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Public and private funding of basic education in Zambia : implications of budgetary allocations for service delivery
 
Author:Das, Jishnu; Dercon, Stefan; Habyarimana, James; Krishnan, Pramila; Collection Title:Africa Region Human Development working paper series ; no. 62Africa education country status report
Country:Zambia; Date Stored:2004/06/08
Document Date:2004/01/01Document Type:Working Paper (Numbered Series)
Language:EnglishMajor Sector:Education
Region:AfricaReport Number:29085
SubTopics:Primary Education; Teaching and Learning; Gender and Education; Economic Adjustment and Lending; Agricultural Knowledge and Information SystemsVolume No:1 of 1

Summary: This report presents findings from a survey of 182 primary (grades 1-7) and basic (grades 1-9) schools carried out in Zambia in 2002. It describes and analyzes resource flows to these schools from three sources: rule-based funding from the center, discretionary funding from district and provincial education offices, and household spending on education. Rule-based funds reached schools exactly as earmarked. The rule-based component of funding was highly progressive, as the same amount was disbursed to all schools irrespective of enrollment. Since small schools tend to have poorer student bodies, the rule-based allocation per pupil translated to more funding for poorer students. Discretionary funds, controlled by the province and district education offices, reached only 25 percent of schools. The discretionary funds were wealth neutral. Even shares were distributed to schools with poor and nonpoor students. Household educational expenditures show that nonfee expenditures by the family are seven times the corresponding expenditure on fees, making them the main source of inequalities in private expenditure. Once private expenditure is factored into the analysis, the nonprogressive nature of the public education funding system worsens: the share of educational expenditures for the poorest 50 percent of the population declines from 40 to 34 percent. Furthermore, when examining substitution between private expenditures and public funding, there is strong evidence that households decrease expenditures when public funding increases. Although public funding could address inequalities in educational spending with progressive allocation across villages and schools, the desired impact of such redistributions may be less than imagined due to the crowding-out of private expenditures. The report suggests that increases in funding may not be the optimal way to improve educational attainment. It might be more beneficial to concentrate instead on providing inputs that households cannot supply on their own, such as high quality teachers.

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