Understanding the Drivers of Educational Change in Tanzania: Educational Policy and Professional Capital




Majani, William Pastory

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Despite series of educational change initiatives adopted in Tanzania immediately after independence to the present, there is little evidence to demonstrate that these change efforts are providing the desired learning outcomes. This study adopted qualitative research to investigate educational change in Tanzanian secondary education from the perspectives of policy makers, school leaders, and teachers. Using case study research design, a total of 26 participants were interviewed. Document analysis and semi structured interviews were the data collection methods. The study used Fullan’s (2007) educational change model and Weaver-Hightower’s (2008) an ecology metaphor of policy analysis as frameworks to structure and interpret the findings of my study. The study findings suggest that secondary schools in Tanzania are primarily sites where mandated and prescriptive educational change initiatives are implemented. Teachers and school leaders are regarded as recipients of change directives which must be implemented unquestioningly. This makes implementation problematic because; proposals leading to change flow in one direction, and Tanzania secondary education is characterized by series of disconnected changes and contextual features that are not supporting change. These study findings imply that educational change initiatives must align with teachers’ beliefs and classroom practices. To make educational change a success, there must be, (1) political will to commit sufficient physical and fiscal resources to facilitate change, (2) teaching force with strong knowledge base, dedicated and ambitious to work as a team, and ability to make sound decisions to improve students’ learning outcomes. Lastly, (3) teachers must assume a new position and play a new role in educational change landscape.