Barriers to Prison Education: A Tanzanian Perspective


  • Mohamed Salum Msoroka
  • Brian Findsen
  • Jo Barnes



This article discusses the barriers to prison education from a Tanzanian perspective. The paper addresses one major research question, “What are the barriers to prison education in the Tanzanian context?”. This qualitative study employed a multiple-case study design, which involved 51 participants, including 28 inmates, six (6) inmate-teachers, 14 prison officers from five prisons, two (2) representatives from the Institute of Adult Education and a District Adult Education Officer. The data were mainly collected through individual and focus group interviews. Focus Group Interviews were employed to collect information from some inmates who were available in groups. Data from the rest of the participants, including some inmates, were collected through Individual Interviews. Thematic analysis was used to process the data. The study found two main categories of barriers – the prison and imprisonment situation and dispositional – that inhibited participation in prison education. The findings suggest that most prisoners were affected by the barriers associated with the “prison and imprisonment situation”; a few were affected by dispositional barriers. It is suggested here that Tanzania should do more to improve prisoners’ access to education in tune with global tendencies to widen participation amid marginalised populations.

Author Biographies

Mohamed Salum Msoroka

The Open University of Tanzania

Brian Findsen

University of Waikato

Jo Barnes

University of Waikato