Out of Pocket: How much are parents paying for public education that should be free?

Policy brief for ActionAid (August 2017)

According to international human rights law, primary education should be free of charge, and secondary education should be made progressively free. Yet in developing countries education is rarely entirely free: despite international obligations, many states continue to impose fees to access primary education. At the same time, families, many among the poorest in the world, have to pay the ‘indirect’ costs of education, such as for school books, uniforms or school maintenance. This briefing provides new figures on the costs incurred by parents when sending their children to school. These costs must be paid by the state, and no child should ever be denied access to education because of inability to pay the fees. Governments need to invest much more in providing a quality education for all their children – one which is truly free.

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