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CIES 2017: The Equity Implications of Household Contributions to Education (Group Panel)

  • Sheraton Atlanta, 1, Capitol Center (North Tower) 165 Courtland Street Northeast Atlanta, GA, 30303 United States (map)

Discussant: Nicholas Burnett, Results for Development InstituteDescription


  • Financing education equity: A study of three countries, Ania Chaluda, FHI 360
  • Household schooling costs and equity effects of Uganda’s universal secondary education policy, Charles Gale, FHI 360
  • Contributions to equity: Findings from Nigeria’s EdData Survey, Alastair Rodd, RTI International


In the context of worldwide efforts to promote equitable life outcomes, particularly for children and youth, what are governments doing to promote education access and quality for the most disadvantaged, and what is the role of households in exacerbating inequalities? This panel features research papers which provide empirical evidence on the extent of public and private contributions to education, and how they are related to key education outcomes. While it has been estimated that parents pay up to a third of teacher salaries (World Bank, 2009), including in countries with universal education policies, there is less empirical evidence to demonstrate what households actually contribute (Lincove, 2012). Moreover, existing guidelines for the analysis of education delivery and spending prioritize governments, and focus scant attention on the role of households (Education Sector Analysis Methodological Guidelines). In studying and comparing levels of public and private education spending, the topic of this panel relates clearly to the conference theme of “Problematizing (In)Equality”, including the sub-theme of problematizing inclusion/exclusion, as it will provide an important forum through which to advance the measurement and conceptualization of inequality in education.

The first and second papers are submissions from FHI 360’s Education Policy and Data Center that combine descriptive and inferential quantitative analysis of administrative and household survey data on education expenditures to answer research questions related to equity. “Financing Education Equity: A Study of Three Countries” was produced as a background paper for the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, ‘The Learning Generation’. It seeks to compare the level of resources devoted to education from households and government across three countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and provide evidence for the impact of education costs on attendance. “Household Schooling Costs and Equity Effects of Uganda’s Universal Secondary Education Policy” was recently published in the International Journal of Educational Development, and is an analysis of household and student impacts of Uganda’s Universal Secondary Education Policy. Findings from both studies indicate that government contributions generally are not enough to compensate for the unequal resources available at the household level.

All papers on the panel were submitted through the Education Equity Research Initiative, a consortium of organizational partners devoted to better understanding the causes and consequences of education inequality, particularly at the student level. As such, the panel takes the perspective that with rare exception, education spending in low and middle income countries is highly regressive, and inequities are reinforced through inequalities at the household level. With the theme of problematizing inequality, CIES provides a forum for researchers and practitioners of international education to move the conversation forward on issues related to equity. Particularly in regards to measurement, this panel will help to inform key deliverables of the Equity Initiative, and more broadly will provide the field with information to help better conceptualize the role of household education contributions in determining key life outcomes for children.