Education en Making tax work for girls’ education: How and why governments can reduce tax incentives to invest more in girls’ education. <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/making-tax-work-girls-education" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right"/></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> ActionAid </div> <div class="field field-publication-summary"> <a href=""><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="" /><span>making_tax_work_exec_summary_online.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href=""><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="" /><span>making_tax_work_online.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2018-01-26T00:00:00+00:00">Friday, January 26, 2018</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p>We are launching these documents at the Global Partnership for Education replenishment meeting in Senegal in February 2018. The Global Partnership for Education has set an important example in requiring developing countries to maintain or increase the share of national budgets allocated to education (towards the benchmark of 20%) but there is an urgent need to move beyond the narrow focus of arguing for a greater share of the budget for education. We need to focus also on the size of the domestic tax base. Action to address both the size of government revenues overall and the share spent on education, offers the best means to secure predictable and sustainable funding for education systems.</p><p>The evidence that we have collected shows that&nbsp;governments are giving away vast sums in what the IMF terms as harmful tax incentives and even just a portion of these sums, if allocated to education, could ensure all girls and boys have access to quality public education. Investing in girls’ education, in particular, yields dramatic economic returns over the long term - so investing in girls’ education today is not just a means to ensure one of their fundamental rights are fulfilled - it also makes very good economic sense.</p><ul><li>Download the <a href="">full report</a></li><li>Download the <a href="">executive summary</a></li><li>Download the supplementary report, <em>Scaling-up Domestic Resources for Financing SDG 4: A Taxing Business?</em>, in <a href="">English</a> and <a href="">French</a></li></ul> </div> Education Womens Rights International Fri, 26 Jan 2018 11:37:30 +0000 Rob Safar 713998 at Reflections on the World Development Report: Learning to realise education's promise <div class="field field-body"> <h3>The World Bank still has much to learn.</h3><p>The World Bank has published its first ever World Development Report (WDR) on education (‘<em><a href="">LEARNING To Realise Education’s Promise</a>’</em>), helping to make the case for greater priority and investment to be given to education. This should be a cause for celebration, but despite some useful observations the focus is too narrow to be of real value in helping us accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4. The WDR focuses on improving equity in learning outcomes - and particularly the assessment of those outcomes - but does surprisingly little to break new ground on these issues.</p><p>In discussions and consultations around &nbsp;the WDR over the past year civil society organisations raised concerns about whether it would address the continuing crises in <strong>access </strong>and <strong>financing </strong>of education, what it would say about <strong>public education and privatisation</strong> – as well as what it would conclude on <strong>learning, teachers and assessment</strong>. We urge the World Bank to more fully engage civil society organisations in future report consultations to ensure more comprehensive civil society participation. Below are a few initial observations on what the report says - and does not say - in these respects.</p><h3>Observations on access to education<strong></strong></h3><p>The report celebrates the remarkable progress made in access to education, noting that:</p><p>‘<em>Schooling has expanded almost universally. In 1970 the gross primary enrolment rate was 68 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa and 47 percent in South Asia. By 2010, that rate was above 100 percent in both regions’.&nbsp; </em></p><p>The effect of this is to give the impression that the job is largely done in terms of access. &nbsp;But of course the report goes on to recognise continuing challenges in access:<em> </em></p><p><em>‘Exclusions based on poverty, location, gender, and ethnicity persist. In 2014 an estimated 61 million primary school-age children and 202 million secondary school-age youth—with a disproportionate share from poor households—were out of school.’ </em></p><p>However, there is almost no analysis of what should be done to address this immense challenge. Just two pages look at ‘demand side interventions’ that make a difference to access. The most notable observation is that:</p><p>&nbsp;<em>‘Significant costs—both formal fees and a wide array of other expenses—prevent children, especially the most vulnerable, from learning. Nearly 90 percent of the world’s low-income countries proclaim free primary education. But for lower secondary education, more than 40 percent of the countries charge fees’. </em></p><p>This is an important acknowledgment from the World Bank which has an inconsistent record in this area, often having promoted user fees (apart from a brief period in the early 2000s). We should be shouting from the rooftops that the World Bank recognises that making basic education genuinely free is crucial and transformative, particularly for the most excluded groups:</p><p>&nbsp;‘<em>so-called</em> <em>demand-side interventions—have been so effective</em> <em>at getting children to school. In many countries, the</em> <em>elimination of school fees has raised enrolments … The interventions, which have sought to reduce other costs</em> <em>associated with school, have consistently improved</em> <em>access in the form of enrolment as well as attendance’. &nbsp;</em></p><p>There is even a bold statement that, even with low learning ‘<em>Getting learners into school is beneficial in its own right’.</em></p><p>The trouble is that these vital observations are hidden away in the detail of the report and fail to make it into the central narrative. Rather, everything is brought back to learning – as if solving the learning crisis will itself magically solve the crisis in access – which is patently not the case. For a report that is overtly concerned with the injustice involved in disadvantaged communities being additionally disadvantaged by low learning outcomes, the lack of weight given to the continuing and persistent challenges of access is disappointing. There should and easily could have been bolder recommendations to address the access crisis as well. Largely ignoring this leaves a gaping hole.</p><h3>Observations on financing<strong></strong></h3><p>One might reasonably expect the World Bank to have something important to contribute to debates about the Financing of Education.