How poor funding hurts access, provision of quality education in Tanzania

Sunday June 12 2022

Tanzania’s education budget allocated in the last five years has been extremely below stipulations made in the international framework and the ESDP. PHOTO | FILE

By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. Inadequate funding in the country’s education has led to Tanzania’s failure to meet commitments made domestically and internationally.

The international framework demands investment of at least 20 percent of the National Budget or five to six percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to be spent on the education sector annually.

Likewise, the Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP) II and III emphasized on increasing student enrolments, human resource and infrastructure development.

However, Tanzania’s education budget allocated in the last five years has been extremely below stipulations made in the international framework and the ESDP.

The revelation was recently made by HakiElimu during a breakfast debate organized by Policy Forum to deliberate on the: State of 2022/23 National Budget: ‘Probing the quality of education in Tanzania.’

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Tabling the analysis, HakiElimu policy analyst program manager, Mr Makumba Mwemezi said the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) has allocated Sh5.635 trillion for the 2022/23 Fiscal Year.

He outlined the institutions and the amount channeled to fund the country’s education in brackets as the Regional Administrative Secretaries (Sh4.042 trillion- 71.7pc); MoEST (Sh1.493 trillion-26.5pc) and the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG)-(Sh82.3-1.5pc).

Others are the Teachers Services Commission (Sh15 billion-0.26pc) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco)-(Sh2.7 billion-0.04pc).

“When compared to the Sh41.1 trillion National Budget for 2022/23 Fiscal Year, the amount allocated for the education sector is equivalent to 13.7 percent of the National Budget,” said Mr Mwemezi.

He said the trend shows that the budget allocated to the sector has been declining from Sh4.8 trillion (2016/17); Sh4.7 trillion (2017/18); Sh4.6 trillion (2018/19) and Sh4.5 trillion (2019/20).

He said the trend then increased to Sh4.7 trillion (2020/21); Sh5.3 trillion (2021/22) and Sh5.6 trillion allocated for the 2022/23 fiscal year.

“But, the Education 2030 and Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the Incheon Declaration and Framework for action towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all; require 20 percent of the National budget or 5-6 percent of the GDP to be allocated for the sector,” he said.

According to him, the failure to meet requirements of the international framework went on declining from 16 percent in 2016/17 to 15 percent in 2017/18 and then stagnated at 14 percent in 2018/19; 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years.

The trend then improved 14.3 percent in the 2021/22 FY before further declining to 13.7 percent the coming financial year, according to him.

Furthermore, he said the sector received Sh29.475 trillion between 2017/18 and 2022/23, out of Sh41.596 trillion anticipated if 20 percent were allocated according to requirements of the international framework.

Mr Mwemezi said the move had denied the sector Sh12.121 trillion investment if the 20 percent anticipated funds was allocated according to the international framework.

“With Sh304 billion disbursed from the COVID 19 relief fund; the country has built 11,988 classrooms for secondary schools; 2,978 rooms for satellite schools, 49 dormitories, 3,184 teachers’ offices and 557 pit latrines by March this year. What would Sh12.121 trillion do if the amount was invested?” he questioned.

He said Sh34.25 trillion was invested in the sector which is equivalent to 83 percent of Sh40.89 forecasted by the ESDP between 2016/17 and 2022/23, therefore denying the country with Sh7.39 trillion funding.

“The costs of new physical facilities including classrooms, laboratories and teachers houses to be constructed between 2021 and 2026 was estimated at Sh3.31 trillion according to the 2020 prices. What would the missed Sh7.39 trillion do if the amount was allocated,” he questioned.

According to Mr Mwemezi, in 2020, ESDP estimated a requirement of Sh477.11 billion annually between 2020/21 and 2025/26 financial years for construction of classrooms.

ESDP also forecasted a requirement of Sh19.58 billion for building laboratories and Sh165.52 billion for teachers’ houses making a summation of Sh662.21 billion.

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2022/23 education budget priorities

Furthermore, Mr Mwamezi said the analysis found that while Sh1.039 trillion and Sh480.5 billion were respectively set for development and recurrent expenditures in the 2021/22 fiscal year; Sh959.5 billion and Sh533.5 billion would respectively fund development and recurrent expenditures in the 2022/23 Fiscal Year.

“Higher Education Students’ Loans is the highest 2022/23 budget priority getting a lion share of Sh503 billion which is equivalent to 52.4 percent. Sh28.2 billion equals to 2.9 percent will be used for the Education Programme for Results (EP4R) and Sh25 billion equals to 2.6 percent for college and institution food rationing,” he said.

“Secondary Education Quality Improvement Programme (SEQUIP) has been given Sh28.96 billion, equal to three percent with Sh54 billion allocated to the support of Vocational Education and Training as well as Teachers Education equals to 5.6 percent,” he added.

In HakiElimu’s recommendations, he said the sector’s budget plans should be aligned with ESDP III recommendations, emphasizing that the education budget’s for 2022/23 Fiscal Year should be Sh7.587 trillion, instead of Sh5.635 trillion.

“In order to align the education budget with the national budget and international commitment, allocation in the sector should be 20 percent of the national budget instead of the 13.7 percent allocated,” he said.

Capitation grant

Furthermore, Mr Mwemezi recommended an improved rate of capitation grant from Sh10,000 provided to a primary pupil to Sh23,000 and Sh25,000 to Sh57, 500 given to a secondary school student respectively.

According to him, the new capitation grant and formula will address challenges of distance; urban; rural and special needs differences.

Bridging teacher’s inadequacy rate

According to PO-RALG plans, the government is expected to employ 10,000 primary and secondary school teachers in 2022/23 Fiscal Year, requiring 19 and 14 years respectively to close teachers’ gap in both primary and secondary schools.

He said currently, the gap stood at 37 percent; 59 percent and 47 percent respectively in primary, special needs and secondary schools.

What stakeholders say?

The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) lecturer who was the presentation discussant, Dr Richard Shukia said Tanzania needs an inclusive budget to acquire education all en-compassing.

“The Sh10,000 capitation grant given to individual primary school pupils doesn’t give us inclusive education. Despite, HakiElimu increment proposal to Sh25,000, the question remains to what extent cost analysis has led to the Sh25,000 proposal,” he said.

He said the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) report 2020/21 shows budget constraints prohibited provision of on job training to over 80 percent recruited teachers.

“The 2022/23 FY tabled education budget hasn’t allocated funds for teachers training, something that would show the government’s commitment to improve the quality of education in the country,” he said.

According to him, people are the way they are because of what they passed through during childhood, challenging the government to increase funding in childhood education. The Actionaid tax justice and gender responsive education project manager, Mr Karoli Kadeghe said providing capitation grants at flat rate levels was a justification that ESDP II wasn’t gender sensitive as it failed to consider gender disparities and demands of people from special groups.

“The education sector in the last five years had a Sh12.1 trillion deficit according to the presentation. Notably, most allocated funds are directed to salaries and administrative areas and forget gender sensitivity issues,” he said.

He said the reduced number of females as the education ladder goes up as well as the declining number of instructors in higher learning institutions shows that the ESDP II was gender insensitive.

“Education budget should be increased to enable us to avoid sending children to private facilities for better education, therefore depleting resources that could give Tanzanians better life after retirement,” he said.

The Women Life Foundation (WLF) coordinator, Ms Loyce Giboma said there was a need for comprehensive stakeholders’ cooperation to address challenges facing the sector.

A researcher, Mr Mihanyi Nkoronko said quality control was the education sector’s backbone, calling for the government to set enough funds and ensure the sector’s activities are coordinated and supervised under one institution.