Tanzania abolished school fees in primary schools as from 2002. This move was made possible because of shifts in the policy of major donors, not least the World Bank. In the subsequent years Tanzania recorded a rapid increase in enrolment rates. It is generally argued that fees in primary education turn away children from school, but researchers disagree on the relative importance of this effect.

In this paper we use this case of policy reform to study the role of research. Was this an example of evidence-based policy making? If so, where did the evidence come from? Our main focus is on the role of national researchers and national research.

This paper argues that research has particular problems in becoming relevant and
used in this system.

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