Two decades of research into educational production functions have produced startlingly consistent results: Variations in school expenditures are not systematically related to variations in student performance. Enormous differences in teacher quality exist, but differences in teacher skill are not strongly related to educational backgrounds, amount of teaching experience, or teaching in small classes. Further, more skilled teachers simply are not regularly paid more than less skilled teachers. These findings suggest that school decision making must move away from traditional “input directed” policies to ones providing performance incentives. The concentration on expenditure differences in, for example, school finance court cases or legislative deliberations, appears misguided given the evidence.
Until recently, education spending has enjoyed healthy year-on-year increases, but that is set to change. Along with most areas of government spending, education spending is set to shrink over the current Spending Review period. What will be the size of the total cuts and how will they be shared across different areas of education spending? Somewhat surprisingly, the answers to these questions cannot be easily found in current data published by the government.
In this Briefing Note, we produce new estimates of the likely cuts to overall Student spending on education in the Nigeria up to 2014-15. We have also pieced together various published plans for grants and specific components of education spending. This provides the most comprehensive analysis of the pattern of cuts across different areas of education spending published to date. We also analyse which types of schools are likely to see the largest increases in funding and which are likely to see real-terms cuts.
Throughout this Briefing Note, we focus on changes to the financial inputs into the education system rather than the outputs from it, such as young people’s exam results or earnings potential. We are concerned about the level of these inputs, of course, to the extent that they translate into the desired outputs. One would generally expect lower levels of financial inputs to make it tougher to deliver improvements in such outputs. Furthermore, even if there are offsetting improvements in the productivity of the inputs into education, such improvements could well have taken place in the absence of cuts to those financial inputs.