The financial burden of a fee free primary education on rural livelihoods–a case study from rural Iringa Region, Tanzania

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This article explores the financial dilemma from a household level perspective of paying for primary education in Tanzania. In 2001, the primary education fee was abolished in a serious attempt to achieve free universal primary education. By eliminating what was perceived as the main obstacle for reaching education for all, the enrollment rates were expected to increase. However, the schools themselves are unable to manage with the government’s capitation grant only and in order to cope with increasing enrollment rates, households are asked for contributions to cover the expenses of school supplies, food and administrative costs. Based on fieldwork in Iringa Region, this article shows that education today is the main expenditure item for the majority of rural families. Despite a striking difference in housing standard and welfare between the three villages covered by the study, the data indicate a consistent outcome: education, even ‘free’ primary education is expensive in the rural context and families spend a large proportion of their income in order to secure a future of their children. Unlike previous research, children are not found to be withdrawn from school in order to help households with farming or domestic work.


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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Kulturgeografi


Sidor (från-till)26-36
Antal sidor11
TidskriftDevelopment Studies Research
StatusPublished - 2018
Peer review utfördJa