As part of UN Global Pulse’s “Rapid Impact and Vulnerability Assessment Fund,” UNESCO researched the implications of the global financial crisis on school conditions and resources by examining how primary schools, teachers and households adapt and cope with global crises.
While there have been numerous studies on the effects of macroeconomic shocks on households and the demand for schooling, UNESCO examined how macroeconomic shocks trickle down to schools and education delivery. The purpose of this study is to fill the gap by interviewing teachers, pupils and households to examine the possible changes in learning conditions, how the respondents feel the economic crisis impacted them, their schools and their households and how respondents coped with these issues.
The study incorporates a comparative case-study approach involving 12 countries: Armenia, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Chad, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritania, Mexico, Paraguay and Ukraine. The surveys covered themes including school conditions and resources, employment issues, child schooling/labour and household income and expenditures.
A total of 297 primary schools were visited in the twelve countries, representing an average of 25 schools per country. Research teams conducted 4,282 surveys total, with 292 head teachers, 2,556 teachers and 1,434 parent/guardians. Preliminary findings from six countries point to the following: schools appear to be prone to charging user fees during times of economic difficulty despite global advocacy and national legislation on free primary education. Initial findings show no clear indication that enrollment and pupil’s school trajectories were much affected in sampled schools. There were, however, signs of potential indirect effects of the crisis on the quality of teaching and teachers’ commitment to their work.
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