cost of education
How much does it actually cost to build and run a school in some of the world’s poorest countries?

Everything comes back to education: areas that are the most overpopulated are also the poorest and least educated. Children that don’t receive an education will most likely spend a lifetime in extreme poverty, and, chances are, they will not educate their own children. So how much is the actual cost of education?

1. Angola

Lynn Cole, a resident of Illinois, runs RISE International – an organization that builds schools for as little as $12,000. Fueled by donations, the residents of Angola construct and run the school themselves.

2. Kenya

In January 2003, as an attempt to raise school enrollment, Kenya’s government eliminated fees and wrote a policy that provides textbooks and notebooks to schools. While more children are in school now because of this new policy, the cost of school uniforms has sky-rocketed. Each school has its own uniform, and discharges students who are not wearing one.  The average cost of school uniforms in Kenya is now $5.59 for girls and $6.10 for boys.

3. Nigeria

Similar to Kenya, formal school fees are no longer levied. However, books and uniforms now cost much more than they did previously, jumping from $1.63 per uniform to $4.22.

4. Bangladesh

CO-ID (Co-Operation In Development Australia Inc.) led by Fred Hyde, builds schools in the poorest areas of Bangladesh. Donation-run, it costs $8,000 to build a charity school, and another $8,000 each year to keep it running.

5. Congo

In the village of Butembo, about 75% of the population live on less than $2 a day. The average annual school fee per child is $25-$35 for primary school and $30-$50 for secondary school, which means that for most children, school isn’t an option.

6. Liberia

A school without an educated teacher benefits no one, meaning that teachers are often a school’s largest expense. To sponsor a teacher through the basic Liberian Teacher Training costs $120. To provide latrines for a school costs $500. The cost of 3-days residential teacher training for 60 teachers is $1,000. Aside from their training, the materials used by teachers also cost more than what is used by students. The books to teach a child for one year cost $8; a mathematics or science text book for one teacher costs $15.

7. Cameroon

Through the organization Building Schools for Africa, ten sets of school uniforms cost about $67; the tools and seeds for a school farm run at about $225; textbooks for ten children cost $250; it takes $1,000 to build new toilets; installing drinking water is roughly $1,671; a new classroom costs an average of $6,686.

8. Madagascar

A school that can offer its students at least one meal a day had an increased likelihood of maintaining its enrollment because some students aren’t fed at home. Feeding a school of 580 for 60 days costs $730.

9. Pakistan

A month of education for a child is attained by $10; $120 educates a child for a year; $710 stocks a primary school library; $955 stocks a secondary school library; $1,340 educates a child from KG-Grade X (11 years); $7,775 equips a computer lab; $180,500 supports an entire school for a year.

This demonstrates how much can be done with just a little funding, and how much more complicated running a school is after the initial construction. Contrary to Oprah Winfrey’s extravagant donation-budget, it doesn’t take $40 million to build a school. Sometimes the school already exists and it’s the teacher or the pencils that are missing. Sometimes schooling is available, but children can’t attend because they haven’t been dewormed.

Building a school is the easy part. The hard part is getting parents to send their kids, getting materials like paper, chalk as well as textbooks out to rural areas and maintaining a level of education that prepares student to be future leaders in their community.

– Lydia Caswell

Sources: Young Lives, Global Giving, Illinois Review, Fred Hyde, IRIN News, Ethnics Daily, SIM, Schools for Africa
Photo: Huffington Post