Schooling in Africa: Costs weigh heavily on attendance
Governments need to make greater efforts on their fee-free education policy
The latest results from studies carried out by IIEP (over the period 2009-2010) on household spending for education and fee-free education in Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Kenya and Tanzania, reveal the many challenges still faced by governments within the context of Education For All (EFA).
Education spending considered too great a burden
Research shows that many parents (often the poorest) experience severe difficulties in meeting the costs of schooling for their children. Contributions to Parents Associations, the cost of textbooks and school supplies, along with the cost of canteen meals, travel and school uniforms ... are all expenses that are pushing poor households to choose to keep their children at home, or even to withdraw them from school.
Poorly run free education policies
It is also clear from studies that fee-free education policies are not well planned or managed effectively enough to promote mass education and contribute to quality education. Often fee-free education does not apply to all schools and does not cover all expenditures. States are struggling to cope with the massive enrollment of children who wish to benefit from "free education" - resulting in overcrowded classes, unqualified teachers, insufficient textbooks … and a deterioration in the quality of education.
However, fee-free education policies themselves are not under question. On the contrary, it is necessary to pursue them while better managing the flow of students as well as increasing state budgets for education.
Presentations of findings in Ouagadougou
The results were presented at a seminar organized by IIEP held from 18 to 24 October 2010 in Ouagadougou, with the support of Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Basic Education and Literacy and the Ministry of Secondary and Higher Education and Scientific Research. More than 60 high-level participants from 13 countries in West Africa, Central Africa, and Portuguese-speaking Africa, and experts from Burkina Faso and IIEP were present to discuss the research findings.
Press articles from Burkina Faso on the seminar :
The overall results of these studies will be published as separate monographs on education finance and will be available soon on IIEP's website.