UNESCO helps Senegal develop education financing transparency

16 February 2018

Education spending in Senegal is steadily rising and is almost evenly shared between public resources and households.

Those are the 2016 results of the country’s National Education Accounts (NEA) which track and classify multiple data from key funding sources – public resources, private spending and external funding– into a common framework which allows for better targeting of educational resources, improved policy decisions, and monitoring of progress towards SDG4.

UNESCO’s Capacity Development for Education programme (CapED), with technical assistance from UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), has over the last year supported the development of Senegal’s NEA as part of a wider programme to operationalize SDG4.

Building upon initial work funded through the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), CapED provided comprehensive capacity development for the NEA, including the analysis of all types of financing streams. Existing data collection and analyses tools were strengthened and new ones developed, in order to capture all spending on education down to local government and school levels. All expenditures are now gathered in a common framework, used as a tool by the government to get a clearer picture of resource distribution between subsectors.

The NEA results reveal an almost even share of education spending between public resources and households in 2016 (approximately 48% each), with the share varying by sub-sector. This can partly be explained by the fact that the country’s socio-economic situation has improved in recent years, meaning that households with more purchasing power are spending more on private education. Meanwhile contributions provided by development partners only amount to some 3%.

The results also point to a steady rise in education sector funding between 2009 and 2016 and that during this period the number of students passing their secondary school exams has more than doubled (54,571 in 2016 compared to 20,475 students in 2009).

This information on the education sector’s fiscal structure allowed Senegal to estimate financial projections of its education sector plan (PAQUET – 2013-2030) and prepare a better allocation of financial resources taking into account equity, quality and transparency.

The NEA actually improve transparency, as the government, teachers and communities will be able to access the published data on how resources are used. UNESCO also supported Senegal develop a simulation tool to estimate funding needs to achieve the SDG4 targets, while the NEA will facilitate decision-making and the monitoring of progress towards the goal’s targets.

The experience and results of the NEA were shared on 31 January 2018 during a side event organized jointly by the Government of Senegal and UNESCO in Dakar as a prelude to the third GPE financing conference. The event, which brought together over 200 participants, offered a unique opportunity to discuss education sector investment results, as well as challenges and opportunities faced during the process of developing the NEA. A national conference on education financing will take place in April 2018 utilizing the NEA results to achieve more equitable and efficient education spending.

Following this process, the country will now independently develop its sub-national level NEA.