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Universal, but not Free: Household Schooling Costs and Equity Effects of Uganda's Universal Secondary Education Policy

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Equity, universal secondary education

EPDC recently conducted an analysis of Uganda's Universal Secondary Education (USE) policy, and findings were published in the International Journal of Educational Development. From the abstract: "A general consensus regarding universal schooling policies is that they have boosted enrollments while ignoring the quality of learning, although there is burgeoning research interest in the extent to which such policies have contributed to more equitable educational delivery. This paper analyzes household and school level effects of Uganda’s Universal Secondary Education (USE) policy, launched in 2007. We rely on data drawn from the Uganda National Panel Survey (UNPS) rounds in 2005 and 2009–11, which are included as part of the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS). We find that receipt of the USE capitation grant has increased substantially for most pupils, and is associated with a 60% reduction in household spending on education per child, at the lower secondary level. At the same time this relationship does not differ by wealth or by region. Further, we do not find evidence to suggest the policy boosted school attendance or retention, at the lower secondary level. Overall, our findings suggest a need for greater attention to the equity effects of universal education policies."

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