4.3 Costing

The financial aspects of a teacher policy must be examined in the early stages of its development. Failure to effectively link policy-making and national budgetary processes is one of the main contributors to ineffective policy implementation. For instance, neglecting to consider the funding aspect of a policy could result in ‘unfunded mandates’.

To strengthen linkages between policy, planning and budgeting, many countries rely on a multi-year budgeting process, which often takes the form of a medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) (Box 4.7).


  • Baseline budgets: Understand the cost of policy commitments by rigorous analysis;
  • Programme evaluation: Understand which policies work and which do not, and why;
  • Fiscal space: Forecast the amount of additional resources that can be allocated to implement new polices.
Source: Elaboration by the authors

Sector MTEFs are integrated into national multi-year fiscal frameworks, ensuring that resources are allocated for policy priorities within the national budget and within a reasonably long-term framework. This can be significant, particularly in developing countries, where most of the resources are often committed to existing programmes, and financing new policy implementation is difficult.

Financing a new policy depends on the priority given to the problem, the costs and the availability of resources to implement the policy. New policies’ priority within the long- and medium-term education sector plans must be clearly defined. Moreover, the new policy needs to be carefully and realistically budgeted.Footnote 29 MoEs may need to strengthen their technical capacity for financial policy modelling, costing and gathering of financial data (Clarke, 2010). When considering the costs of the policy process, costing of the implementation phase of the process should be included (UNESCO, 2007).

Well-considered financial planning of policies can contribute to the development of sustainable and effective teacher policies. Different countries have adopted different strategies in costing teacher policies: in Kenya, for example, costing involved an analysis of existing resources and sources of potential additional funding for the policy process (Box 4.8).


Several aspects of costing were involved in developing the 2005 Kenya Education Policy. First, potential sources of available resources were identified, such as donor agencies and institutions interested in the issue being explored. Examining existing collaborations between government and other organizations, such as local authority trust funds and World Bank-funded projects, incorporated an appreciation of ongoing projects and how any new policy development would impact them in the short- or long-term.

Analysing these relationships and coordinating new and ongoing resources was seen as crucial to developing and implementing a cost-effective policy. When drafting the policy, costs for each policy objective were thus estimated, including every one of its elements, such as retention schemes, human resources, curriculum development, etc. The costs were estimated for the proposed lifetime of the policy, taking into account how long it was expected to run.

Source: Kenya: Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 2005.

In South Africa, costing also involved considering the legal responsibilities of the institutions involved in funding education policies (Box 4.9).


The Integrated Strategic Framework for Teacher Education and Development was jointly developed by the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education and Training. Costing the policy involved gathering information on several aspects:

  • Legal advice on funding mechanisms was solicited from the legal team of the DoE
  • Information was collected about sources, such as state budgetary allocations for teacher training
  • Documents, such as budget statements, were analysed
  • Discussions about available finances for teacher development were held with the provincial education departments, universities and national student financial aid programmes
  • There were also consultations about available resources with officials of the Ministry of Finance, who were helpful in providing accurate information about available funding opportunities.

This wide-ranging analysis provided information about available resources, where and how they could be accessed or utilised.

Source: adapted with permission for the South Africa: Department of Basic Education and Department of Higher Education and Training, 2011.

Potential barriers to taking such an approach – such as lack of transparency about available resources – must be considered. Thus, costing the policy process includes identifying all elements and the main objectives of the policy involved. All the objectives, and the actions needed to achieve them, are costed individually.

4.2 Roles and responsibilities

4.4 Conditions for successful teacher policy development