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Addressing Challenges in Financing Secondary Education

Bangkok, Thailand: UNESCO Bangkok’s EPR (Education Policy and Reform) Unit held a regional expert group meeting, entitled: ‘Financing Secondary Education in the Asia-Pacific Policy Research”, at UNESCO Bangkok, 17-18 March 2011. The meeting is a part of a broader policy research project implemented by UNESCO Bangkok’s Education Policy and Reform Unit on financing secondary education in the region, which receives financial support from the Government of Japan.

The topic has proven to be extremely important to many countries in the Asia-Pacific region given that many have already achieved universal primary education and now face challenges in extending access and increasing the quality of secondary education and adequate resource allocations need to be mobilized and allocated.  The regional expert group meeting was attended by experts from 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region from academia, government ministries and research institutions, who have been participating in the above policy research.

Secondary education is more complex than primary education due to its wide range of delivery options, increased private involvement, etc.  As there is limited data on secondary education—and specifically, on the topic of financing—UNESCO Bangkok developed a questionnaire survey—“Financing Secondary Education in Asia and the Pacific Questionnaire Survey”—to collect more refined data at the country-level in order to better understand different country cases.  As one of the objectives of the meeting, participants discussed the progress of the questionnaire survey and to specifically learn how to resolve bottlenecks in the data collection process.   UNESCO Bangkok also shared the preliminary findings of the questionnaire survey and the findings of a desk review commissioned by UNESCO Bangkok at the meeting.

Participants also exchanged and discussed good practices with each other on how to finance secondary education—including decentralisation of governance, various methods in formula funding, optimizing current activities and cost-sharing with households and the private sector.  For instances, in Kyrgyzstan, the country is now optimizing the use of the curriculum to lower education costs, and in Australia, the government has been instituting performance-pay based initiatives in the education sector.

The ultimate goal of the meeting and the project is to collect pertinent data and information and analyze them to draw lessons and assist Member States build the capacity needed to ensure proper financing of secondary education to increase access and quality. A regional synthesis report is planned to be published later this year.

For more information, contact Miki Nozawa at m.nozawa [at] or Hai Tiet at h.tiet[at]