&nbsp; As it is the main section on financing is a sub-heading under a sub-heading on page 173 with the central message is that ‘<em>public spending does not correlate strongly with learning’. </em>Thankfully there is also a 5 page “spotlight” on ‘<em>Spending More or Spending Better – or Both?</em>” This concludes that ‘<em>there is a strong rationale for public investment on education’ </em>and that <em>‘financing needs will rise’</em> – but the most consistent message is that ‘<em>spending does not always lead to better and more equal student learning outcomes</em>’.&nbsp; Five reasons are given for the mismatch – that spending is not allocated equitably, funds do not reach schools, public spending can substitute for private spending, decisions on funding are not coherently aligned with learning and government agencies lack the capacity to use funding effectively.</p><p>Of course some of this is self-evident - money can always be spent badly and often is – but to imply that there is little or no connection between financing and improving learning advances a dangerous myth. The World Bank could have looked further to understand how the lack of correlation is so often connected to money being mis-spent on simply not arriving, particularly in disadvantaged areas. Where money does arrive in practice on the frontline, in classrooms, the link to improved learning is almost invariably strong. This whole section could and should have been framed in a much more positive manner with a much more detailed analysis. The Global Campaign for Education has long been arguing for the need to increase 4 S’s in respect of education budgets - increasing the <strong>share</strong> of spending on education (up to 20%) and the<strong> size</strong> of government budgets overall (through a progressive tax base) and the<strong> sensitivity</strong> of how that money can be spent effectively on education to increase equitable outcomes – and finally the<strong> scrutiny</strong> needed to make sure the money arrives in practice in disadvantaged areas.</p><p>Sadly the report gives no such detail. One justification for largely ignoring financing issues has been that the Education Commission addressed this in 2016. It was however one of the principal concerns of civil society that the ‘Learning Generation’ report of the Education Commission gave remarkably little space to financing – and this report repeats that same fundamental mistake. This is a serious missed opportunity. Policy makers in Ministries of Finance who read this report might have taken seriously what the World Bank says on financing education – but will be left none the wiser. We strongly recommend that the World Bank weigh in right away to urge Finance Ministers and policymakers to strengthen financing for quality, inclusive, public education. This is especially critical to do in the coming months as country governments are making vital decisions and advance commitments in the lead up to the February 2018 replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education.</p><h3>Observations on public education and the private sector</h3><p>Throughout the 240 page report the World Bank seems averse to using the phrase ‘public education system’ – but there is in fact a significant focus on <strong>strengthening systems</strong> and some challenging observations about the private sector. The focus on building consensus and coalitions for reform is implicitly focused on the public sector and there is one striking observation about the risk of middle-class parents<em>&nbsp; ‘opting out of the public education</em> <em>system, weakening pressure on governments to improve learning across the system’.</em></p><p>On the sensitive issue of <strong>for-profit private schools</strong> the report notes that ‘<em>there is no consistent evidence that private schools deliver better learning outcomes than public schools’</em>. Indeed, it insists that ‘<em>Comparisons across 40 countries that seek to adjust for these differences in student characteristics find no private school advantage‘</em>. &nbsp;There is even a warning that:</p><p><em>‘Private schools may skim off the higher-income students who are easiest and most profitable to teach, leaving only the more disadvantaged students in the public system. Private schooling may also deepen social cleavages along dimensions other than income if it causes students to be sorted by language, ethnicity, or religion.’</em></p><p>This is bold stuff coming from the World Bank whose President was, until recently, advocating for Bridge International Academies. Indeed there is not one reference to Bridge – which civil society campaigners might reasonably celebrate!&nbsp;</p><p>The report goes further than expected on this issue, saying that private schooling<em> ‘can undermine the political constituency for effective public schooling in the longer term.’ </em></p><p>We applaud the World Bank and World Development Report authors for highlighting the importance of quality public schools for all and the real concerns about public funds going to for-profit, private education providers. The section that explore these questions observes that for governments<em> ‘overseeing private schools may be no easier than providing quality schooling’ </em>and so concludes<em> ‘governments may deem it more straightforward to provide quality education than to regulate a disparate collection of providers that may not have the same objectives’.</em></p><p>This represents an unexpected shift of tone from the World Bank that is also echoed in other observations. For example there is an acknowledgement that ‘<em>some private suppliers of education services pursue profit which can lead them to advocate policy choices that are not in the interests of students’</em>. &nbsp;The idea that the profit motive might be in tension with an agenda on learning outcomes could have been fruitfully pursued further. Likewise there is a remarkable line that the ‘<em>business community often fails to advocate for quality education, instead lobbying for lower taxes and spending’</em>. This is the seed of a powerful intervention to call for fairer taxes to invest in public education. We urge the World Bank to do more in future messaging, reports, events, and interventions to be consistent in its support for public education</p><h3>Observations on learning outcomes, teachers and assessment</h3><p>Given the limited focus on learning and learning assessment there is surprisingly little that is new in this report. It is good to highlight that disadvantaged children are further disadvantaged by poor learning outcomes but the report fails to grapple with the real causes of this. The focus on preparing children to learn through <strong>early childhood interventions</strong> is to be welcomed – with support for more integrated and sequenced interventions to address nutrition, care, stimulation and learning. The nutrition leaders at the World Bank have been effective champions and advocates – and we welcome such advocacy and linkages between nutrition, education, early childhood development, water/sanitation/hygiene and health. It would have been good to see a more powerful case for positive discrimination in early childhood provision – and for other interventions that address the poverty, low literacy and lack of voice of parents, for example by supporting a second chance to learn for adults.