This indicator measures the government’s commitment to investing in primary education.
Relationship to Growth & Poverty Reduction
While MCC generally strives to measure outcomes rather than inputs, educational outcome indicators can be very slow to adjust to policy changes, and adequate data on educational quality do not yet exist in a consistent manner across a large number of countries. Therefore, the Primary Education Expenditures indicator is used to gauge the extent to which governments are currently making investments in the education of their citizens. Research shows that, for given levels of quality, well-managed and well-executed government spending on primary education can improve educational attainment and increase economic growth. 1 There is also evidence that the returns to education to an economy as a whole are larger than the private returns. 2 Investments in basic education are also critical to poverty reduction. Research shows that regions that begin with higher levels of education generally see a larger poverty impact of economic growth. 3
UIS attempts to measure total current and capital expenditure on primary education at every level of administration—central, regional, and local. UIS data generally include subsidies for private education, but not foreign aid for primary education. UIS data may also exclude spending by religious schools, which plays a significant role in many developing countries.
Government outlays on primary education include expenditures on services provided to individual pupils and students and expenditures on services provided on a collective basis. Primary education includes the administration, inspection, operation, or support of schools and other institutions providing primary education at ISCED-97 level 1. It also includes literacy programs for students too old for primary school. For FY18, MCC will use the most recent UNESCO data from 2011–2016.