Pastoral Maasai’s Perceptions of the Value of Education and Completion Rates in Primary School in Longido District, Tanzania


  • Cecilia P. Swai


Compulsory education, Completion rate, Value, Perception, Pastoral Maasai, Primary school


This article aims to reveal the progress of attaining compulsory primary school education among the pastoral Maasai community. It explored the perceptions of the pastoral Maasai of the value and completion rate of primary education in Longido District. The study adopted a social justice theory, which stress equal opportunities to cater for the needs of the disadvantaged members of the society. A qualitative approach and case study design was used to allow an in-depth understanding of pastoral Maasai perceptions and completion rate.  A total of 35 participants were involved in the study. Face to face semi-structured interview, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and documentary review were used in the data collection process. The findings revealed that the pastoral Maasai had several negative perceptions of the value of primary education. This made them to attribute   higher priority to herding livestock than education. The Pastoral Maasai associated the impacts of formal education with cultural alienation and loss of labour power. The study results showed that in some of the sampled schools, the completion rates were low as more than fifty percent of the pupils who were enrolled in Grade One in the year 2008 dropped out from the school before completing the primary school education cycle due to the value attached to education. The study calls for pastoralists’ role models who have benefited from education to organize sensitization campaigns to each individuals, family and pastoral society on the value of primary school education.  

Author Biography

Cecilia P. Swai

Dar Es Salaam University College of Education