Schools in Tanzania 

Although the Tanzanian government has prioritised education since independence in 1961, the standards of public education in the country remain low. The public education system is plagued by issues related to underfunding, poor accessibility and inability to accommodate students with learning disabilities.

While it is possible for expat students to attend local public schools, most expat families opt for international schools as these tend to be better equipped to deal with the unique needs of expat children. Wealthier Tanzanians also prefer to send their children to either private or international schools.

Before venturing to another country, make sure you have a health insurance plan you can rely on. Our international health insurance plans offer comprehensive health cover for when you are in your home country and abroad.

While academic achievement is highly valued in Tanzanian society, public schools, especially in the more rural parts of the country, struggle to meet minimum standards. Facilities are basic, class sizes are large, and teachers don’t always receive adequate training. That said, public schools in Tanzania only charge minimal fees to cover the cost of uniforms and stationery, which makes them more accessible than expensive private schools.

The primary language of instruction at public schools in Tanzania is Swahili, with English being taught as a second language. However, with most local children having no prior knowledge of English, the standards tend to be quite low. This language barrier as well as poor quality of the facilities in place at these schools mean that public schooling isn’t a viable option for most expat families.

Locals who can afford to send their children to private schools in Tanzania often do so. While private schools still follow the national curriculum, the strength of their English-medium programmes tends to be better. Furthermore, these institutions offer smaller class sizes, higher teaching standards and better facilities.

The demand for places at private schools tends to be high among the local population, especially because students who do not pass the primary school-leaving exam cannot attend a public secondary school. 

For most expat families moving to Tanzania, international schools are the simplest option. Most of these schools are situated in the major cities such as Dar es Salaam and Arusha.

These institutions either follow the curriculum of their home country or an internationally-recognised curriculum such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the Cambridge IGCSE. Most international schools in Tanzania teach in English.

The standard of teaching at these schools is excellent and class sizes are small. Children also benefit from studying alongside fellow expat students who share a similar experience of being in a new country. Parents too will get the chance to network with other expat families who are new to the country.

Fees at international schools in Tanzania are high, so expats should budget accordingly and consider trying to negotiate an allowance to cover tuition when discussing their employment contract. Waiting lists at the most popular international schools also tend to be long so it is wise to begin the application process ahead of time.