Tools And Methods

The ideal school – paying twice for education

The ideal school – paying twice for education

The idea that tax-pays-for-education is explored through a school mapping activity.


  • To explore links between paying taxes and having services.
  • To understand that a ‘public’ service is not a government gift but something we all have helped pay through tax.
  • To understand the idea of paying tax twice

Steps in the process

  1. Prepare a flip chart. Ask a volunteer to draw a school.
  2. Ask children to draw/write the elements that a nice school needs. For instance, teachers, water, toilets, etc… Use one post-in (or card) per element and stick it to/put it on the flip chart.
  3. The facilitator now draws three columns or spaces below the school drawing, with the titles ‘family’, ‘government’ and ‘NGOs’. A column for ‘none/does not exist’ can be added if needed. Ask participants to find a symbol for each and/or write the words down.
  4. Now take one of the post-it/card, for instance, teachers. Ask who pays for teachers in their school.
    • Is it the families? The government? If teachers are not paid or there are no teachers, move the card to ‘none’.
  5. Do the same with the rest of cards.
  6. The facilitator explains that families help the government keep schools through a payment called tax. However, the government sometimes does not use that money for schools, leaving them in bad conditions. Families again have to pay twice for a service they have already paid for, either by supporting public schools with fees and other payments and/or by paying for private ones.
  7. Come back to the school drawing and the columns and discuss:
    • What is the situation in your area? Is the government putting the people’s money into the schools? Is it doing its share?

Ideas for action

  • Ask students to write ‘tax-pays-for’ stickers in at least three basic elements of the school that the government, using people’s money, should ensure. Lobby them on these. Link to other schools. This tool can be compared to other parents and teachers scorecards (which may have other priorities).
  • You may also review the Promoting Rights in Schools charter of 10 rights.


  • ActionAid's Tax Power Campaign Reflection-Action Toolkit, ActionAid, December 2015.
  • Promoting Rights in Schools, ActionAid, 2011.


Do you have a comment or question about this Tool or Method? Discuss it with the rest of the community.

Kas Sempere Wed Oct 16 at 16:10:28 0 like
If used with students, they need to be old enough to be able to categorise in abstract categories. Wont probably work with little ones. Drawing is nice to involve participants but perhaps need to keep a limited time for this!

Filipe Sambo Mon May 17 at 03:05:44 0 like
I need know more about this tool


Here you can download some useful resources.

We have used this tool or method

Used in these toolboxes