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The objective of this paper is to visualize what basic education is. To provide a focus to the paper, from 1997-2003, 198 primary seven leavers from Nachingwea and Tandahimba districts in the southern regions of Tanzania were sampled. Six simple questions from six conventional primary school subjects (Kiswahili, English, Geography, History, Science and Mathematics) were answered by sampled participants. The findings have revealed results which give signs of partial attainment of basic education among primary seven leavers in Tanzania. Basic education is in line with the idea of Education for All a movement spearheaded by UNESCO. Partial attainment of basic education among developing countries is challenged by a number of issues. But that partial attainment is pioneered by lack of sound educational policies on basic education. There is need therefore of educational goals/objectives to be directed to developing capabilities, and synchronize all ideas and activities to teacher education, curricula/syllabi, teaching and learning materials, type of assessments/examinations as well as putting into consideration issues arising in the global village. All in all, educators need exceptional attention in this movement. In a sentence, basic education is not about mastery of the 3Rs per se, but also the incorporation of the attainment of life skills capable of allowing one to make a living. In that respect, planning of basic education should involve the efforts of different stakeholders.
Key words: Basic education, education for all, educational policies, teacher education, teaching, learning materials, and mastery of the 3Rs.