Tax, privatisation and the right to education: Influencing education financing and tax policy to transform children’s lives.

The current report is the synthesis of the participatory research carried out as part of the Tax, Privatisation and Right to Education multi country project, and is based on the national reports produced by ActionAid in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Pakistan respectively. It aims to shed light on how much families pay for education in these four countries and how these direct and indirect fees could be eliminated to enable access to education.

Findings signal that families have to pay a high percentage (ranging from 6.9% in Pakistan to 33.7% in Uganda for public schools, and 25% to 173% respectively for private schools) of their income in terms of schools related costs, even when public schools are supposed to be free at primary level in these four countries. Despite these costs, when all fees and levies are taken into account, private schools tend to be between 3 and 5 times even more expensive than public schools.

Yet, because of the lack of adequate financing, partly due to governments giving away excessive tax incentives and not curbing tax evasion, the perceived declining quality of public education in these four countries is pushing families to make hard choices to find other alternatives. Private schools are growing as a result of this demand and the lack of effective regulation, creating and entrenching social inequalities and leading to the stigmatisation of public education.