Egino M. Chale
The republic of Tanzania, which is one of the member countries of the Southern Africa Development Co-ordination Conference, comprises the union of Tanganyika and the islands of the sultanate of Zanzibar. From its foundation in 1964 great efforts were made to unify the people of Tanzania, who were made up of about 130 tribes, using Kiswahili, the official language as one of the key instruments. English has the status of a co-official language but its use is limited to the educated élite.
The country covers an area of about 937,062 km2 and has an estimated population of 23.2 million, with an average annual growth rate of 2.8 per cent. By 1977 about 80 per cent of the population lived in planned villages, as compared to less than five per cent at independence in 1961. Settling people in the villages was the result of deliberate government effort so that they could be provided with basic services. Tanzania is largely an agricultural country with about 85 per cent of its active population engaged in agriculture and related enterprises. As in a number of sub-Saharan countries, a predominantly unmodernised agricultural economy has not sustained the per capita income. In real terms this has been falling (World Bank, 1988). Although there has been a marked improvement in the economy of Tanzania in recent years, following the adoption of a national Economic Recovery Programme, liberalisation of trade and devaluation of the currency, the country remains one of the least developed in the world, with its development hampered by a chronic shortage of foreign exchange.
The country’s political philosophy is one of socialism and self reliance, as spelt out in the Arusha Declaration, and built on three principles of the traditional African family: respect for the individual, sharing of the basic necessities of life and obligation to work. It is from the national ideology that the country’s educational system derives its objectives across all levels. The national educational policy is set out in a 1967 document Education for self-reliance. Tanzania has looked upon education as one of the most important instruments for development. Education for self-reliance lays significant emphasis on education and production which is also accorded high esteem.