</p><p>The report overtly values <strong>professional teachers</strong> and strongly argues that technology is not a standalone solution, arguing that well-trained teachers will always be needed and that training needs to be sustained and ongoing.&nbsp; This is to be welcomed, but the World Bank’s historic double-speak on teachers continues with a rather sweeping dismissal of existing training programmes (that implicitly undermines the existing teaching profession) and numerous references to absentee teachers - without a credible analysis of this phenomenon and what can be done to address the system-failure that underlies this. There are also suggestions that teachers should be given financial and non-financial incentives to improve learning – implying a system of performance-related pay but knowing better than to advocate for it directly given the poor track record of such models in education. It is disappointing not to see some acknowledgment of the World Bank’s own record in respect of the teaching profession. This would have been an ideal moment to distance the Bank from its past practice of closing teacher training colleges and supporting non-professional teachers. We urge the World Bank in future to be more consistent in its support for a coherent and adequately funded teaching profession.</p><p>In terms of <strong>learning outcomes</strong> there is an initial acknowledgment of the importance of more than just literacy and numeracy, that learners ‘<em>require the higher-order reasoning and creativity that builds on these foundational skills. And they need the socioemotional skills—such as perseverance and the ability to work on teams</em>’.&nbsp; Indeed, there are dozens or references to the importance of socioemotional skills in particular. However, the report does much less than previous interventions in this area (such as the former Learning Metrics Task Force) to get to grips with how to effectively value, balance and assess these broader / more diverse skills.&nbsp; The argument is made that ‘<em>a </em><em>focus on learning—and on the educational </em><em>quality that drives it—is more likely to “crowd in</em><em>” these other desirable outcomes</em>’.&nbsp; However, there is little clarity on how this is the case and how to ensure that focusing assessment on what can be easily measured does not unintentionally undermine these other dimensions of learning. In this sense there is less substance than might be expected in such a focused report.</p><p>Much of the report focuses on <strong>learning assessment</strong> – despite an acceptance that assessment is not in itself a solution if it is not linked to change (though sadly the earlier acknowledgment that ‘<em>weighing pigs doesn’t make them fatter’ </em>has disappeared). There is a very welcome push back against high stakes testing, recognising <em>‘</em><em>the risks of overtesting or an overemphasis on tests’ </em>seen in some parts of the United States where:</p><p><em>‘two decades of high-stakes testing </em><em>have led to patterns of behavior consistent with </em><em>these concerns. Some teachers have been found to </em><em>concentrate on test-specific skills instead of untested </em><em>subjects, and some schools have engaged in strategic behavior to ensure that only the better-performing students are tested.’</em></p><p>However, the report argues that in many countries the problem is that there is too little focus on learning and too little assessment. Overall the report sees significant value in formative assessment in classrooms (by teachers), in nationally tailored assessments and international standardised assessments and &nbsp;indeed household surveys.&nbsp; However this report does not give sufficient guidance about where a resource-constrained country might best make limited investments in assessment – what interventions could most effectively contribute to improving learning or strengthening systems.</p><h3>Conclusion</h3><p>The latter part of the WDR makes a strong call for <strong>coalitions of actors</strong> to work together to get behind a learning agenda and to overcome the political and institutional obstacles to reform. Surprisingly, aside from brief references to Ghana and India there appears to be no significant attempt to learn from the past twenty years of civil society coalition building – where efforts have been made to build broad-based national coalitions on education to get quality education higher up domestic agendas.</p><p>Near the end the report emphasises that, even in a fast changing world, learning how to learn will always be important. We encourage the World Bank to critically learn from and review its own past practice in the education sector. The absence of a meaningful and substantial contribution to the challenge of mobilising more sustainable financing for public education shows that the World Bank still has much to learn about how to use its role and position effectively.</p><p>­This report will undoubtedly help to continue the renewed attention being placed on education by the international community. The visibility of education in the recent UN General Assembly was refreshing and the initial momentum behind the Global Partnership for Education replenishment is promising. There are more leaders and champions getting behind education than ever before. We urge the World Bank to more fully support the call to action for stronger domestic and international financing of education, using the replenishment of the GPE in early 2018 as a key catalytic moment.</p><p align="center"><a href=""><strong></strong></a></p> </div> Education International Wed, 27 Sep 2017 13:47:57 +0000 david.archer 708845 at The effects of privatisation on girls’ access to free, quality public education in Malawi, Mozambique, Liberia, Tanzania and Nepal <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/effects-privatisation-girls-access-free-quality-public-education-malawi-mozambique-libe" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" width="240" height="340" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right"/></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> ActionAid </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href=""><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="" /><span>the_effects_of_privatisation.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2017-09-07T00:00:00+01:00">Thursday, September 7, 2017</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p>This report shows how the right to education in Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Nepal is undermined by the low quality of public education. Governments have a duty to ensure the right to free, public education of good quality for all but the low quality of public schools is driving parents to pay for private education. Privatisation aggravates existing inequalities and marginalisation of vulnerable groups and children from poor families. Governments must fulfil their responsibility and ensure free, public education of good quality for all children.