continue their lower secondary education due to insufficient space in public schools. In addition, an estimated 5,500 Tanzanian girls who are pregnant drop out every year. SEQUIP has been designed to enable more adolescent girls and boys to transition to upper secondary education. It gives pregnant girls, young mothers, and other vulnerable children who leave school early the possibility to return to the formal system and complete their education. The project tackles the issues facing pregnant girls with an approach informed by civil society organizations and NGOs, in Tanzania and around the world.
“SEQUIP’s design strives to give pregnant girls and young mothers a better chance to complete their education,” said Caren Grown, Senior Director of the Gender Group at the World Bank. “The Bank has stepped up its work to create a new generation of education programs that emphasize safe school environments for girls and boys, including measures that reduce gender-based violence, corporal punishment, bullying, and other forms of violence in and around schools. It gives girls better quality choices and opportunities for completing their secondary education.”
The project will be implemented under the Bank’s new Environmental and Social Framework; the government has committed to offering all stakeholders opportunities to engage in consultations during project implementation and to supporting construction of school infrastructure that is safe and built to good environmental and social standards. Citizen engagement in the project will be enhanced through civil society input and strong mechanisms to redress grievances.
The population of secondary education students in Tanzania could double to 4.1 million by 2024. The five-year SEQUIP operation will help address this demand through four components, with disbursement of funds linked to clearly defined, measurable, and independently verified results through four components.
Component 1: Empowering girls through secondary education and life skills. The project aims to improve access to safe secondary education in schools and alternative education centers and to help girls continue and complete this schooling. It aims to help 900,000 more girls attend secondary school.
Component 2: Digitally-enabled effective teaching and learning. The project will introduce digital technology to facilitate math and science teaching and improve learning and teacher efficiency. It aims to improve the quality of secondary school teaching and learning environments.
Component 3: Reducing barriers to girls’ education by facilitating access to secondary schools. The project will support government efforts to expand the number of secondary school places, reduce the distance between a student’s home and her school, and ensure that schools offer safe and good-quality learning environments. This component will also ensure that adequate funding is available as secondary school enrollment expands.
Component 4: Project coordination, monitoring, and evaluation. The project will help reinforce existing capacity, inform education planning and policy decision-making, and implement key activities. Parent-teacher associations and school boards will be trained for close tracking and support to at-risk students, especially girls.
The SEQUIP operation was redesigned and approved following an extensive dialogue between the World Bank and the government of Tanzania. The increase from the initial project funds is due to two factors: first, the increase of children who are expected to enroll in secondary school would have made it difficult to achieve the goals of the project. Second, the stronger emphasis on girls’ education, which translates into two thirds of funds going exclusively to girls, requires more funds to focus on preventing drop-outs and enabling re-entries.