School vouchers and targeted scholarship programs in the U.S. generally are used to help low-income families transfer their children from inadequate public schools to more acceptable private schools. In developing countries, these same tools are often used to help poor families invest in schooling when the capacity of public schools isn’t adequate to meet demand.
For example, the number of seats available in public educational institutions in Côte d’Ivoire, Africa’s Ivory Coast, is insufficient to meet student demand. To bridge some of the supply gap, the government has introduced a program of sponsoring needy students to attend private institutions. Private schools receive a payment for each sponsored student placed at their institution. In 1997, the government paid out some $103 million to sponsor over 162,000 students in private primary and secondary schools.
In The Gambia, the government is introducing a scholarship program for girls in the country’s upper basic and secondary schools. In the most deprived regions of The Gambia, full scholarships for tuition, books, and examination fees will be awarded to one-third of the girls in schools with low enrollment. In less-deprived regions, full scholarships for tuition and examination fees will be awarded to 10 percent of the girls who are excelling in science, mathematics, and technology.
Colombia’s national secondary school voucher program, established in 1991, was designed to offer municipalities a short-term, cost-effective, and efficient option to expand access to secondary schooling by low-income students. With vouchers, the students are able to attend private secondary schools that have excess classroom capacity.
in Developing Countries
|Bangladesh||Stipends for girls to attend public or private schools|
|Belize||Government partnerships with churches to share costs of schooling|
|Bolivia||Private management of public schools by church-based organization|
|Brazil||Matching grants; capitation grants; and scholarships for poor students|
|Chile||Voucher system for poor students; capitation grants for all students|
|China||Matching-grant programs; targeted bursary for poor and minority children|
|Colombia||Targeted voucher system|
|Côte d’Ivoire||Government sponsorship of students at private institutions|
|Dominican Republic||Assistance to private schools serving low-income students|
|El Salvador||School choice for poor children|
|The Gambia||Targeted scholarships; capitation grants for all students|
|Guatemala||Targeted stipends for girls in 13 communities|
|India||Matching-grant programs and numerous incentives|
|Indonesia||Targeted scholarships for junior secondary school students|
|Kenya||Voucher for informal sector workers to take courses that upgrade skills|
|Lesotho||Government partnership with churches to share costs of schooling|
|Mexico||Targeted bursary for poor and indigenous populations|
|Morocco||Scholarships for rural girls|
|Mozambique||Scholarships for rural girls|
|Pakistan||Community scholarships; subsidies to private schools serving rural girls|
|Senegal||Scholarships for students to attend private and public schools in Dakar|
|Tanzania||Matching-grant programs; targeted scholarships for secondary school girls|
|Thailand||Bicycles for poor students to get to school in rural areas|
|Source: Patrinos, H.A., “Market Forces in Education,” European Journal of Education 35(1):61-80 (2000) http://www.worldbank.org/edinvest/Market_HP.html|
Harry Anthony Patrinos is senior education economist with the World Bank in Washington, DC. He specializes in the economics of education and has published widely in this field. He is the founder of EdInvest, the global education investment information facility, which has a Web site at www.worldbank.org/edinvest. His email address is [email protected]. The views expressed here are those of the author and should not be attributed to the World Bank Group.
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