African girl. Copyright Justyna Furmanczyk  

Strengthening open and flexible learning for increased education access in high HIV prevalence SADC countries


Annotated bibliography


Access and Quality Education (10 documents)

AL-SAMARRAI, S. & ZAMAN, H. (2007) Abolishing School Fees in Malawi: The Impact on Education Access and Equity. Education Economics, 15, 359 - 375.
In 1994, the newly elected Government in Malawi abolished primary school fees. Using household survey data from 1990/91 and 1997/98, this paper assesses the impact this major policy change, combined with increased Government spending on education, has had on access to schooling by the poor. This paper shows that enrolment rates have increased dramatically over the 1990s, at both the primary and secondary levels, and that crucially these gains have been greatest for the poor. In order to sustain and build-on these gains the paper suggests cutting back on the informal ‘contributions’ that are widely prevalent in primary school and improving the allocation of secondary school funding. Furthermore, the focus of policy reform, particularly at primary level, should shift towards raising the quality of education. Finally the paper argues that careful advance planning and piloting of the reform in selected areas are useful strategies that other countries considering abolishing primary school fees could take to cope with the associated surge in enrolments.
Document available online

BADCOCK-WALTERS, P., GORGENS, M., HEARD, W., MUKWASHI, P., SMART, R., TOMLINSON, J. & WILSON, D. (2005) Education Access and Retention for Educationally Marginalised Children: innovations in social protection. Innovations in Social Protections. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Mobile Task Team (MTT), Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD).
This review was conducted by the MTT, and is one of three components of UNICEF’s review of social protection mechanisms in the ESAR region, including reviews of the role of public works and cash transfers. The purpose of the education review was to:
a) Identify sectoral players and the scope of their social protection programmes;
b) Identify lessons learned;
c) Provide a representative list of social protection programmes in the education sector;
d) Identify a combination of these with the potential to provide a coordinated social protection programme; and
e) Identify actions required to scale up social protection within the education sector in ESAR.
In summary, the review set out to obtain answers to three questions: What is needed to get children into school (access) and keep children in school (retention) – particularly those who are educationally marginalised in some way? What factors are critical for their learning achievement? And, how can a strategic combination of these social protection mechanisms for education be scaled up and replicated? (Asbtract extracted from the executive summary)
Document available online

BOYLE, S. (2002) Reaching the poor: the 'costs' of sending children to school: a six country comparative study : synthesis report. London, Department for International Development.
This report is a synthesis of six other reports which themselves covered a total of 20 study sites. Of necessity therefore, considerable amounts of information have been omitted in an attempt to elicit common and special characteristics which shed light on the research question. (Extracted from the report summary)

COMMONWEALTH EDUCATION FUND (2004) Accessing Quality Basic Education through Non-Formal Education: the position of non-formal education in Kakamega District in the face of declared free education.
The study documents the capacity and practices of non-formal education (NFE) institutions, particularly in relation to the provision of basic education through the case of one district in Kenya, Kakamega district. It focuses on access, participation and quality of NFE provision, the weaknesses of the system and the potential for NFE to support basic education provisioning. Using evidence from parents and teachers it maintains that the introduction of Free Primary Education has been more of a political than an educational gimmick by the government and that the move has only served to marginilise NFE. It further argues that low spending on is a serious violation of the needs of the most poor in society since interruptions due to the need to undertake economic activities most acutely affects the most poor in society. It describes how in Kenya NFE is already contributing to closing learning gaps where learners from poor communities drop out of schools due to poverty and HIV/AIDS. Rather than learners crowding formal education, NFE can help prepare these dropouts to enter formal education or re-enter formal education. Thus the study recommends that NFE be included as part of primary education to the extent that it can act as feeder and support to formal education, rather than as an inferior alternative. It also recommends that NFE programmes consider the use of flexible and learner-centred methods and calls for the strengthening of partnerships and cooperation between government, the private sector and educational institutions in the provision of NFE.
Document available online