</p><p>The right to free, quality education is established by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and reaffirmed with the Sustainable Development Goals. However, despite much progress, the obstacles to achieving free public education for all are still numerous. In recent years, the growing trend of for-profit privatisation within the education sector has emerged as yet another serious challenge. One of the concerns is that it aggravates existing inequalities and marginalisation of vulnerable groups within the education system, as these groups are not able to pay for education. The purpose of this study was to conduct research on the education landscape in five countries (Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Nepal and Liberia) and to analyse the effects of privatisation on girls’ access to free, quality public education in those countries. The study focusses on privatisation at the primary and secondary school level and looks at the different providers of private education, as well as the development in privatisation between 2010 and 2015. The research is based on a desk study, field visits (to Nepal, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania) and interviews with key education stakeholders.</p><ul><li><a href="">Download the report</a></li><li><a href="">Download the Malawi policy paper</a></li><li><a href="">Download the Mozambique policy paper</a></li><li><a href="">Download the Nepal country report</a></li><li><a href="">Download the Nepal policy paper</a></li><li><a href="">Download the Tanzania policy paper</a></li></ul> </div> Education Womens Rights International Thu, 07 Sep 2017 11:03:45 +0000 Rob Safar 707783 at Tax, privatisation and the right to education: Influencing education financing and tax policy to transform children’s lives. <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/tax-privatisation-and-right-education-influencing-education-financing-and-tax-policy-tr" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" width="240" height="340" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right"/></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> ActionAid </div> <div class="field field-publication-summary"> <a href=""><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="" /><span>international_-_tax_privatisation_and_rte_report_-_summary_-_29.01.18.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href=""><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="" /><span>tax_privatisation_report_online.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2017-09-01T00:00:00+01:00">Friday, September 1, 2017</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p> </div> Africa Ghana Kenya Pakistan Uganda Asia Tax Justice Education Governance International Fri, 01 Sep 2017 13:40:18 +0000 Rob Safar 707484 at Out of Pocket: how much are parents paying for public education that should be free? <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/out-pocket-how-much-are-parents-paying-public-education-should-be-free" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" width="240" height="340" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right"/></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> ActionAid </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href=""><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="" /><span>policy_brief_two.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2017-08-09T00:00:00+01:00">Wednesday, August 9, 2017</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p>According to international human rights law, primary education should be free of charge, and secondary education should be made progressively free. Yet in many developing countries education is rarely entirely free. Despite international obligations, many states continue to impose fees to access primary education. At the same time, families, many among the poorest in the world, have to pay the ‘indirect’ costs of education, such as for school books, uniforms or school maintenance.</p><p>These costs are one of the major factors keeping many children out of school, and the scale of the problem is enormous:</p><ul><li>Globally, 61 million children of primary school age are out of school.</li><li>Of those, 34 million are in sub-Saharan Africa and 11 million are in South Asia.</li><li>Over half of all the out of school children across the world (32 million) are girls.</li><li>Girls are more likely than boys to be permanently excluded from education and in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.</li></ul><p>UIS estimates that 9 million girls (compared to 6 million boys) will never attend school.</p><p>This briefing provides new figures on the costs incurred by parents when sending their children to school. These costs must be paid by the state, and no child should ever be denied access to education because of inability to pay the fees. Governments need to invest much more in providing a quality education for all their children – one which is truly free.</p> </div> Education International Wed, 09 Aug 2017 14:42:03 +0000 Rob Safar 706503 at Missed Opportunity: how could funds lost to tax incentives in Africa be used to fill the education finance gap? <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/missed-opportunity-how-could-funds-lost-tax-incentives-africa-be-used-fill-education-fi" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" width="240" height="340" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right"/></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> ActionAid </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href=""><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="" /><span>policy_brief_one.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2017-08-09T00:00:00+01:00">Wednesday, August 9, 2017</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p>How much revenue do African governments lose from providing tax incentives, such as giving companies tax holidays and exemptions on paying taxes on import duties and value added tax? And if these precious national budget resources were set aside to fund quality, public education instead, how much greater could education spending be?</p><p>These questions are pressing today, as in sub-Saharan Africa alone, 34 million of children (including 18.6 million girls) aged 6 to 11 are out of school. Millions more, receive poor quality education, with low quality of teaching, poor sanitation facilities, unsafe environments and inadequate classroom equipment, making for poor learning outcomes.</p><p>Meanwhile, many of our African governments are failing to invest enough in education to ensure quality schooling for all children and are yet to meet targets they committed to internationally, of allocating 6% of GDP and 20% of total public expenditure to education. Governments need to urgently increase the size and effectiveness of their education budgets.</p><p>We believe much of the resources are already available to do this. Our research suggests that:</p><p><strong>Governments in sub-Saharan Africa may be losing an estimated US$38.6 billion a year, or 2.4% of their GDP, to tax incentives. This is equivalent to nearly half (47%) of their current education spending. Having a much clearer pro-poor policy for granting incentives and using some of these resources to fund education could provide a much-needed and significant boost to education budgets across Africa.