Contextualizing the quality of primary education in urban and rural settings: The case of Iringa Region, Tanzania

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The purpose of the article is to discuss the term ‘quality’ in relation to primary education in Tanzania, and to contextualize quality and identify the premises for obtaining quality in primary school education in rural and urban settings. To understand opinions about the quality of education and the current situation in primary schools, the author conducted interviews with teachers and focus group discussions with parents and caregivers in Iringa town and three villages in Iringa Region. The findings indicate a general consensus, regardless of geographical setting, that quality in primary education is primarily measurable through national exams. However, surrounding circumstances such as infrastructure and poverty have a great impact on the quality of education in rural primary schools. Lack of water and electricity, and poor transport networks have consequences for schooling by limiting children’s, parents’, and teachers’ access to school supplies and limiting the ability of officials to carry out monitoring activities. The author concludes that the premises for providing and receiving education vary to a great extent, depending on geographical setting, and favour urban youths with respect to their further education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-247
JournalNorsk Geografisk Tidsskrift
Issue number4
Early online date2018 Jul 16
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Pedagogy


  • educational quality
  • Iringa Region
  • rural–urban conditions
  • Tanzania
  • universal primary education


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