Inequity in a decentralised education system – evidence from Poland
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Decentralisation of education is associated with risk of increased spatial inequality in terms of inputs and the quality of service, as with other public services. Most countries attempt to prevent inequality both through establishment of national standards for educational services and the redistribution of financial resources to neutralise the effect of uneven local tax bases. This study investigates the effectiveness of these measures in Poland. Using panel data at a municipal level, it was shown that, despite the various compensatory instruments employed by central government, the local tax base significantly influences local spending on lower secondary schools. Average teaching time and additional services offered to students were compared between the most affluent and the poorest Polish gminas (municipalities). The findings indicated that teaching time did not vary significantly according to prosperity. Also, there was no significant difference in the mean teacher hourly wage. However, more affluent and poorer municipalities differed with respect to individual support and additional services offered to students.
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