Evaluating Education Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Uganda and Tanzania

Project Description

Being orphaned or made vulnerable due to the death or acute illness of one or both parents plays a role in whether a child goes to school. Orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Africa generally have lower rates of enrollment, attendance, and school performance than non-orphaned and less vulnerable children. In many African countries, half the children enrolled at the end of primary school do not continue to the secondary level. The low transition rate into secondary schools is partially a result of caregivers not being able to afford to pay for a child’s education. Secondary schools are rarely free and students must pay for tuition as well as books, uniforms, examination fees, and other school-related expenditures.

One current intervention aimed at improving school attendance and performance is to grant cash to the child’s caregivers or a scholarship to the individual child to cover educational costs. Another way to support OVC education is to provide “block grants” to affected schools so that they can waive tuition for OVC and implement school-based programs to assist them. Advocates claim that the block grant approach is less costly per child and more effective, but no evidence exists to document this.

This CGHD study aims to compare educational outcomes from the two approaches that support OVC education in secondary schools—block grants to the schools, or cash supplements and/or scholarships to the OVC or their families. If a clear answer is obtained, funding for OVC from the PEPFAR initiative might be shifted to the mechanism (block grants, scholarship) which proves most effective.

This project is one activity of the CGHD’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children—Comprehensive Action Research project (OVC-CARE).

Project Details

Principal Investigator Malcolm Bryant
Boston University Co-Investigators Mary Shann, Boston University School of Education
  • Boston University School of Education (SED)
  • Paul Bukuluki, Makerere University, Uganda
  • Joe Lugalla, Centre for Strategic Research and Development, Tanzania
Country(ies) Uganda, Tanzania
Dates of Research 2009–2011