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Factsheet March 31, 2020

Tanzania Secondary Education Quality Improvement Program (SEQUIP)


Tanzania’s primary school enrollment

8.3 million (2015) increased to 10.1 million (2018)

Tanzania’s secondary school enrollment

1.8 million (2015) increased to 2.2 million (2018)


The number of children that were unable to start secondary education due to a lack of space over the past two years


The number of children who drop out of lower secondary school, half of them girls, per year


The number of girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy, per year

$500 million

Total World Bank financing for SEQUIP to benefit 6.5 million students, half of them girls

Over 50%

The proportion of SEQUIP resources that will be devoted exclusively to girls

Over its lifetime, SEQUIP will benefit:

6.5 million

The total number of secondary school students


Female secondary school dropouts, particularly at-risk girls and young mothers, who will benefit from recognized, quality alternative education programs.


Secondary school mathematics and science teachers who will benefit from in-service, continuous professional development and IT training to improve their teaching skills.


Teacher-trainers will obtain training and coaching competencies to support their fellow teachers’ professional development.

Link to SEQUIP Project Documents:


1. Why is the World Bank supporting Tanzania’s education sector through the SEQUIP project?

The main goal of the project is to provide children in Tanzania with better, safer, and more accessible secondary education to help build the country’s human capital. Specifically, the project will: (a) keep children in school and help all secondary school dropouts, including pregnant girls, pursue their secondary education; and (b) provide them with a path back into the formal public education system in the next cycle.

Making secondary education in Tanzania better, safer, and more accessible supports the country’s social and economic development. Evidence shows that increasing access to secondary education, especially for girls, contributes to stronger economic growth, faster poverty reduction, lower fertility rates, and better child health. In Tanzania, women who complete their secondary education start childbearing later and have fewer and healthier children.

Encouraging girls to stay in school longer by providing safe and good quality secondary education opportunities is one of the most effective ways of reducing early marriage and pregnancy. In Tanzania, pregnancy rates for young women with no education are 52 percent, versus only 10 percent for young women with secondary or higher education. An improved education sector can drive increases in access, ensure that schools are safe with less risk of gender-based violence, and raise the quality of secondary education.

2. How will SEQUIP support access to secondary school education for girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy?

Of the 60,000 students who drop out of secondary school every year in Tanzania, 5,500 leave due to pregnancy. While there is no government policy that states that students who become pregnant must be expelled from public schools, most pregnant girls do drop out.

Through the project and our ongoing policy dialogue with the government, the World Bank and other development partners will continue to advocate halting the practice of expelling pregnant girls from public schools in Tanzania so that they can continue their education in their existing school if they wish.

Changing long-standing social and cultural attitudes and norms on these issues will take time, but interventions included in SEQUIP – along with the platform it creates for continued dialogue between development partners, civil society, and the government – provide important support for change. One important step has already been achieved: through discussions during project preparation, the government has reconfirmed its commitment that all children who take Form 4 or Form 6 examinations, regardless of which education institution they have attended, will have the opportunity to continue their education in the public school or college system.

All students who leave or drop out of public secondary school have two options to continue their education and take the same national examinations as students attending public secondary school: they can either enroll in private secondary school or in Open Schools and Folk Development Colleges. The latter options are referred to as alternative education pathways (AEP). Open Schools are education centers that teach the secondary school curriculum through a face-to-face and self-study program. They often use public secondary school teachers and community facilities (e.g., schools, community centers). Folk Development Colleges are similar to Open Schools but also provide residential programs for young mothers (see below for details).

Evidence from other countries suggests that even with re-entry guidelines in place, few children return directly to public school, and AEPs are often the pragmatic option to support boys and girls who drop out of school. The project, building on existing NGO programs, is designed to strengthen these pathways by making them affordable and improving their quality, so that children who drop out have a safe educational alternative that provides a route for them to get back into the public school system. During SEQUIP implementation, the Project Coordination Team will explore best practices from other countries on re-entry, including for young mothers.  It will hold further consultations with vulnerable children to strengthen project interventions and support ongoing dialogue on these issues.

