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Cost of the Madrasa ECD Program in East Africa. Juliana Nzomo Regional Program Officer, ECD Aga Khan Foundation. Presentation structure. Brief description of the Madrasa Programme & programme Impact Study methodology Parameters of the costing model Cost per child per month

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cost of the madrasa ecd program in east africa

Cost of the Madrasa ECD Program in East Africa

Juliana Nzomo

Regional Program Officer, ECD

Aga Khan Foundation

presentation structure
Presentation structure
  • Brief description of the Madrasa Programme & programme Impact
  • Study methodology
  • Parameters of the costing model
  • Cost per child per month
  • Conclusion and recommendations
the madrasa ecd programme
The Madrasa ECD Programme
  • A community-based initiative of the Aga Khan Foundation, currently operating in Kenya (1986), Zanzibar (1990) and Uganda (1993)
  • Demand driven – in response to request from Muslim communities in Mombasa to facilitate an improvement in the educational status of children in poor and marginalized communities in the Coast
Programme currently supporting 203 community pre-school centres in East Africa (66 in Kenya, 53 in Uganda and 84 in Zanzibar)
  • The Programme has served over 30,000 children in East Africa (including those currently enrolled), trained over 4,000 pre-school teachers and 2,000 School Management Committee (SMC) members




& signing


Intensive support





programme components
Programme Components
  • Capacity building:
    • Parents and communities;
    • Teachers
    • School Management Committees
    • Community Resource Teams
    • ECD government officials
    • Local government authorities
Curriculum review
    • Parenting
    • Health & nutrition
    • Growth monitoring
    • Special needs education
    • HIV/AIDS
  • Material Development
  • Transition (home to pre-sch to pri)
  • Endowment building
  • Policy support
programme impact
Programme Impact
  • Quantitative & qualitative studies undertaken by the program’s researcher indicate that:
    • Intensive support to teachers and parents enhancing their knowledge and skills to better attend to the needs of children
Children experience a better teaching and learning environment as measured by the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) and acquire better cognitive scores both during preschool and in the lower school grades
  • Initial analysis of an on-going tracking study suggests a higher retention rate and enhanced performance of children who have gone through the program
Community participation in general and, in particular, women’s participation and decision making, both within and outside the home (e.g. school operation and management) has increased.
costing study methodology
Costing study methodology
  • The study attempts to provide a snapshot of the most up-to-date activities associated with the five-year phased approach toward establishing and operating preschools.
The consultant spent a detailed month-long study of the Madrasa Programme in Kenya, Uganda and Zanzibar, including week-long site visits to each of the 3 Madrasa Resource Centers (MRCs).
  • The visits enabled data collection from a variety of quantitative and qualitative sources including:
Working group sessions with technical staff to gain an understanding of the processes involved in and activities for the different phases of the programme as well as to assess the amount of staff time and other MRC resources that were allocated to each required activity for an average community
Working sessions with financial staff (accountants) for an in-depth study of quantitative data including budgeted and actual activity-based expenditures over the years and to allocate appropriate costs to the activities described by the technical staff;
Meetings with the Graduate Association (GA) Coordinators and members of the GA Executive Committee to gain insight into the post-graduation support provided by the GA to the communities;
Working sessions with the Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Liaison Officers (MERLO) to discuss quantitative data requirements pertaining to the costing study and to obtain relevant data on programme statistics, such as number of schools, total enrolment, child-to-teacher ratios, fee structures, dates of joining, signing, and graduation, urban/rural classifications, etc
Focus group discussions with community residents including SMC members, teachers, parents, grandparents, and other local leaders to gather information on community contribution/hidden costs.
  • Meetings with each of the 10 communities included a review of community records such as SMC meeting minutes, community participation records, student and teacher attendance records, etc
Information sources were triangulated using several different data sources (representing the MRCs and the community) for each aspect of the study and through reliance on informal discussions
community selection criteria
Community Selection criteria
  • Length of affiliation with MRC - “newer” communities (that have received 3-4 years of support) were given preference during selection in order to facilitate an understanding of the most up-to-date processes and associated costs
Demographic status of communityas determined by urban/peri-urban/rural classifications – about 80% of the preschools are classified as rural.
  • Termly school fees - However, school fees are not a reliable indicator of absolute economic strength of communities because recovery of fees varies between 40 and 80% in communities.
School size:Typically, the number of teachers per school serves as an indicator for school size and average number of children. The child-to-teacher ratio is 15:1 on average. A small school is staffed by 2 teachers for 30-35 children, a medium school by 3-4 teachers for 40-60 children, and a large school with 5 or more teachers.
Physical school structure: While some new communities rely on the existing Madrasa space during the first one to three years, most communities initiate construction of a new structure, often after signing up with the Madrasa Programme
parameters of the costing model
Parameters of the costing model
  • The costing model for the Madrasa Programme breaks down costs first into two major categories: MRC contribution and community contribution
  • It further classifies these costs as comprising four sub-categories: direct costs, indirect operational costs, indirect infrastructure and set-up costs, and hidden costs
The actual costing model reflects figures in real terms, as of 2006 wherever possible and, where not feasible, in terms of 2005 actuals.
  • A detailed breakdown of the costing categories is as follows:
    • Direct costs: borne by MRC in direct connection to activities undertaken for establishing and operating the community preschools
Indirect costs – Ongoing operational costs, commonly referred to as General Expenses, Overhead, and Operational Costs.
  • Indirect costs include:Core management and administrative salaries; Operational costs (e.g. rent, utilities, maintenance, equipment maintenance, security, audit fees, vehicle fuel)
Infrastructure and setup costs: In the interest of capturing the true cost of establishing preschools, initial capital expenditure related to office set-up at the MRC level has been included in the costing model
  • Hidden costs: community contribution (cash and in-kind).
Community contribution most often takes the form of:
    • admission (one-off registration) and tuition fees (on a termly basis) paid by parents (often used to pay teachers’ salaries and other minor incidental expenses);
    • contribution of parents time and money toward daily feeding programme
income generating activities initiated by SMCs the income from which is used toward the schools operational costs;
  • funds and materials donated by community residents during all stages which may be made available on an ad-hoc basis or via a specific fundraising activity organized by the SMC
time spent by SMC members, teachers, community leaders, parents, and other interested residents on all issues related to the establishment and operation of the preschool
Costs across MRCs are different in the case of Kenya and Uganda and significantly different with respect to Zanzibar owing to variations in several areas including salary levels, cost of living and average enrolment per school
conclusion recommendations
Conclusion & recommendations
  • While it is heartening to note an increasing commitment by governments to provide greater support to ECD; it will be critical that the support is appropriately targeted to ensure quality and sustainability.
Governments are well placed to provide meaningful support to ECD in a cost effective manner relying on existing, multi-sectoral structures and personnel from national to local levels.
  • This would however require streamlining of existing government systems to foster efficiency and coordination in delivery of services.
There exist opportunities for partnerships, both within the various sectors of governments and between governments and non-governmental organizations in providing ECD services.
  • NGOs could take up certain tasks in which they have developed a niche, such as in the area of community mobilization and empowerment with respect to ownership as well as on-going teacher mentoring, while governments could be responsible for teacher training, teachers’ salaries, quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation