As Tanzania approaches its 11th election as an independent state in 2010, an intelligent, confident citizenry is critical for the maintenance of its democracy. Civics education, along with other environmental influences, is the formal tool to provide young people with the knowledge and skill sets vital towards becoming productive members of this citizenry.
This study is an examination of the conceptions of democracy and civic action held by Form 3 secondary students in urban Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Borrowing the survey instrument from the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement's 1999 Civic Education Study, the research focuses on students from four schools in the Ilala district of Dar es Salaam. The classroom environment and continuing teacher support are taken into consideration while discussing possible influences on the development of students as citizens.
While urban Tanzanian students still place heavy emphasis on "traditional‟ conceptions of democracy and political action, such as voting, there is reason to believe this generation is becoming more supportive of the rise of opposition parties, critical political debate and other forms of direct political action. Students also frequently use different forms of media, both in English and Kiswahili, to gain access to news stories and current events. It is the hope of the researcher that the novel data and results presented in this thesis can become a baseline dataset which can be expanded upon and explored further through future research, both quantitative and qualitative in nature.