1. Overall education financing mechanisms

2. Policies and programmes to provide resources to schools

3. Education policies and programmes to provide resources to students and families

4. Social policies and programmes to provide resources to students and their families


  1. Overall education financing mechanisms


In 2014, Bolivia spent 7.29 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and 16.84 per cent of its national expenditure on education. The country’s school-age population is currently 4.2 million. In Bolivia, education is compulsory and free for children aged 0–14 years. The State guarantees the provision of financial resources, qualified staff, infrastructure and materials according to the needs of each region.

The education system is funded with resources from the General State Treasury and the autonomous regional entitiesThe Educational Reform Programme (1994) and the Bolivian Poverty Reduction Strategy (2001) determine how financial resources for education are allocated, but there is no formula to determine how educational expenditure is distributed. Educational resources are allocated according to the registered school population. Resources earmarked for infrastructure take into account poverty levels: 70 per cent must be distributed according to poverty criteria, with the remaining 30 per cent distributed equally among the nine departments. Each department must distribute the amount it receives among all its municipalities in line with poverty criteria.   

Likewise, educational spending is divided into three components:  

Centralized expenditure: this is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and includes teacher salaries (who are divided into four groups). Their base salary is determined by the geographical location of the school and the teacher’s level of training. Teachers in rural areas receive between 8 and 20 per cent more in compensation than those in urban areas. Further compensation is added to the base salary according to the teacher’s seniority category. Bonus payments represent an additional 20 per cent (of the base salary). Border bonuses are paid to teachers who work within 50 km of a border and zone bonuses are paid to teachers who work in hard-to-reach areas. Incentives are intended to increase equity and improve the quality of education. There are three types of incentive for teachers: The Incentivo a la Permanencia en el Area Rural [Incentive to Remain in Rural Areas – IPR], the Incentivo Colectivo a las Escuelas [Collective School Incentive – ICE] and the Incentivo a la Modalidad Bilingüe [Bilingual Instruction Programmes Incentive – IMB]. In 2001, incentive payments were USD 4.4 million, accounting for 1.7 per cent of annual spending on salaries in initial, primary and secondary education. 

Decentralized expenditure: This is the responsibility of municipal governments and includes both recurrent and capital expenditures, such as spending on school breakfasts or on high-quality education. The level of expenditure and investment depends on municipal revenues, which are made up of tax redistribution transfers, municipal revenue, tax and non-tax revenues, and donations. Tax redistribution is the transfer from central to municipal government of taxes collected at the national level. Twenty per cent of national tax revenue is transferred to municipal governments and is distributed according to the number of inhabitants in each municipality.  

Targeted spending: This is the responsibility of municipal governments. It uses the financial resources of the Bolivian Poverty Reduction Strategy’s Dialogue 2000 Special Account, which are distributed as follows: 20 per cent to improve the quality of education services; 10 per cent to improve the quality of health; and 70 per cent for economic and social infrastructure. 

Finally, the National Programme on Complementary School Feeding (PNACE 2015–2020) is implemented by the Ministry of Education and aims to benefit all students in the country.  In 2012, 2.1 million students (89.4 per cent of all students in the public system) benefited from this programme. In 2011, programme expenditure totalled USD 69.3 million (BOB 479.8 million). i.e. 4.81 per cent of public spending on education.


  1. Policies and programmes to provide resources to schools


National Post-Literacy Programme “Yo, Sí Puedo Seguir” [Yes, I Can Continue – PNP]  

This is a Ministry of Education programme aimed at people aged over 15 years who have not been able to enter or remain in the regular education subsystem. The programme strengthens beneficiaries’ humanistic, technical and productive knowledge and skills. In 2017, it benefited 326,132 people, mainly in peri-urban and rural areas. In 2015, 16 per cent of the Ministry of Education budget was invested in this programme.   

Integrated educational support centres 

This is a Ministry of Education programme aimed at children who live in prisons with their parents or who visit their parents in prisons (prison-based integrated educational support centres) and hospitalized children and adolescents aged between 3 and 14 years (integrated educational centres in hospital classrooms). The programme is intended to improve school performance and ensure continuity in the schooling of hospitalized children and adolescents. It is financed by the National Treasury and the basket fund. In 2016, the Government invested USD 636,767 (BOB 4.4 million), i.e. 0.001 per cent of GDP in the programme, reaching 1,446 children and adolescents in 16 centres.


  1. Education policies and programmes to provide resources to students and families


Solidarity scholarships for undergraduate study at universities and technical institutes 

The “solidarity scholarships” programme comprises university scholarships distributed by the Ministry of Education and awarded by private universities to students with limited economic means, social organizations, indigenous farming peoples, and intercultural and Afro-Bolivian communities. Between 2016 and 2017, 6,937 scholarships were awarded. Each private university must award scholarships to 10 per cent of students in their annual enrolment. 


  1. Social policies and programmes to provide resources to students and their families


Juancito Pinto Grant 

This is a Ministry of Education conditional cash transfer programme that aims to promote school enrolment, retention and graduation. It is intended for students aged under 21 years in elementary community vocational education or secondary community productive education in public schools who are in grades 1–8. The programme is also aimed at students in special education in public schools or special schools. The annual transfer is USD 28.9 (BOB 200), with the requirement of at least 80 per cent school attendance. In 2018, the entire programme was financed by state-owned public enterprises and, unlike in previous years, funds from the National Treasury were not needed. In 2017, the programme invested USD 65.7 million (BOB 454.5 million), i.e. 0.18 per cent of GDP and benefited 2.18 million students in 1.16 million families (51 per cent of the school-age population).


Last modified:

Mon, 16/08/2021 - 15:41