Education in Zanzibar comprises of the early childhood care, the primary education, secondary education and higher education at University level that may span from three to four years as dictated by the nature of the educational discipline. The early childhood care has become an important educational institution offering children religious as well as basic reading and writing skills through either private or community involvements. After the pre-school care, a typical first degree graduate in Zanzibar usually had gone through the 7-3-2-2-3 system as follows:
- seven years of primary education
- three years of first cycle lower secondary education
- two years of second cycle lower secondary education
- two years of advanced secondary education, and
- three years or more of higher education.
Primary and secondary education
The primary and secondary education are provided free by public schools but a number of private schools have lately been introduced into the educational system. The first ten years are compulsory but further education is competitive and special examinations are instituted by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Zanzibar for the case of promotion into the second cycle of secondary education or the National Examination Council of Tanzania for the case of promotion into advanced secondary and higher education.
Schools offering primary and lower secondary education in Zanzibar are many and can be easily accessible to students in all districts. However, those offering advanced secondary education are few and are mostly found in Unguja Island. They are:
- Fidel Castro Secondary School
- Karume Technical College
- Lumumba Secondary School
Upon completion of advanced secondary education, students may directly apply for admission into the institutes of higher learning, which for a long time were univerisities located on the mainland of Tanzania, or continute with post-secondary education in Zanzibar, mainland Tanzania or abroad. In Zanzibar, a number of institutions offer post-secondary education. They include:
- Institute of Kiswahili and Foreign Languages (ISFL)
- The Nkrummah Teacher Training College (NTTC)
- College of Health Sciences
- College of Agriculture
- College of Hotel and Tourism Management
For a long time, Zanzibar did not have a institutions of higher learning of its own since higher education was under the juridisiction of the Unioun Government and so students pursuing higher education were mostly attending universities such as University of Dar-es-Salam, Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, Muhimbili Medical University, and Sokoine University of Agriculture or various other institutes offering tertiary education available on mailand Tanzania.
Recently, one public- and two private universities (Zanzibar University and the Chukwani College of Education) have been established in Zanzibar. The two private universities were established in the late nineties following the liberalization of the educational sector in Zanzibar. The State University of Zanzibar (SUZA), which is the only public higher learning institution, was established in 2003 by inheriting the buildings formerly used by the Institute of Kiswahili and Foreign Languages.
Zanzibar University is located at Tunguu, about 19 kilometers from Zanzibar town centre on the road heading to the southern parts of Unguja island. It
offers programmes in Business Administration, Law, Arts and Social Sciences. In cooperation with Euro-African Management Research Centre (E-AMARC) based in Maastricht, The Netherlands, a centre for Small Business Development has been established that provides consultancies, skill training and research.
Zanzibar College of Education is located at Chukwani, about 13 kilometers from Zanzibar town centre and to the west of Zanzibar airport. It offers programmes in islamic studies and education. The efforts to exapand it to offer other disciplines of education on History, Geography and Pure Science (Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics) are on the way.