DFID’s Education Programmes in Three East African Countries

During the decade 2005-15, DFID will spend over £1billion of bilateral aid on education in three East African countries: Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania. This review assesses how well that money is being spent.

DFID has focused on expanding access to basic education and has succeeded in boosting enrollment substantially. There has, however, been a lack of attention to learning outcomes and to the trade-off between increasing access and ensuring quality. As a result, the quality of education being provided to most children is so low that a large majority is failing to achieve basic literacy and numeracy. We are pleased to note DFID’s new commitment to improving education outcomes but its recent strategies and approaches will need considerable improvement to rise to this challenge.

As a result of our findings this review has been marked Amber-Red.


Recommendation 1: DFID should revise its 2010 strategy for education to ensure that learning outcomes are at the heart of its support through all levels of the education delivery chain.

Recommendation 2: DFID should revise its pilots on results-based aid by working with ministries of education to introduce a results focus into national funding for districts and schools.

Recommendation 3: DFID should continue to expand its support for communities to enable them to monitor and promote education, so as to encourage accountability, the widest possible participation and public debate.

Recommendation 4: DFID should strengthen its capacity-building in ministries of education to improve the value for money of their education systems. This should involve enhanced analysis (including tracking funds and comparing in-country unit costs and learning outcomes), evaluation, forecasting and application of international good practice.