Open University of Tanzania

PROVIDING AFFORDABLE quality education through various distance-learning media is the main focus of this university. Established in 1992, the institution became operational a year later. Following  re-accreditation in 2006, the current Open University of Tanzania Charter came into effect in 2007.

Realising that important markets for its educational programmes are to be found in neighbouring African countries as well as in Tanzania itself, the university, which has its headquarters in Dar es Salaam, has established a total of 27 regional centres throughout the country (including Zanzibar), but significantly in towns close to Tanzania’s international borders.

Strategic regional centres exist in Arusha and Moshi in northern Tanzania to serve students in Kenya; in Mwanza and Kageya on the southern shores of Lake Victoria to serve students in Uganda; in Bukoba on the western shores of the lake to cater for students from Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda; in Mbeya in the southwest to cater for students from Zambia; and in Mtwara on the southeastern coast to attract students from northern Mozambique and the Indian Ocean islands.

Currently, the majority of students still come from Tanzania, with a few hundred coming from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo. Courses are offered through the following faculties: Arts and Social Sciences; Education; Science, Technology and Environmental Studies; Law; Business Management; and through two institutes, one of Continuing Education and another devoted to Educational Technology.

Approximately 22 000 undergraduate students are currently enrolled, with 4 164 postgraduate students, the majority of whom are engaged in Masters programmes.

The delivery of programmes is via a variety of means: print media, telecasting, postal communication, and increasingly, thanks to funding and technical support from Sweden, via e-learning and other computer-based technologies. Each regional centre provides facilities for seminars, face-to-face contact programmes, mini-libraries, PC labs and student support.

Facts and Figures at a Glance1

Due to the nature of the Open University system, all 5,176 students are distance students, all of whom are from Tanzania. (actual data, 2006). These students are spread as follows:

Table 1: Open University of Tanzania - Summary of Enrolment Numbers (Actual data, 2006)


Number of students enrolled per level of study

Major Field of Study

Total Number of Students (Headcount)

Under- graduate degree/ diploma Post-graduate degree/ diploma Masters Degree Doctoral Degree
Science, Engineering & Technology 416 415 0 1 0
Business, Management & Law 1,497 1,106 34 357 0
Humanities and Social Sciences 2,068 1,946 66 53 3
Other (Institute of Continuing Education) 1,195 1,195 0 0 0
TOTALS 5,176 4,662 100 411 3

Source: Open University of Tanzania questionnaire response

Table 2: Open University of Tanzania: Academic and Research staff (Actual data, 2007)

Major Field Of Study

Total Number (headcount)

Science, Engineering & Technology 55
Business, Management & Law 42
Humanities and Social Sciences 109

Source: Open University of Tanzania questionnaire response

[1] All data presented in this section is headcount data.