</strong></p> </div> Tax Justice Education Governance International Wed, 09 Aug 2017 14:38:00 +0000 Rob Safar 706502 at How governments are failing on the right to education <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/how-governments-are-failing-right-education" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" width="240" height="340" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right"/></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> ActionAid </div> <div class="field field-publication-summary"> <a href=""><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="" /><span>how_governments_can_deliver_exec_summary_online.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href=""><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="" /><span>how_governments_can_deliver_july_online.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2017-04-19T00:00:00+01:00">Wednesday, April 19, 2017</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p>This report presents important new findings on the right to education from citizen-led research in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Nepal. Unlike most such studies it is the product of research and analysis by children, parents, teachers and community organisations who have actively scrutinised the performance of their local schools against core dimensions of the right to education. The process has helped to deepen people’s engagement as citizens in holding their government schools and their public education systems to account.</p><p>Ten areas are highlighted where the right to education has been undermined and promises have been broken. Government spending is unnecessarily constrained meaning too many children remain out of school and too many costs are passed on to parents. Girls and children with disabilities face particular disadvantage, sometimes including violence. Infrastructure is often inadequate and governance systems are often weak and not inclusive. Teachers often face overwhelming class sizes, making it hard for children to learn.</p><p>These findings will not come as a shock for many people who are familiar with the challenges faced by under-funded public education systems – but it makes a massive difference when it is citizens on the frontline who are raising these issues and calling for change.</p><p>Rather than leading to disillusion with public education, positive solutions are put forward to ensure that government systems can deliver on the right to education. These solutions can be clustered under four core areas. Governments need to increase the financing of education – both through increasing the share of the national budget spent on education and increasing the size of the national budget overall. A particular focus is placed on how simple tax reforms in just one area - ending harmful tax incentives - could make a transformational difference in each country.</p><p>Increasing the share and size of the budget will not be enough if the sensitivity of spending is not also increased. The report flags the importance of investing for equity, for example to end the disadvantages faced by girls and children with disabilities, and to ensure that professional teachers are well trained and valued. Alongside this there is a need for greater scrutiny of education spending – ensuring better governance systems are in place, that budgets are tracked and that resources are spent appropriately and effectively.</p><p>When citizens are actively engaged in building their own evidence base and are mobilising to demand increases in the size, share, sensitivity and scrutiny of education budgets for gender-responsive public schools, the right to education becomes much more than just a promise.</p><p>The right to education cannot be contained only in distant conventions and treaties, it needs to be translated and popularised to live in the minds and actions of citizens everywhere.</p><ul><li><a href="">Download the full report</a></li><li><a href="">Download the executive summary</a></li><li><a href="">Download the executive summary (Portuguese)</a></li><li><a href="">Policy brief - Missed Opportunity: how could funds lost to tax incentives in Africa be used to fill the education finance gap?</a></li><li><a href="">Policy brief - Out of Pocket: how much are parents paying for public education that should be free?</a></li></ul> </div> Tax Justice Education International Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:31:47 +0000 Rob Safar 697626 at The Challenges of Education Reform and Privatisation in Liberia <div class="field field-image-nid"> <div class="buildmode-embedded_image"> <div class="node node-type-image clear-block"> <div class="nd-region-middle-wrapper nd-no-sidebars" ><div class="nd-region-middle"><div class="field field-image-file"> <a href="/2016/12/challenges-education-reform-and-privatisation-liberia" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large imagecache-linked imagecache-thumb_large_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" width="140" height="140" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large"/></a> </div> </div></div> </div> <!-- /node --> </div> <!-- /buildmode --> </div> <div class="field field-body"> <p>There are some major challenges in access, quality and equity in the Liberian education system – but is privatisation the right solution? Of the total population, 47% of Liberia have received no education and over 18% of primary aged children today are not enrolled in school. A huge number of those enrolled are over-age and just 54% of those who do enrol, complete primary school. There is a huge gulf between the performance of girls from low income families in rural communities and boys from wealthier urban families. To confront these multiple challenges the government has developed a new Education Sector Plan “Getting to Best” which outlines some credible ideas for systemic reform. However, the process of developing the plan has not been as transparent and inclusive as it should have been, there are serious gaps in the projected domestic financing of education and the plan includes a disproportionate focus on the “Partnership Schools for Liberia” pilot programme. This controversial public private partnership involves 8 different private providers in 94 schools and is designed in such a distorted way as to make it impossible to scale up across the system.</p><p>According to guidelines from the Global Partnership for Education, education sector plans should be developed through a <strong>transparent, inclusive process </strong>with governments in the driving seat, working with in-country donors, national civil society and teacher unions. In the case of Liberia many concerns have been expressed. Some of the key documents were not available to everyone in a timely fashion and yet a rushed decision for approval of the plan was sought. It was not clear how the government intends to incorporate constructive feedback on the plan or what the status is of the controversial pilot programme – and so at this stage the plan cannot be said to have broad or full ownership across society, seriously limiting the feasibility of implementing it.