Education systems need to raise sufficient revenues to ensure that, if used efficiently, students may reach appropriate learning goals at each education level. In general, countries raise revenues for education through three broad sources: international, public and private. A big challenge for many countries is raising sufficient revenues to expand enrollment while maintaining, or even raising, school quality. While increasing efficiency in the use of resources is necessary, countries are looking also to additional funding sources such as subnational levels of government and the private sector, including households. The sources of funding and the mechanisms through which revenues are raised have implications for adequacy, sustainability, and equity in education finance. To understand how education systems generate revenues for learning, it is useful to address the following questions:
1. Where do revenues for education expenditure come from?
Across countries, governments raise much of the funding for public education through broad based taxes such as those on value added, income or property, or taxes on specific types of transactions or activities.. However, the amount of revenues that governments raise depends on a variety of factors, notably national fiscal capacities. In low‐income countries where tax collection effort is often low and inconsistent, and in crisis or post‐crisis situations where state capacity is limited, the means for domestic education financing is limited and reliance on international aid is crucial (Inter‐Agency Network for Education in Emergencies 2008). Similarly, school fees or direct household payments are prevalent in primary and secondary schools around the world. While school fees may provide a much‐needed source of revenues for the education system, in many low‐income countries they represent a disproportionate burden on the poor (Jimenez and Lockheed 1996; Jimenez and Paqueo 1996; Bentaouet Kattan 2006).
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