This paper analyses public spending on education in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia over recent years, with a particular focus upon primary schooling. It identifies regional expenditure trends since 1980, and provides more detailed comparative data for selected countries over the 1990-95 period.
It shows that the achievement of high enrolment ratios has been associated not only with high priority being assigned to public expenditures on primary schooling, but also with the presence of modest unit costs of schooling. Both supply-side and demand-side constraints are important. The paper argues that schooling for all is achievable, even in countries which are amongst the poorest, and where school enrolments are presently very low, provided governments are willing to reform both the private and public costs and efficiency of school systems, and to give expenditures on primary schooling their proper priority.