Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Research

First Advisor



As Tanzania celebrates fifty years of independence at the crossroads of globalization, the country has experienced a changing landscape and a major transformation in higher learning education with spectacular expansion in student enrollment rates. This requires its higher education institutions, particularly universities, to function effectively as a source of knowledge and to serve as an important partner in sustainable development by promoting effective teaching, research and service in Tanzania.

To understand the pace of globalization and the multitude of social challenges that have faced Tanzania higher education since 1961, how the policies and practices of higher education have evolved over time and to what extent the international and national contexts have affected the development of policies and practices in higher education, I reviewed and analyzed documentary materials relating to higher education in Tanzania from 1961 to the present. These materials included university archives, government records, journals and newspapers. I also identified university administrators and faculty members currently employed or retired, and conducted in-depth interviews with them to ascertain their perspectives regarding transformations in higher education and its relationship to the current policy needs of the Tanzanian people.

To gain a deeper understanding of the situation of the Tanzania higher learning institution fifty years after independence, I studied two large urban universities, namely Mzumbe University and the University of Dar es Salaam. My goal was to discover how university representatives see the university functioning in the current socio-economic and educational climate when the country celebrates the Golden Jubilee of independence. This study found that Tanzanians are increasingly enrolling in higher learning institutions to become skilled and knowledgeable and to function effectively in society and global community. However, higher education is still confronted with alarming challenges and difficulties relating to poor recruitment and retention of qualified teaching staff, poor financing, gender inequality, low quality of teaching and learning, relevance of academic programs, and poor learning outcomes.

Some of the recommendations from the study include investing more financial resources in teaching and learning facilities; increasing the allocation of funds for R&D to cater to the country's research priorities, such as agriculture, education and health; developing a relevant and inclusive curriculum that espouses gender equity and equality of disadvantaged groups such as people with disabilities; developing multiple assessment tools based on a student-centered approach rather than an examination- oriented approach; developing strategies to attract experts and professors living abroad through improving working conditions, good governance and compensation; and finally conducting sensitization and public outreach programs to increase political awareness of and commitment to higher education through improved planning and the implementation and evaluation of the higher education system.