During the past decade, Tanzania has made major advances in improving access to Basic Education. The Education Sector Reviews of 2006 and 2007 recorded significant achievements in enrolment, school infrastructure and the provision of teaching and learning materials. However, such increase hardly materialised for learners with disabilities and other vulnerable learners, and drop-out and repetition rates remained high. There is an observed tension between quantity and quality in education whereby quantity has been prioritised over quality.
The international goals of Education for All, or even Universal Primary Education as expressed in Millennium Development Goals, are unlikely to be reached unless more efforts and resources are put in place in order to develop schools to become more responsive to the needs of learners and teachers. Inclusive education, as expressed in many Education Sector documents as a means to reach out to vulnerable learners, including those with disabilities, will need to be inculcated in all policies, practices and cultures throughout Education, and schools and other education programmes need be proactive in reaching out to those children, youths and adults who are out of education provision or who are not achieving their potential. Teacher education has to be greatly developed both in quality and quantity to make it possible for the growing number of children to receive education that adequately cater for their needs.
It is against this background that there is a need for a cohesive strategy across Education Sector which lays foundation for an exploration of factors that inhibit presence, participation and learning. The National Strategy on Inclusive Education outlines strategic areas of action from existing Education Sector policies and programmes that need to be reinforced and consolidated so as to provide access to quality education to all children with an emphasis on children with disabilities.
The National Strategy on Inclusive Education adopts the following definition for inclusive education: