Saturday, January 13, 2007

Value for money!

In 2006 the School of St Jude educated 700 primary age children at a cost of $1,000,000. That is $1,429 per student. This amount includes all expenses associated with running the school, including capital works (purchase of 30 acres and new building of 10 classroom block).

Classroom block nearly complete, December 2006

In comparison, in 2005 the NSW Education department educated 1.1 million students (primary, secondary and TAFE) at a cost of $10,145,000,000; that is $9,900 per student. This also includes all expenses associated with running educational institutions, except, of course that in NSW capital works take up a much smaller proportion of the overall budget than the rapidly expanding School of St Jude.

It seems to me that the School of St Jude offers donors excellent value for money.

We can only wonder at what Tanzania could achieve if it had the same resources for education that NSW has. I regularly read announcements of aid to Tanzania amounting to hundreds of millions – for example the British government gave $275 million in 2005/06. It seems like a lot of money. But it is very little compared with the $10,000 million every year that NSW spends on its 1.1 million students.

I have heard people say that aid has not worked – Africa is still a basket case despite all the aid given over the years. But when you compare the amounts given to African countries for education with the real amount that it costs developed countries to offer the same service, we can see that the aid given is miniscule. It is not enough to improve anything, in fact it hardly serves to maintain the poorest of possibilities.

So, let’s get on with the job of sharing the resources that we were lucky to be born into. Your support of the School of St Jude will make a massive difference to hundreds of children and their families. These well-educated children will grow up to be thoughtful citizens and future leaders of Tanzania.

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