DEININGER, K. (2003) Does cost of schooling affect enrollment by the poor? Universal primary education in Uganda. Economics of Education Review, 22, 291-305.
The paper evaluates the impact of Uganda's program of "Universal Primary Education" which, starting from 1997, dispensed with fees for primary enrollment. We find that the program was associated with a dramatic increase in primary school attendance, that inequalities in attendance related to gender, income, and region, were substantially reduced, and that school fees paid by parents decreased at the primary but not at the secondary level. At the same time, the general decline in the quality of education suggests that, in order to lead to sustained improvements in attendance and to transform these into higher levels of human capital, the policy needs to be complemented by improvements in school quality and accessibility of secondary education.
Document available online

LEWIN, K. M. (2007) Improving Access, Equity and Transitions in Education: Creating a Research Agenda. CREATE Pathways to Access Series. University of Sussex, Centre for International Education.
This paper is the first in a new series of CREATE research publications ( designed to explore recent achievements, analyse current status, and identify opportunities and blind alleys in policy and practice that can make EFA a reality by 2015 and beyond. It seeks first to elaborate on a rationale for research on access, transitions and equity. Second to provide a reminder of the recent events that have led to commitments to EFA and some of their implications for research. Thirdly it provides an overview of the magnitudes of exclusion from education in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia. Fourthly it offers a framework to reconceptualise access issues, which fifthly leads to a discussion elaborating a model used to locate CREATE research on access. The sixth section briefly outlines the emerging research agenda. Annexes include a reminder of the Dakar and Millennium Development Goals for education, and list some emerging research propositions. This first discussion paper therefore sets the scene for the more detailed reviews and empirical studies which will develop as the CREATE partnership evolves. (Abstract is an extract from the paper)
Document available online

MOTHIBELI, A. & MAEMA, M. (2005) The SACMEQ II Project in Lesotho: A Study of the Conditions of Schooling and the Quality of Education. SACMEQ Educational Policy Research Series. Harare.

The second Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ II) cross-national study conducted in 2000-2004 involved fifteen member countries.  The project gathered data on grade 6 pupil literacy and numeracy levels and teacher literacy and numeracy. The study found a high incidence of over-age particularly rural and mountainous districts. The study observes that part of the reason for high incidence is the location, with schools in rural districts notably isolated and speculates that disruptions are likely to increase with the increasing incidence of HIV and AIDS in Lesotho, unless non-formal education is improved in order to support the formal education system. The study also reported high repetition especially in the mountains. With at least 61 percent of the pupils in Lesotho having repeated at least once since they started school, Lesotho has the highest repetition rates in the region, much higher than Botswana (31 percent) and Swaziland (59 Percent). Other findings include a low proportion of 32.1 percent of pupils that had access to school libraries and reportedly poor living conditions for teachers. The reading and numeracy levels of grade 6 students in Lesotho were much lower than those in most other SACMEQ countries, scoring mean reading and numeracy scores each half a standard deviation below the SACMEQ mean. Although teachers' scores were generally higher than that of students, it was reported that in mathematics eight percent of pupils had scores higher than 628 and five percent of teachers had scores below 628. Less than 16 percent of students in grade 6 were found to have reached the minimum numeracy and literacy levels expected of students at that level.

PALME, M. (1994) The child's right to education: understanding school failure and dropout in primary education in Mozambique. Educational and Child Psychology, 11, 45-54.

PRIDMORE, P. (2007) The impact of health on education access and achievement: A cross-national review of the research evidence.University of Sussex, Centre for International Education, Consortium for Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity (CREATE).
This literature review synthesises the findings from published reviews and key individual studies of health, nutrition and educational access with a particular emphasis on issues of gender, poverty, social exclusion and innovative practices. It discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the range of research designs and methods employed in these studies and the theoretical models of health and education that lie behind the studies and identifies knowledge gaps that could be filled by new empirical research. It also draws implications from the literature review for the further conceptual development of the CREATE Zones of Access model and for the design of future empirical studies paying special attention to school and community-based studies and identifying questions that could be included in household and school survey instruments. (Abstract by author)
Document available online

UIS (2005) Children Out of School: Measuring Exclusion from Primary Education.Montreal, UIS-UNESCO.
The main purpose of this report is to provide joint global and regional estimates of primary school-age children who are out of school. Until now, international organizations have released varying figures based upon various data and methodologies. This report seeks to avoid this confusion by working jointly on global and regional results based upon a range of data sources. (Abstract an extract from the paper) Document available online


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