Publication: How Well Do Catholic and Other Faith-Based Schools Serve the Poor? A Study with Special Reference to Africa: Part I -- Schooling

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Serving the poor is a prime component of the mission of Catholic and many other faith-based schools. Do the schools succeed in doing so? This paper and a companion paper focusing on learning aim to answer this question. In this paper, the focus is on schooling or enrolment in school. The paper considers first global and regional data on the number of students in Catholic preschools and nurseries, primary schools, and secondary schools. The data suggest that Catholic schools are located proportionately more in low-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. However, having schools in low income countries does not guarantee that they serve disadvantaged children. Relying on household survey data from Africa, the second part of the analysis suggests that while Catholic and other faith-based schools reach many children in poverty, they often serve children from better off households proportionately more. The last part of the paper considers the constraints faced by Catholic and other faith-based schools in reaching the poor. Some constraints are shared with other types of schools, but others are peculiar to Catholic and faith-based schools, especially in terms of the funding from households that they need to operate given no or only limited state support.
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