Tanzania has achieved rapid growth in access to basic education, but the quality of its education and learning outcomes remain lower than its peers. Since introducing free pre-primary education in 2014, Tanzania’s education system has struggled to meet early grade learning outcomes. Challenges include insufficient and inconsistent attention to learning outcomes across all schools, large class sizes, and print-poor learning environments.
Fostering Inclusive Education in Tanzania with the Jifunze Uelewe Activity
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Jifunze Uelewe Activity, which means "Learn and Understand" in Swahili, builds on the successes of the RTI-led USAID Tusome Pamoja Program and Hesabu na Elimu Jumuishi activity to advance safe and inclusive education in Tanzania, scale up pre-primary education, and build Tanzania’s capacity to sustain these gains over the long term.
RTI is targeting Jifunze Uelewe interventions in the Iringa, Morogoro, Mtwara, Ruvuma, and Zanzibar areas of Tanzania.
A Sustainable Approach to Improving Education in Tanzania
Improving education and learning outcomes requires a holistic approach and engagement of an array of stakeholders, from parents to teachers to education officials and more. Jifunze Uelewe works with and through the Government of Tanzania to implement a variety of activities that focus on improving learning outcomes and building welcoming and supportive learning environments for all children.
Improve classroom instruction on literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional skills
To help teachers improve their classroom instruction, Jifunze Uelewe is helping the Government of Tanzania provide continuous professional development through a wrap-around approach that combines face-to-face training, discussions, classroom observation, and mentoring to provide teachers with feedback, support, and advice. A virtual learning platform augments this approach and enables teachers to directly access learning content and resources like teachers guides.
Training topics for more inclusive education in Tanzania include phonics-based literacy, universal design for learning, and support for students’ social and emotional development. The project also provides a variety of inclusive and accessible teaching and learning materials such as virtual content, story and nonfiction books, and resource kits for learners with vision and hearing impairments to improve literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional skills among all learners.
Strengthen local and regional capacity to increase and sustain learning improvements.
Rather than providing direct delivery of curricula, trainings, and other interventions, Jifunze Uelewe works through the Tanzanian education system and provides on-the-job training and capacity building for staff. The project is building the capacity of local and regional governments in Tanzania to plan, budget, and implement inclusive curriculum. As Tanzania rolls out benchmarks for early grade learning, Jifunze Uelewe is helping develop guidelines for regional and district target setting.
It is also increasing the capacity of these entities to collect and use data to make evidence-based decisions and target support. With this data, education officials can better identify weaknesses and constraints in school communities that prevent students from reaching reading fluency and mathematic achievement. Jifunze Uelewe recently helped integrate two new indicators into routine assessments of student and teacher performance in the Mtwara region: inclusion and social-emotional learning.
Increase community support for safe and inclusive education in and outside of school.
Jifunze Uelewe is enhancing community engagement in education including through messaging campaigns and trainings for parents and teachers that raise awareness of social and behavioral strategies that support a safe, inclusive learning environment and reduce the stigma around disability. By creating community-based reading clubs and encouraging reading at home through book borrowing programs, the project is increasing the opportunities available to children to practice their reading skills outside of school.
Leveraging Experience and Inclusive Education Best Practices
Jifunze Uelewe aligns with USAID’s Reading MATTERS (Mentors, Administrators, Teachers, Texts, Extra Practice, Regular Assessment, Standards) conceptual framework and employs Universal Design for Learning principles that engage, encourage, and enable all children to reach their potential.
By engaging local and global partners, Jifunze Uelewe is leveraging the experience, networks and expertise of Ubongo, Africa’s premier edutainment company; eKitabu, which is translating materials to braille and converting books to video with sign language; Viamo, which is developing and distributing virtual content; and MWAI, which has generated important insights on gender dynamics to improve mentoring.
The project is also bringing best practice from across donors to bear to improve education in Tanzania, including collaborations with the United Kingdom’s Shule Bora and Education for Results programs as well as the Global Partnership for Education’s Literacy and Numeracy Education Support program.
Jifunze Uelewe builds on education activities implemented by RTI International through the former USAID Tusome Pamoja Program and Hesabu na Elimu Jumuishi activity, which collectively reached 2.5 million children, trained 20,000 teachers, supplied 3,000 schools with teaching and learning materials, and printed and distributed more than 3.2 million supplementary books for young learners through schools in Tanzania.
Learn more about RTI’s work in International Education and in Tanzania.