3. What are alternative education pathways (AEPs)?

There are about 151 government AEP centers, 25 of which are in the Dar es Salaam region, with the remainder spread across the country. There are also 30 Folk Development Colleges (FDCs), which provide secondary education in mostly peri-urban and semi-rural areas and often offer day care services for young children.

The quality of education is low in Tanzania’s public secondary schools as well as the AEP and FDC settings. SEQUIP aims to improve the quality of all secondary education options. Without investment in the quality of alternative education, drop-outs (60,000 every year) and vulnerable groups will continue to have limited options to obtain a good education and few opportunities to re-enter the formal public system. The project aims to overhaul the alternative education system, while keeping as many children as possible in the formal system.

The AEPs offer a condensed course. Work done by BRAC, the international NGO, has shown that accelerated programs of this kind can be successful in Tanzania.  BRAC has worked with the government on a program that introduces life skills components covering general health and hygiene; sexual and reproductive health; HIV, sexual abuse, and discrimination; and rights and negotiation skills. The program has shown positive results, raising pass rates in national examinations as well as lowering rates of early marriage and pregnancy among participating adolescent girls. The project will build on this success, review the curriculum and teaching materials, and use best practices from other countries to further strengthen the AEPs. SEQUIP will also include an impact evaluation of the scale-up of AEPs to allow for adaptation or improvements if needed.

4. How will SEQUIP enable girls to continue their education and re-enter public school?

AEPs allow secondary school dropouts to complete their education, sit for national school examinations, and re-enter the public school system either in Form 5 (upper secondary) or in post-secondary education courses (after Form 6), including college, university, and technical and vocational education. Without these pathways, dropouts have few options to continue their education.

SEQUIP includes strong incentives to help ensure that girls enrolled in AEPs return to the public education system. Substantial project funds (US$80 million equivalent – Disbursement-Linked Indicators 1 and 2, see below) are tied to results to expand access and improve the quality of AEPs, as well as to help ensure that girls re-enter the public education system at the start of the next cycle.

The government has reaffirmed that pregnant girls who enroll in AEP can sit for national secondary school examinations. Once they pass, they will be eligible to enroll in the next cycle of the public school system similar to children who undertook their education in public or private schools. The government’s commitment is included in the Project’s Environmental and Social Commitment Plan (ESCP). This plan, part of the project’s legal agreement, sets out the material measures and actions required for the project to comply with the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) over a specified time frame and in a manner satisfactory to the Bank.

5. On gender-based violence (GBV), how is SEQUIP approaching prevention and response?

The World Bank strongly condemns violence against women and girls and has worked intensively over the last several years to develop and implement stronger tools and standards for GBV. This agenda has high-level institutional support and is embodied in policy commitments under IDA18 and IDA19, in the World Bank Group’s Gender Strategy, in our lending operations, and our policy dialogue. The Bank will continue to work with global and local partners to ensure that girls and boys, as well as women and men have the ability to achieve their full potential, free from fear and violence.

Specific measures to address and prevent GBV are integrated into the design of SEQUIP through:

  • Implementing a Safe Schools Program (SSP) to reduce violence in schools. The program is based on the successful experience from NGOs in Tanzania (e.g., CAMFED - Campaign for Girls Education and Raising Voices – an NGO that has supported over 50,000 marginalized girls in secondary schools in Tanzania). It introduces (i) trained school guidance counsellors; (ii) positive discipline methods to help teachers manage classes in a calm and respectful way rather than resorting to corporal punishment; (iii) training of school staff and local communities on school management, teacher codes of conduct, and methods to ensure safety to/from school; (iv) strengthened grievance redress mechanisms; and (v) a student life skills program.
  • Expanding the secondary school network and bringing schools closer to communities to reduce the distance travelled and the risk of GBV on the way to school.
  • Strengthening grievance redress mechanisms at the school and local government levels to provide a safe space for cases to be reported
  • Increasing capacity to address GBV by hiring a GBV expert for the government’s Project Coordination Team and support to local government authorities on reducing GBV with training, supervision, and monitoring activities
  • Developing a secondary education GBV response and prevention plan for all activities associated with the project. This will include strengthened grievance redress mechanisms that are required to be in place prior to commencement of project-related activities.