</p><p>One clear problem with the Education Sector Plan is that it does not include adequate <strong>commitments of domestic financing. </strong>At present 13.5% of the national budget is spent on education and this is predicted to rise only to 15% and then fall again to 14.5%&nbsp; in the following years – all of which falls far short of the widely recognised benchmark of 20%. Spending on primary education is also predicted to remain at just 40% (short of the recommended 45%) whilst higher education spending is projected to rise. With these figures it will be difficult to persuade the Global Partnership for Education to provide the provisionally allocated support of $11 million to Liberia next year.</p><p>There are many <strong>good ideas in the Education Sector Plan</strong>, including proposed programmes to reach out of school children, address the crisis in over-age enrolment, improve the teacher workforce, develop policies on girls’ education,&nbsp; strengthen quality standards, establish school improvement grants,&nbsp; deepen school accountability and improve early childhood education. However, most of these programmes are seriously under-resourced. The only programme that seems to have full resourcing is the controversial public private partnership of the “Partnership Schools for Liberia” (PSL) pilot programme. This pilot concentrates very significant resources and political energy on a pilot involving just 94 public schools (about <strong>3% of public schools </strong>– that are not evenly spread across the country).&nbsp; The same funds could make a significant difference to some of the urgently needed systemic reform programmes flagged above that would benefit all Liberian schools.</p><p>There <strong>are eight different providers</strong> involved in PSL: Bridge International Academies (24 schools), BRAC Liberia (20 schools), Omega (19 schools), Street Child (12), Rising Academies (5), More than Me (6), Stella Maris (4) and Liberian Youth Network (4). It is not clear what agreements have been reached with each provider but it seems that the contract with Bridge is for $8 million – a substantial sum given the total education budget of Liberia is only $41 million.</p><p>There are plans for a major <strong>Randomised Control Trial evaluation of PSL </strong>that will track progress of this pilot over the coming three years. However there are serious concerns over whether the evaluation of PSL can be truly objective or generate any useful learning when PSL schools are receiving significantly more funding than the government control schools against which they will be compared. Indeed, the PSL schools not only have more money ($50 per child – that government schools do not get), but also smaller classes (capped at 45 per class – with many children thus excluded from their local school) and significantly more political and managerial attention from the Ministry. There &nbsp;seem to be various dubious ways in which some providers have been selective of the schools they took on (Bridge demanded schools on accessible roads, with electricity and internet connectivity – which is highly atypical) and even selective of the children, teachers and principals in their schools.&nbsp; How will the government of Liberia or anyone else learn anything, other than the already evident truth that if you select the best schools, spend more money per student and have smaller class sizes you will get better results?</p><p>In the coming weeks and months there is an urgent need for civil society organisations in Liberia to gather <strong>independent data</strong> about the PSL pilot and <strong>collate evidence from the field in a systematic way.</strong> There are already many anecdotes, photos, interviews with parents and teachers and this material needs to be catalogued, synthesised and analysed. But it also needs to be complemented by some <strong>detailed qualitative research on a selection of the PSL schools </strong>–in order to get a full picture of the impact of the pilot (including tracking the children excluded from these formerly public schools). It is likely that public education will become a major issue in the 2017 Presidential elections and there may even be legal challenges to the privatisation programme.&nbsp; For those interested in defending quality public education, Liberia is a country to watch closely!</p><p><em></em></p><p><a href=""><em><strong>&gt; Download David's full report.</strong> </em></a></p><p><em>This article was originally published on the <a href="">Unite for Quality Education website</a>.</em></p> </div> Africa Liberia Education Governance International Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:23:16 +0000 david.archer 688419 at Why Teachers Need Tax <div class="field field-image-nid"> <div class="buildmode-embedded_image"> <div class="node node-type-image clear-block"> <div class="nd-region-middle-wrapper nd-no-sidebars" ><div class="nd-region-middle"><div class="field field-image-file"> <a href="/2016/11/why-teachers-need-tax" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large imagecache-linked imagecache-thumb_large_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" width="140" height="140" class="imagecache imagecache-thumb_large"/></a> </div> </div></div> </div> <!-- /node --> </div> <!-- /buildmode --> </div> <div class="field field-body"> <p>The Sustainable Development Goal on education establishes ambitious targets and to finance the achievement of these, we need a radical shift, a rebuilding of confidence in the capacity of the governments to fully&nbsp;<strong>finance public education</strong>&nbsp;that is of good quality – and that can only come from a substantial scaling up of investment. Fundamentally education is a long term investment that requires predictable financing. It is not a short term, one-off, quick win. The major returns to investment in education accrue over 10 or more years (when children complete their education and contribute to their society). The biggest single costs are recurrent costs – especially for teacher salaries. Aid is seen as both too short term and too unpredictable to cover such costs. We need systemic solutions and sustainable financing – features that are most closely identified with tax.</p><p>Tax is presently the major source of financing government’s education plans– even in highly aid-dependent low income countries. Many countries are coming close to achieving the two common benchmarks of 6% of GDP and 20% of public expenditure being spent on education, but still lack sufficient revenue and this means we need to pay more attention to the size of government budgets overall.&nbsp;<strong>Tax-to-GDP ratios</strong>&nbsp;are a widely used measure of tax collection and in order to provide universal education, a state is likely to require (according to Piketty) at least a ratio of 20% - which many low income countries fall short of.</p><p>Focusing on tax as source of revenue has other benefits – as well as raising predictable revenue, it is a key means to redistribute resources and&nbsp;<strong>reduce inequality</strong>. There are also major benefits in terms of building accountability – strengthening relations between citizens and state and encouraging better governance.