Authors: J. C. Anyanwu; A. E. O. Erhijakpor
Publisher: African Development Bank , 2007
Though greater government expenditure on primary and secondary education is being advocated by many, little empirical evidence exists on the beneficial impact of such expenditure on education attainment. Using panel data of African countries from 1990 to 2002, this paper studies the relationship between government expenditure on education enrolments, with illustration from Nigeria and other SANE (South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, and Egypt) countries at the primary and secondary school levels.
The results show that government expenditure on education has a positive and significant direct impact on primary and secondary education enrolment rates. The evidence is even stronger for secondary education. Among the SANE, Nigeria has the greatest positive influence on increasing both primary and secondary education enrolment rates.
However, with increasing enrolment rates, government resources alone may not suffice to pay both for the expansion of education systems and for improvements in educational quality. The paper recommends that these governments forge new partnerships with the providers and beneficiaries of education in order to mobilise the necessary resources, to encourage efficiency and to introduce flexibility in order to permit everyone to pursue the pathways and learning opportunities which best meet their needs. For example, non-public institutions, such as private businesses, can provide resources to educational institutions either through partnership arrangements or through more general support for the education system.
The paper also finds that democracy matters for primary and secondary education enrolment. Thus, there is the need for African countries to consolidate and sustain democracy while making efforts to resolve existing conflicts in the continent. Furthermore the findings presented in this paper also have major implications for international assistance policy for African countries, as the international community needs to fulfill its aid promises to Africa, in order to help African countries (including the SANE) achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
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