Pre-primary education policy in Tanzania: Does it meet the educational needs of newly naturalized refugee children?


  • Laurent Gabriel Ndijuye The University of Hong Kong/Shandong Yingcai University
  • Nirmala Rao The University of Hong Kong


Pre-primary education policy, Naturalized refugees, Tanzania, Pre-primary education, Refugee education


Over the past five decades, Tanzania has hosted over two million refugees, about 200,000 of whom have been naturalized as Tanzania citizens. Children from this group face numerous challenges within the mainstream educational system. This paper considered education policy in Tanzania, with a specific focus on children from naturalized refugees’ access to quality pre-primary education. It analyzes relevant policy documents published from 2006 - the year before Tanzania started its latest refugee naturalization phase, to 2016. The 2014 Tanzania Education and Training Policy (ETP), the Pre-primary Curriculum, and the Pre-primary Schools Guide give the most focus on pre-primary education. Three National Five-year Development Plans considered all levels of formal education, except the pre-primary level.  Findings revealed that policy documents articulate a commitment to providing equal educational opportunities for all people, regardless of their background, acknowledge existing problems with the educational system and make sensible recommendations. These include abolishing fees in all public schools; increasing flexibility in the choice and use of languages of instruction; decentralizing of program management and accountability; and, recommendations related to curriculum issues. However, the associated working documents do not suggest specific strategic and implementation plans to meet the intended goals, nor do they prioritize increasing educational participation for naturalized refugee children. 

Author Biographies

Laurent Gabriel Ndijuye, The University of Hong Kong/Shandong Yingcai University

Dr. Laurent Gabriel Ndijuye is an assistant professor in the School of Psychology and Special Education – The University of Dodoma, Tanzania. Dr. Ndijuye’s areas of research interests include Early Childhood Education, early literacy and language acquisition, early numeracy acquisition skills, social justice and equity in education, refugee education and development, and immigrant and minority education.

Nirmala Rao, The University of Hong Kong

Professor Nirmala Rao is Serena H.C. Yang Professor in Early Childhood Development and Education, Developmental and Chartered (Educational) Psychologist, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong. Professor Rao’s Areas of Expertise include Early Childhood Development and Education; Child Development and Educational Policy; Developmental and Educational Psychology; Culture and Pedagogy.