Promoting the Effectiveness of Public Expenditure in Local Education (PEOPLE)
Basic Project Information
The PEOPLE project aims to improve early childhood education in Cambodia by tracking public spending, collecting information on service quality, and working with communities and service education officials to reform the system.
Methodology / Approach
Improve the quality of early childhood education through strengthened policies and regulations, and an increase in the budget
In order to identify and address problems with the funding and delivery of early childhood education (ECE) in Cambodia, API tracked spending on public pre-schools, surveyed caretakers about their perceptions of ECE, and facilitated collaboration between communities and officials to address problems. The project had three phases:
- Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS) involving surveys of school staff as well as public officials in order to identify any leakages, delays, or other irregularities in the delivery of school funding, as well as school-level financial management.
- A Citizen Report Card (CRC) to assess the experiences and perceptions of student caretakers with regard to the availability, quality, and accessibility of ECE.
- A social audit that brought together education officials, local authorities, and community members to achieve consensus on problems, and identify solutions.
The project team a series found a lack of regulations on when, how often, or how funds for ECE are disbursed from the national level down to the school level, as well as inconsistency in how many funding installments schools received. Transfers were delivered by vehicle and in cash, presenting both an additional cost and leaving them potentially vulnerable to corruption. In addition, problems in the allocation process, including using outdated enrollment statistics to determine school budgets, resulted in some schools receiving insufficient funds. API also identified a series of problems at the school level: one third of caretakers reported having to pay fees for schools that should have been free, and a majority of caretakers were unaware of child assessments. To address these issues, API shared these findings as well as recommendations for reforms with national level education stakeholders as well as international donors, and is also advocating for new regulations to ensure the timely and regular transfer of budgeted funding to schools.
Use of Information Communication Technology
PETS: 37 Schools across 7 districts
CRC: 359 households spread across five provinces
Social audit: 10 communities across five provinces
- The ECE budget increased in 2014
- The Education Ministry created a special funding earmark for school "operational funds" to cover essential school functions, as well as an allowance for school technical meetings