</p><p>Some forms of tax are “<strong>progressive</strong>” (put simply, where those with more, pay more as a proportion of their income) and some “<strong>regressive</strong>” (where those with more pay less as a proportion of their income). Whilst a case can be made for expanding revenue for education by any means, there is a particular virtue to use a progressive tax base for progressive spending on education as this doubles the dose of inequality-reduction at a time when everyone from the Pope to the IMF are concerned to achieve this.</p><p>One important place to start in promoting tax reform is around<strong> corporate taxation</strong>, partly because this has become the focus of a lot of international attention in recent years as illustrated by the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) process and the G20 political impetus behind it, the African Union’s High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows and the growing popular movement calling for companies to pay a fair share of tax. This is also an area of taxation where there is a huge impact from tax avoidance strategies in developing countries - and which therefore represents a potentially significant means for scaling up financing of education. The $39 billion resource gap for education could be more than filled by coordinated action in this one area!</p><p>A major focus needs to be on&nbsp;<strong>multinational corporations</strong>&nbsp;because domestic businesses are not usually offered the same tax incentives or holidays (which are mostly used to attract foreign investment); because MNCs have particular opportunities to avoid tax due to their international nature, and because a tremendous amount of money is at stake. A progressive intervention in the area of tax justice should rightly start where the inequality is greatest – and this is particularly so when supporting education which has such a powerful equalising potential.</p><p>In focusing on corporate tax and multinational companies we need to recognise that there are many ways in which the scope for domestic action depends, in part, on better&nbsp;<strong>coordinated international action</strong>. At present global tax rules are set by the club of rich nations – the OECD – and it is clearly time for an inclusive and well-resourced UN body to be established to both set fairer rules and enforce them. The failure to agree such a recommendation was a major disappointment from the Financing for Development conference in Addis in 2015 which sought to come up with ways to finance the SDGs.</p><p>There is a particularly strong case for teachers and education activists to push for tax reforms in four areas:</p><ol><li>Ending harmful&nbsp;<strong>tax incentives</strong>&nbsp;($139 billion in revenue is foregone by governments under the illusion that they need to give tax breaks in order to attract investment),</li><li>Challenging aggressive&nbsp;<strong>tax avoidance</strong>&nbsp;(between $100 and $200 million is lost to education and other public services by increasingly common but unethical practices),</li><li>Renegotiating dodgy&nbsp;<strong>tax treaties</strong>&nbsp;(many treaties are profoundly imbalanced, depriving developing countries of desperately needed resources), and</li><li>Raising&nbsp;<strong>earmarked taxes</strong>&nbsp;(specifically for education).</li></ol><p>Each of these is spelt out a little further in&nbsp;<a href="#annex">the annex below</a>. It can get a bit technical – but we all need to overcome our fear of tax! An excellent new toolkit “<a href=""><em>Financing Matters</em></a>” jointly published by the Global Campaign for Education, Education International and ActionAid will help in this task - offering some practical, easy-to-use resources for teacher unions, coalitions and activists around increasing domestic financing of education.</p><p>The bottom line is that we need to raise both significant and sustainable new financing to help countries achieve full implementation of all the targets in the education SDG. Short-term, one-off solutions will not represent a breakthrough. An extra billion or two will not make a lasting difference. Placing a strong focus on how to expand the tax base for financing of education offers the best prospect for delivering what is urgently needed – tens of billions of dollars in sustainable funding, year on year to pay for the millions of new professional teachers that are urgently needed around the world. Crucially, this also offers a way to provide sustainable financing that deepens rather than undermines the accountability of national governments to deliver on the right to education.</p><p><strong>This is an issue whose time has come</strong>. The furore around the world following the Panama Papers showed the widespread public and political support for reform. It is time for the negative cycle of lost revenue and low investment in education to be replaced by a positive cycle of expanding domestic tax revenue to invest sustainably in the core recurrent costs of education that will yield the long term economic growth - that in turn will expand revenues further.</p><p><em>This article is based on a report “<a href="">Domestic Tax and Education</a>” written by ActionAid for the Education Finance Commission. Also recommended is a new toolkit “<a href="">Financing Matters</a>” that offers practical guidance on domestic financing of education for teacher unionists and education activists.</em></p><p><em>For further details contact&nbsp;<a href=""></a> / Twitter <a href="">@DavidArcherAA</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><h3><a id="annex">ANNEX: Four areas where action on tax can make a difference for education</a></h3><p>There are four key areas where action on tax could make a massive difference to the financing of education in the coming years.</p><ol><li>Strategically targeted tax incentives can play a crucial role in supporting national development but many <strong>tax incentives cause far more harm than good in developing countries</strong>. They can massively reduce government revenues by removing the requirement for companies to pay fair levels of tax and they can encourage corruption and secrecy when negotiated in highly discretionary ‘special deals’ with individual companies. Indeed they mainly attract ‘footloose’ firms which move their investments from one country to another, and therefore do not encourage stable long term investments. Where they favour foreign investors tax incentives they can disadvantage domestic investors and deter them from entering markets or expanding. Finally, they often require large resources to administer and are rarely transparently implemented. The ostensible reason for governments providing tax incentives to business is to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), yet the evidence, including the academic literature, suggests that tax incentives are not needed to attract FDI. There are four types of incentives that are particularly problematic: discretionary incentives, tax holidays, tax incentives in free trade zones and stability agreements. ActionAid estimates that developing countries lose US$138 billion a year just from one form of tax incentive – corporate income tax exemptions, or nearly US$3 billion each week. In just over two months, if channelled to where it is most needed, this could fill the annual global finance gap for basic education.