Addressing teenage pregnancy and associated stigma

The Safe Schools Program (SSP) under SEQUIP will, among other activities, include modules for boys and girls on sexual and reproductive health and issues associated with adolescent pregnancy and young motherhood. It will be rolled out in public schools as well as in AEPs.

The SSP will also include community engagement/outreach, based on pilots implemented by the Campaign for Girls Education (CAMFED), which have helped to reduce stigma for pregnant girls by improving sensitization in schools and strengthening community engagement.

Involuntary pregnancy testing in schools

The government has publicly confirmed there is no policy or regulation obligating, expecting or encouraging schools to carry out pregnancy tests. Nevertheless, this is known to be a practice that takes place in public, private, and faith-based schools. The World Bank believes that involuntary pregnancy testing contradicts the spirit of an inclusive and safe learning environment and has communicated this position emphatically to the government.  For its part, the government has agreed to assess the prevalence of pregnancy testing and develop an approach to address this practice. The Safe Schools Program (SSP) will support this approach by creating a safe learning environment by encouraging teachers, students, and parents, with the support of the school administration, to improve their schools’ operational culture, including the issue of involuntary pregnancy testing. The World Bank will work with other development partners to advocate a halt to all involuntary pregnancy testing in schools in Tanzania.

6. Which stakeholders were consulted during SEQUIP’s design and preparation?

Engagement and consultations with key stakeholders were conducted throughout the design and re-design process over the last 2.5 years.  They have contributed to all aspects of the project, including the disbursement-linked indicators. Consultations included:

  • Discussions with leading NGOs who support girls’ education and girls’/women’s rights and who work with pregnant girls and young mothers.
  • Discussions on teacher education and ICT skills with organizations including the Christian Social Service Commission, Mastercard Foundation, Avanti (IT company), Mathematics Association of Tanzania, Tanzania Association of Private Investors in Education, and Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-Government Schools and Colleges.
  • Formal consultations on the project’s Environmental and Social Framework were held in Singida, Manyara, and the Coast region, as well as in Mbulu district with 190 stakeholders. Participants included representatives from women’s groups, community-based organizations, and organizations representing people with disabilities. Of these participants, 36 percent were women, 64 percent men, and 45 percent from vulnerable groups; 42 of the 190 participants identified themselves as CSO representatives.
  • Broader consultations have also been carried out by the World Bank with vulnerable groups identified in the Vulnerable Groups Planning Framework and Stakeholder Engagement Plan, including hunter-gatherer and pastoralist communities, and the LGBT community.

7. Will there be further engagement with nongovernmental stakeholders during implementation?

To establish regular engagement on the project, and to proactively explain its objective, design, and anticipated results, the government has committed to co-hosting with the World Bank a stakeholder forum for SEQUIP after Board approval and as soon as practical, considering the current constraints caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Consultations will continue throughout the project cycle. The first year of implementation will focus on developing strategies and implementation plans that will depend on further civil society and stakeholder input. The project will establish new mechanisms and strengthen existing ones to ensure active and meaningful citizen engagement. These are documented in the Project’s Stakeholder Engagement Plan and included as part of the government’s Environmental and Social Commitment Plan for the Project. They include:

