Local Block Grants in Education

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Helpdesk Query:

Provide a literature/evidence review of the effectiveness – or otherwise – of sub-national flexible block grants in education in delivering enrolment, attendance and quality objectives.


This report looks at several examples of programmes using local block grants in education.  Section 2 covers Direct Support to Schools (DSS) in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique and includes information on the objectives and
the results.  Section 3 includes information on Educational Block Grants to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in Tanzania and Uganda.  This study compared four approaches: two used block grants, two used scholarship approaches.  Promoting Basic Services (PBS), Ethiopia is the subject of section 4.  The Government provided un-earmarked block-grant financing through regional governments. These provide block grants to third-level administrative divisions, so that these local governments deliver decentralised services.

Indonesia is the focus of section 5.  In the Indonesia 98/99 Scholarship and Block Grant Programme the scholarships provide an amount of money to assist students to pay their school fees, while the block grants provide direct financial assistance to these educational institutions so that despite rising costs, the provision of services can be maintained.  Information is also provided on the Stay in School campaign, Indonesia 99/00.  The provision of block grants to schools was one of the main features of the country’s “Stay in School” campaign for combating the economic crisis. Generasi uses a facilitated community decision-making process to allocate block grant funds to target 12 health and education indicators.

India is the country focused on in section 6.  Block grant programmes were mentioned in a policy brief and in the media.  A report found block grants with no incentives led to poor student learning outcomes.  In section 7 there is information on Kenya.  An amount of money was allocated per student and transferred directly to school accounts.  This led to small but statistically significant impact on test scores after one year; however the impact seems to diminish over time.


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