The Kenya Forum | Public education funds favour children from rich families - The Kenya Forum

January 23, 2023

Summary

In one out of every 10 countries, learners from the richest 20 percent of households receive four or more times the amount of public education spending compared to those from the poorest households,” the report, titled Transforming Education with Equitable Financing shows.

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Public education funds favour children from rich families

Public education funds favour children from rich families

Children from the poorest households benefit the least from national public education funding, a new report by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) shows.

According to the report by UNICEF, titled Transforming Education with Equitable Financing, children from the poorest (20 percent of the population) benefit from only 14 percent of the education spending.

“In one out of every 10 countries, learners from the richest 20 percent of households receive four or more times the amount of public education spending compared to those from the poorest households,” the report entitled Transforming Education with Equitable Financing shows.

UNICEF’s executive director Catherine Russell said inequality is a common occurrence around the world. Countries in Africa suffer the most from inequitable education financing.

How do rich children benefit from public education more than poor children?

“We are failing children. Too many education systems around the world are investing the least in those children who need it the most,” UNICEF executive director Catherine Russell said in a statement.

“Investing in the education of the poorest children is the most cost-effective way to ensure the future for children, communities and countries. True progress can only come when we invest in every child, everywhere,” her statement continued.

The report examines data on government spending across pre-primary, primary, secondary, and tertiary education from 102 countries, including Kenya, using household surveys such as the Demographic and Health Survey.

Poor kids are also more likely to live in remote and rural areas that are generally underserved and on the wrong side of the digital divide, which is evident when you look at KCSE and KCPE including the recent ones, where the majority of D+ and below came from small schools in remote areas and slums.

(You can read more about the digital divide between African children and the rest of the world here)

Critics of the new Competency-based curriculum (CBC) have often cited the education inequality in schools in remote areas as a major disadvantage for children, saying CBC is resource extensive and therefore does not put students on an equal platform.

The report, Transforming Education with Equitable Financing, recommends that governments provide equitable financing and prioritize public education resources, including increasingly focusing on foundational learning, as a key step to addressing the learning crisis.

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