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2 Sep 2009

Peru: Reforming financial policy in the education sector

The heading of this article posted by the GTZ on 10 March 2008 caught my eye in all conscience. Nowadays, Peruvian teachers of state schools are really concerned in empowering their cognitive, linguistic, communicative, and pedagogical competences attending in-service teachers training courses offered by Peruvian universities. The PRONAFCAP is being developed thanks to funds the Peruvian Ministry of Education has allocated in supplementary budgets over the last three years. However, we must be aware of a great deal of teachers are being trained inadequately because of deficit of well prepared trainers. In spite of this cruel reality, the Peruvian Government continues investing huge amounts of money in the “new” education reform. I think, a reform should start from the authorities of the Ministry of Education to every member of schools. What do you think? Here you are the article:

Achieving equal opportunity while reducing poverty
Money alone is not enough to improve a country’s education system. But without adequate funding for school buildings, technical equipment, teaching materials and teacher training, education reform is doomed to failure from the very outset. The Peruvian Government is well aware of this: for its planned reform of the education system, it has put a new distribution key for budgetary funds at the top of the agenda.
Last year, on behalf of BMZ, GTZ advised the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Education on budget planning and implementation. “So far, allocation of funds to Peruvian schools has been based on teacher numbers alone,” reports Janos Zimmermann, head of the advisory programme “Good governance and inclusion”. “This meant that schools in rich areas always received more money, which just exacerbated the country’s education gap.” Schools in poor, rural areas have classes that are full to bursting and employ inadequate numbers of teachers, most of whom are poorly trained.
Now, for the approximately seven million school children there is hope. Following the example of its neighbour Ecuador, the Peruvian Government has boosted funding for the primary school sector to USD 90 million in a supplementary budget for 2008. “What is even more significant, however, is that criteria such as population figures, the region’s poverty rate, the condition of school facilities and the number of classes and pupils are now the key factors in allocating funds,” Mr Zimmermann reports. This will ensure that, in future, funding will get to where it is urgently needed.
By the end of June 2008, over 40,000 schools are to benefit from this programme. As of this year, the funds are transferred directly to school head teachers, who are responsible for how they are used. Two newly established committees, consisting of representatives from parents’ associations and the mayor, will ensure that the allocation of funds is carried out appropriately. “With this innovative distribution and monitoring system,” says Mr Zimmermann, “the government is showing its commitment to finding grass-roots solutions. And with a better school system that benefits children from poorer backgrounds in particular, we will be able to improve their chances of escaping the vicious circle of poverty and inadequate education”.