  • Inclusion of key non-governmental organizations, including education and women’s organizations, in project design and implementation. It is expected that the government will procure support from local nongovernmental institutions, particularly for the Safe Schools Program, AEP, and ICT components.
  • Environmental and Social Framework commitments. Agreed processes will ensure that the project follows the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework: the project includes reviews and Bank clearance of annual work plans as well as independent verification to ensure that the ESF requirements, including stakeholder consultation, are adhered to.
  • Citizen engagement. The project includes several mechanisms to encourage citizen engagement and feedback. Under Component 1, the Safe Schools Program will establish parent-teacher associations and strengthen existing secondary school boards. These will provide a regular forum for parents and other local leaders to raise issues around project interventions for the attention and action of school leadership, ward education officers, and school quality assurance officers. Citizen engagement will also be a central component of the overall SSP approach, which aims to strengthen engagement between schools, local communities, and parents. Under Component 2, the outreach to support dropouts, schools, and AEP centers will actively engage with parents of dropouts to facilitate access to further educational opportunities. Component 4 of the project also includes an information and communications plan, as well as consultations to ensure that citizens have access to project information and can provide feedback.
  • Annual Joint Education Sector Review. Tanzania’s education sector has a well-established Annual Joint Education Sector Review process that includes visits to schools across the country and provides an opportunity for citizens, civil society organizations, development partners, and other stakeholders to raise issues to the government about primary and secondary education. These reviews will also feed into the annual review of project progress and inform its annual work plans.

8. How will SEQUIP be monitored?

The project has several mechanisms to monitor and track implementation activities and results. These include:

Independent verification of Project results

The project has a results-based design, with 96 percent (US$480 million equivalent) of funds disbursed only after agreed results have been achieved and verified, and the government provides evidence satisfactory to the World Bank that it has spent an equivalent amount on eligible expenditures. Verification is carried out by an independent body selected on strict criteria and subject to World Bank approval following approaches used in many other Bank-supported projects around the world. The Bank will withhold disbursements if results have not been satisfactorily achieved.  Moreover, all project-related activities will be included in Annual Work Plans that will require adherence to the Bank’s Environment and Social Framework (ESF) guidelines and prior approval by the Bank. The remaining 4 percent (US$20 million) of the project will support monitoring and evaluation activities and will be subject to the Bank’s procurement guidelines.

The Independent Verification Agent (IVA) will be hired under terms of reference agreed with the World Bank. The agent’s selection will follow Bank procurement guidelines, which ensure that credible international and national organizations, including CSOs, are able to submit a tender. The project’s legal agreement also stipulates that the IVA must be in place within three months of project effectiveness. As in all operations, the World Bank will ensure that these processes are followed and that the application and selection process are transparent and fair according to Bank procurement guidelines. If the World Bank is not satisfied with the IVA chosen or the process followed during selection, the Bank would object, and the procurement process will be reinitiated.

The World Bank currently has six results-based projects in its Tanzania portfolio that use independent verification agents. For example, a project currently under implementation in basic education has a credible independent verification agent that is respected by the government and development partners (World Bank, the United Kingdom, Sweden). A similar approach will be followed under SEQUIP.

Well-functioning grievance redress mechanisms (GRMs)

The government has committed to work immediately on strengthening existing GRMs to ensure they are in place prior to the commencement of project activities.

Tanzania already has established GRMs, but these are being expanded and improved under SEQUIP to ensure that there are credible mechanisms for all stakeholders to engage and lodge complaints or concerns during project implementation. SEQUIP documentation (e.g., the Project Appraisal Document, Environmental and Social Management Framework, and Stakeholder Engagement Plan) outlines key areas for improvement. These include:

  • Strengthening mechanisms to ensure that GBV-related grievances are dealt with appropriately and confidentially by ensuring that only non-identifiable data is recorded and by treating survivors with empathy.
  • Improved central monitoring of all GRM cases, including the number of grievances lodged and the actions taken to resolve cases.

The project will maintain a database and activity file detailing all public consultation, disclosure of information, and grievances collected and resolved throughout the project’s duration, which will be available for public review on request. Citizen engagement will also be periodically evaluated by the Project Coordination Team to ensure that appropriate actions are taken on the feedback received from beneficiaries.

