Education is compulsory from age 6 to age 11 until primary schooling is complete. Only primary education is free for all children, while secondary education is subsidised. The school-age population is 4.1 million at the primary level and 4.02 million at the secondary level.
Regarding financing mechanisms, the central government transfers most education funds directly to sub-regional levels (i.e., divisions and inspectorates), then to primary and secondary schools, bypassing regional authorities. The regional delegations (regional level) do not receive education funds for the schools nor transfer education funds to schools.
The way the central government determines regional allocations does not reflect actual needs at the regional or school levels. Financial transfers do not always consider the number of classrooms and teachers in each region or adapt quickly enough to enrolment surges, leaving resource-poor schools disadvantaged.
The expenditure on education was US$ 1.1 billion in 2017 (15.47% of government expenditure). The budget for the education sector in 2016 was XAF 500 billion (US$ 823 million), corresponding to 11.8% of the State budget. Household expenditures on education is 6.7% of total household spending in 2001. Although the constitution guarantees free education for primary school and subsidized education for secondary school, parents pay a variety of administrative and other fees such as books, school supplies, and parent-teacher association dues; many students are required to leave school for periods of time when fees or other costs are not paid.
While the Ministries of basic, secondary and higher education are responsible for implementing education, the Ministry of Social Affairs assesses learners with disabilities through its regional delegations, and issues disability cards so that these learners can benefit from free of tuition fees.
The National Education Sector Plan for 2013-2020 promotes inclusive education and budgeted priority areas including piloting inclusive educations in a selected number of primary schools and pre-school in rural areas and retention of disadvantaged children. The budget for 2018 for inclusive education at the primary level is XAF 367 million (US$ 678 000). The Ministry of Basic Education’s 2018 sector budget on projects is XAF 23 billion (US$ 38 million).
For pre-school development in rural areas, the government has granted XAF 85 million(US$ 140,000, 0.01% of education expenditure in 2018) to the construction and furniture of 10 community pre-schools and XAF 1.5 billion(US$ 2.5 million, 0.23% of education expenditure in 2018) to improve the provision of public pre-school education in 90 school blocks: this includes equipment, construction of classrooms, fences, sanitary blocks, and rehabilitation of buildings).
Regarding access and equality in primary education, the government has allocated XAF 20 billion (US$ 33 million; 3.08% of the education expenditure in 2018) to the Democratization of Primary Education Program3. The program includes support for priority areas and inclusive education in 68 experimental primary schools.
Regarding the literacy program, the government has granted XAF 145 million (US$ 240,000, 0.02% of education expenditure) to support literacy activities for adolescents, adults and for children from 8 to 14 years old within impoverished communities4.
Due to the crisis of the education sector in Cameroon in recent years, due to the influx of refugees from neighbouring countries and the increase in the number of persons internally displaced by Boko Haram, the Global Partnership for Education has allocated US$ 7.8 million in accelerated funding for the Education Support in Emergency Situations Project for the 2019-2020 period. The project has 2 components: 1) Strengthen the reception capacities of the host schools most affected by the crisis, stimulate demand for education, enrol more refugees, and ensure their retention in school. 2) Establish inclusive and protective learning conditions. The project document mentions the project will benefit 292 thousand students, including a specific component for girls. The budget is divided as follows: US$ 3.2 million for construction and furniture (40.68%), US$ 2.9 million for capacity building (37.74%) and US$ 1.7 million for follow-up, management, and evaluation (21.58%).
The World Bank has funded the Education Reform Support Project with a budget of US$ 130 million, for the period 2018-2023, targeting disadvantaged areas, which include refugee-affected areas and rural areas.. According to the project document, there are 3 components. 1) Access, quality and education system management in disadvantaged areas with a budget of US$ 95 million. 2) Improve education quality and increase effectiveness and accountability at the school level (with a budget of US$ 15 million). 3) Strengthen institutional capacity and management (with a budget of US$ 20 million). About 5 million students, including 2.5 million girls, will benefit from improved access to quality public primary education and at least 300 schools in regions affected by the presence of refugee populations are expected to benefit from direct support from the project.
There is no publicly available information on this topic.
Starting 2014, the World Bank allocated US$ 50 million for Cameroon’s Social Safety Net Project, to support the establishment of a basic national safety net system including piloting targeted cash transfers and public works programs. The program seeks to ameliorate the living conditions of poor, rural and vulnerable populations. This includes soft conditionalities related to education, health, nutrition and income-generating activities. Recipients are encouraged to provide proper schooling and health care for children and to use the transfers for those ends. 40,000 households benefit from this program, receiving XAF 20,000 (US$ 40) every two months and XAF 80,000 (US$ 160) upon the 6th and 12th payments.