</li><li><strong>Action is needed on an ethical approach to tax compliance – to challenge both tax evasion</strong> (which is illegal)&nbsp;<strong>and tax avoidance</strong> (which whilst legal often breaks the spirit or intent of the law). There are various ways used to avoid tax compliance, including transfer pricing manipulation (where goods or services traded among different companies within the same group can be manipulated in order to shift money from one jurisdiction to another with lower tax rates), transfer mispricing (where deliberate and illegal steps are taken to artificially shift income and/or profits), excessive interest deductions and thin capitalisation (where guarantees are used to create excessive debt or where excessive interest rates are charged on intra company loans), trade misinvoicing (which involves deliberately misreporting the value of a commercial transaction on an invoice submitted to customs), artificially channelling funds through tax havens (attracted by low rates and high secrecy) and hybrid mismatches (which depend on differences in the tax treatment of an entity or instrument in two or more jurisdictions that, working together, result in double non-taxation). The very lowest estimated figure for tax losses is US$ 100bn annually and if 20% of this was spent on education, it would be enough to cover half of the global resource gap to get all children into primary and lower secondary school, estimated at US$ 39 billion. To achieve progress there is an urgent need to: strengthen tax rules and systems in developing countries; change rules in developed countries where they affect developing countries; increase transparency and information exchange; and revamp corporate taxation at an international level.</li><li>There is an urgent need to <strong>review bilateral tax treaties</strong>. Some treaties are very old, which means they were not designed to deal with the increasingly globalised and digital economy and, in some cases, reflect a different balance of power (e.g. from colonial times) at the time of negotiation. There are challenges that arise owing to the allocation of taxing rights (especially where “resident based taxation” – taxing a company where it is based - is preferred over “source based taxation” – tax paid where the economic activity occurs), owing to reductions of withholding taxes and owing to the differences between treaties that can be exploited for tax avoidance purposes. The aggregated impact on developing countries could amount to billions of dollars a year.</li><li>There is a strong case for exploring&nbsp;<strong>earmarked taxes for education</strong>. There are many examples of these, such as the Ghana Education Trust Fund (funded by 2.5% of VAT collections), the Nigeria Tertiary Education Trust Fund (to which national companies pay 2% of assessable profits), the Brazilian Fund for Maintenance and Development of Basic Education (partly financed by earmarking 15% of VAT revenues), China’s Educational Surcharge levied on VAT taxpayers at 3% of Consumption and Business Taxes; and India’s flagship education programme that is funded partly by an ‘education cess’ (a ‘tax-on-tax’ introduced on all Union taxes at the rate of 2 per cent). In any scenario where earmarked taxes are used for education there is a particular need to ensure that they are only one source of funding and that they are supplementary to existing allocations - generating genuinely additional revenue that would not otherwise be raised. A key step here is setting a benchmark on existing tax allocations or spending on education, before introducing a new earmarked tax - so that it can be clearly seen (and tracked) that the earmarked tax is providing additional revenues.</li></ol><p><em>(All data comes from “<a href="">Domestic Tax and Education</a>”, research produced for the Education Finance Commission by ActionAid 2016)</em></p> </div> Tax Justice Education Governance International Thu, 10 Nov 2016 10:59:53 +0000 david.archer 683014 at Financing Matters: A toolkit on domestic financing for education <div class="field field-publication-cover-image"> <a href="/publications/financing-matters-toolkit-domestic-financing-education" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right imagecache-linked imagecache-image_heading_right_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" width="240" height="340" class="imagecache imagecache-image_heading_right"/></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-author"> Global Campaign for Education, Education International, ActionAid </div> <div class="field field-publication-full"> <a href=""><img alt="application/pdf icon" src="" /><span>gce_financing_matters_en_web.pdf</span></a> </div> <div class="field field-publication-date-published"> <span class="date-display-single"><time datetime="2016-11-10T00:00:00+00:00">Thursday, November 10, 2016</time></span> </div> <div class="field field-publication-overview"> <p>This toolkit has been produced by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) in collaboration with ActionAid International (AAI) and Education International (EI), and with funding from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). It aims to support civil society organisations and education activists across low- and middle-income countries to advocate and campaign on issues related to nancing for education, as a strategic focus area of the GCE movement. It is also a result of increasing interest in advocacy around domestic nancing for education as identi ed through GCE’s Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF) programme (GCE website).</p><p>GCE, AAI and EI are launching this toolkit as the world embarks on the dif cult task of putting into action the newly agreed Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), and the accompanying Education 2030 Framework for Action (FFA). The SDG 4 and the FFA contain collective commitments to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030. In recognition that enacting this expanded agenda will require more funds for education, the FFA sets out nancing benchmarks that commit governments to spending at least 4-6% of GDP and 15-20% of total budgets on education, and it highlights domestic resourcing as the most important way of funding education. In addition, in order to address issues of quality and equity in education, the FFA recognises there is a need for greater ef ciency, better targeted spending and increased accountability (UNESCO, 2015a).</p><p>Civil society can – and should – play a critical role in this, which requires the building of a powerful evidence base on which to conduct advocacy and put pressure on governments to deliver suf cient funding for education, primarily domestic, complemented by external support where necessary. It is hoped that this toolkit will help to build knowledge and capacity so that education advocates and activists across the developing world can more effectively hold their governments accountable.</p> </div> Education Governance International Thu, 10 Nov 2016 10:34:16 +0000 Rob Safar 683012 at