Project Coordination Team

The government will establish a Project Coordination Team with the required expertise to monitor and supervise all technical, fiduciary, environmental, and social aspects of the project. In addition, an Implementation Support Team will be hired by the government to ensure appropriate supervision and monitoring of the project in each local government authority. The government is also obligated to prepare:

  • Financial Reports. The recipient must prepare and furnish interim unaudited financial reports not later than 45 days after the end of each calendar semester.
  • Audits (undertaken by Controller and Auditor General’s office). Each audit of the financial statements must cover the period of one fiscal year. The audited financial statements for each such period must be furnished to the World Bank not later than six months after the end of each period.

World Bank Supervision

In addition to continuous implementation support from staff based in Tanzania, the World Bank will conduct formal and regular implementation support missions to monitor progress, update the project’s comprehensive results framework, and review results and independent verification reports. The outcome of these missions, including progress on achieving disbursement-linked indicators, will be reported in publicly disclosed Implementation Status and Results Reports.

Joint Government, World Bank, and Civil Society review of project results

The government and the World Bank have agreed to establish a joint government, World Bank and civil society mechanism to strengthen stakeholder and citizen engagement in the World Bank-supported portfolio in Tanzania. For SEQUIP, the government and the Bank will use this mechanism to engage civil society organizations in Tanzania to review the project’s results and how they were achieved.

9. Why was the financing for SEQUIP increased?

The estimated project finance has been adjusted from a preliminary estimate of US$300 million to US$500 million, largely due to:

  • An increase in the number of children projected to enroll in secondary education over the lifetime of the project. The number of students reaching the end of primary school continues to increase, and the delay in project approval means that there will be more children enrolling in secondary school by the project’s end. Government projections show that approximately 300,000 additional children will be enrolling in secondary school in the redesigned SEQUIP versus the original SEQUIP, which was due to start implementation in 2018. The increase in students has made key project results harder to achieve and led to an increase in financing.
  • Inclusion of an additional component in the project to support expansion and strengthening of alternative education pathways (AEPs) to help level the playing field between formal public education and AEP students. It also reflects several other additional activities as detailed in the Project Appraisal Document to provide greater support to children at risk of dropping out.

Thus, the total additional cost to achieve SEQUIP’s desired results is estimated to be US$2.6 billion. With US$500 million, IDA will provide 19 percent of this required funding, with the rest coming from the government.

10. When will funds for SEQUIP be disbursed?

No disbursements will be made under the project until it is declared effective. It can only become effective when a detailed Project Operations Manual (POM) is prepared by the government and is reviewed and cleared by the World Bank. Given the relative complexity of the SEQUIP Project, this preparation work is expected to be completed by late 2020, as several aspects of the POM will take time to develop, including the design and approval of project GRM mechanisms, additional building standards for construction-related activities, and the terms of reference for the Implementation Support Team.

Of the project funds, 96 percent (US$480 million) are subject to (a) achievement of agreed results verified by an Independent Verification Agent subject to the World Bank’s approval; and (b) submission of evidence that the government has already spent an equivalent amount on eligible expenditures in the secondary education sector. Assuming that these conditions are met each year, the disbursement schedule, is as follows:

  • FY 2021 - US$72.47 million
  • FY 2022 - US$101.10 million
  • FY 2023 - US$114.73 million
  • FY 2024 - US$98.52 million
  • FY 2025 - US$85.37 million
  • FY 2026 - US$27.81 million

11. What are the milestones that have to be reached for disbursements?

The five-year SEQUIP operation will help address the demand for quality secondary education with any disbursement of funds linked to clearly defined, measurable, and independently verified indicators, the so-called disbursement linked indicators (DLIs) that are organized under four components:

