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Capitation grant for education: when will it make a difference?

The capitation grant for primary education is too little to but a minimum set of books for a pupil, has declined in value by more than 35 percent since it was introduced, and is not administered according to policy. Analysis done by Uwazi at Twaweza suggests that the capitation grant system today needs a significant overhaul before it can make a difference in education.

The analysis is contained in a policy brief titled “Capitation grant for education: When will it make a difference?” It shows that grant, according to policy, is supposed to be 10,000 shillings per pupil. However, this amount has never been sent in full to schools since the grant system started in 2002.

In 2007/08 the schools received only 4,189 shillings per pupil according to a recent Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) of Education.

40% of the grant is earmarked to buy text books and teacher guides covering the full range of subjects taught in the schools. This amount from the actual money received in schools is not sufficient to even buy a single text book per pupil, as book prices range between Tshs. 3,500 and Tshs. 5,000 shillings. Uwazi estimates that, at a minimum, an allocation of Tshs. 13,000 per pupil is needed each year for text books alone.

The analysis shows further that the policy of 10,000 shillings for capitation grant has not been revisited to match the rising cost of procuring learning materials. The analysis suggests that by keeping the grant amount unchanged the Government has in effect allowed the real value of the grant to decline. The amount of 10,000 shillings in policy is today 37% less than the amount that was stated when the grant was introduced 9 years ago. Besides these problems, the analysis also reveals that there is weak oversight and inadequate transparency around the capitation grant money’s usage.

The authors argue that in order for capitation grant to deliver its administration must be changed in three specific areas: 

  • The amount in policy has to be increased to match the cost of providing learning materials and other costs necessary for learning.
  • The full amounts of the grant ought to reach schools and at predictable intervals.
  • The grant system should be made more transparent by publishing allocations, actual releases and expenditures at the central, local government level and in schools on a website and posted publicly so that every teacher, parent and student can access the information.

Read more: education expenditure tracking Tanzania

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