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Document Abstract
Published: 2004

Cost sharing and participation in higher education in Sub Saharan Africa: the case of Tanzania

Has cost sharing increased access to higher education in Tanzania?
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This paper, presented at the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge (Paris, 2004), examines the Tanzanian government's reintroduction of a higher education cost sharing policy. One of the principle objectives of the policy, and the main focus of this paper, is expanding access to and participation in higher education. Student admission and enrolement rates, together with their socio-economic statuses and religious affiliations, were use to determine whether or not the policy has really expanded access to and participation in higher education to all segments of Tanzanian society as envisaged.

The paper finds that:

  • the implementation of cost sharing through revenue diversification and privately sponsored or fee paying students at the University of Dar es Salaam has had very little impact on improving access/participation in higher education
  • the contribution of the private higher education sector to achieving the policy objectives is almost negligible
  • there is a disproportional representation of children from upper and middle class families at the University of Dar es Salaam and in other public higher education institutions implying no improved access to the poor
  • higher socio-economic status influences admission/enrolment into prestigious, high private return degree programs such as medicine, computer science, engineering and law
  • other inequalities in access to higher education exist on the grounds of religious affiliation.

The above findings seem to negate any meaningful impact of cost sharing in higher education on expanded access.

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J.M. Ishengoma

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