Component 1: Empowering girls through secondary education and life skills (US$ 180 million equivalent). The project aims to improve access to safe secondary education opportunities in schools and alternative education centers and to help girls continue and complete their secondary schooling, with the aim of helping 900,000 more girls attend secondary school. Interventions under this component include:

  • Implementing a Safe Schools Program in 2,000 schools to reduce violence.
  • Helping girls who become pregnant access recognized, quality alternative education pathways to obtain lower secondary certification and continue their secondary education or post-secondary education in the school of their choice.
  • Reducing the distance between home and school, supporting initiatives for safe passage to school, and raising community awareness to lower the risks of sexual violence at school and on trips to and from school.
  • Creating a gender-sensitive, learner-friendly school environment by (a) introducing trained teacher guidance counselors and life skills training in all schools, including on reproductive health; (b) sensitizing parents’ associations as well as the broader community on safe school passage and the value of education; and (c) actively monitoring students at risk of dropping out.

The Project will help the government achieve these results through a set of disbursement linked indicators (DLIs) that aim to improve access to safe secondary education opportunities in schools and alternative education centers and to support girls in continuing and completing their secondary schooling.

Disbursement Linked Indicators

US$, millions

Component 1: Empowering Girls through Secondary Education and Life Skills


DLI 1: Percentage of female secondary school dropouts completing alternative education pathways Form 4 (Stage 2)


DLI 2: Percentage of alternative education pathway females enrolling in Form 5 and other post-secondary education


DLI 3: Number of government schools implementing the Safe School Program to support girls


DLI 4: Females/girls enrolled in Form 5 in government schools


DLI 5: Strengthening information systems and incentives to prevent dropouts and support transfers to and from AEPs


Component 2: Digitally-enabled effective teaching and learning (US$ 115 million equivalent). The project will introduce digital technology to facilitate math and science teaching and improve learning and teacher efficiency. It also aims to improve the quality of secondary school teaching and learning environments by:

  • Hiring up to 30,000 additional math and science teachers;
  • Providing adequate numbers of textbooks in core subjects; and
  • Introducing regular in-service training for all math and science teachers.

The project will help the government achieve these results through a set of DLIs that aim to improve teaching and learning in secondary education by providing continuous professional development opportunities for teachers, ensuring the schools have adequate teachers and teaching and learning materials, rolling out a digital education package, and introducing a Form 3 national learning evaluation.

Disbursement Linked Indicators

US$, millions

Component 2: Digitally-Enabled Effective Teaching and Learning


DLI 6: Improvement in classroom teaching practice in government secondary schools through regular in-service teacher training


DLI 7: Percentage of government secondary schools with mathematics and science teachers deployed in line with national standards


DLI 8: Secondary schools under each local government authority achieving minimum standards for mathematics and science teaching and learning materials


DLI 9: Number of government schools implementing ICT Program


DLI 10: Form 3 national learning evaluation conducted


Component 3: Reducing barriers to girls’ education by facilitating access to secondary schools (US$ 185 million equivalent).
The project will support government efforts to expand the number of secondary school places, reduce the distance between a student’s home and school, and ensure that schools offer safe and good-quality learning environments. This component will also ensure that adequate funding is available as secondary schooling enrollment expands.

The project will help the government achieve these results through a set of DLIs that aim to enhance infrastructure standards in secondary schools and to ensure adequate funding of key inputs as secondary schooling expands.

Disbursement Linked Indicators

US$, millions

Component 3: Reducing Barriers to Girls’ Education by Facilitating Access to Secondary Schools


DLI 11: Percentage of secondary schools under each local government authority achieving minimum infrastructure standards


DLI 12: Total level of biannually released funds per agreed Program Budget Framework


Component 4: Project coordination, monitoring, and evaluation (US$ 20 million equivalent). This component will provide support to reinforce existing capacity, inform education planning and policy decision-making, and support implementation of key project activities. Parent-teacher associations and school boards will be trained for close tracking of and support to at-risk students, especially girls.