Input versus Output funding

You need one hour to complete this activity.

  1. Think about and discuss with a colleague what you consider to be the advantages and disadvantages of input and output-based funding.
  2. Which mode would you prefer in your context and why?
  3. Post your ideas in the discussion forum, and reply to one other post.
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I believe output-based funding is better and more effective than input-based funding. If we look at the developed countries’ scheme in this case, we can see that most developed universities and education institutes insist on output-based funding. For example, in universities by writing research proposals we can attain output-based funds which are used in the university to develop equipment and teaching/learning activities. The results of this type of funds can be clearly observed in the quality of teaching and learning of students and the scientific outputs of the institute.


As I mentioned earlier, Open Schooling is not yet introduced formally into the education system at the school levels in Kiribati.

Despite that, in my view the “Input-based funding” approach is applicable in the context of Open Schooling system when introduced in Kiribati. This is because in the traditional face-face mode of schooling, the government is currently using an “input-based funding” approach where the government is subsidizing student’s fees in schools and provide the schools with free of students school stationery based on student’s enrollments. Therefore, if the government wishes to introduce an open schooling in Kiribati, I believed that the ‘input-based funding’ approach will be applicable as a system of funding in the open schooling system.

I would prefer output-based funding because, it is based on the meeting the funding agency needs, which will make the school management to work extra hard in other to get more or appropriate funding. It is equally based on students’ performance output, as such the school management will ensure students excel in other to secure enough funding as set targets are met. This will ensure quality and excellence in the overall activity of the school.

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You are right, but attention is not paid on students’ performance.

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Input and out-put based funding refer approaches in financing public services or projects. The former entails providing resources (inputs) such as funding, staff, equipment, and infrastructure to an organization or agency responsible for delivering public services or projects. The latter involves linking the funding provided to specific outcomes (outputs) or performance targets. Funding in the latter sense is typically tied to the achievement of specific targets, such as number of children admitted from a location where formal education is abhorred.

Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. For instances, the in-put model provides stable and predictable funding for public services or projects, and allows for long-term planning and investment in infrastructure and other resources. However, the model may neither be responsive to changes in demand or need for services, nor reward organizations for good performance or achieving positive outcomes. On the other hand, the output-based funding has strength in rewarding organizations for achieving positive outcomes and meeting performance targets, as well as encouraging innovation and experimentation to find the most effective ways to deliver services or achieve goals. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to set appropriate performance targets and measure outcomes accurately in the out-put model. In fact, it may not provide stable or predictable funding, which can make it difficult for organizations to plan and invest in infrastructure and resources.

In the context of Nigeria, the input-based funding has been mostly used, hence dependence on government financing is common and rampant. The model has not allowed performance based attraction of funding. In some cases, funds are provided for ineptitude of workers. Since the two models are not mutually exclusive, a hybrid model that combines elements of both could be the most appropriate for Nigeria, where funding is made available in part and a stern monitoring and evaluation systems is required for further disbursement.

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Your view is great, the only issue being the resources that “will make the school management to work extra hard in other to get more or appropriate funding.” In most cases, in Nigeria, the individual workers of the agencies where there are Direct Linked Indicators for fund disbursement survive on subsistent income. Sourcing the project before they achieve Results for disbursement is often a major problem.

Yes, I agreed that it is not based on students’ performance. But it does meet the purpose or objective of an open schooling to cater for the majority of students despite their background and ages.

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Thank you for sharing your insights on the input and output funding models from your experiences. It helped me to get a clear picture and learned well.

Great discussions and ideas raised on input and output-based funding. I see that opinion is divided amongst you, just as is in the different countries. Some of the important points to consider when developing funding policy are that:

  1. Input-based funding is meant to facilitate performance by an educational institution by providing the needed resources. This positions an institution for success, all other factors held constant.

  2. Output-based funding acknowledges and rewards good performance - as a way of encouraging good performance.

I therefore think a hybrid of the two models might be better, as Gabajibola suggests.

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I think Input based learning is good. This will motivate school in enrolling more students. When more students are enrolled, more funding is provided. This fund can be used by the school in the priority areas. Sometimes there are areas where the funds are not allocated or minimum funds are allocated. This will help the school in upgrading those underprivileged areas.

Input-based funding is a type of funding mechanism where financial resources are allocated based on predetermined inputs or activities. it is a method of providing funding to institution on the specific resources that are being used or the tasks that are being performed.
In the context of open distance education, input-based funding may be used to allocate funding to the institution based on the number of students enrolled, the number of teachers employed, or the amount of instructional time provided.

The purpose of input-based funding is to ensure that resources are distributed fairly and efficiently, and that institutions are adequately funded to carry out their designated activities. However, input-based funding may lead to inefficiencies and waste, as institutions may be focused on meeting input targets rather than achieving desired outcomes.


Output-based funding is a type of funding mechanism where financial resources are allocated based on predetermined outputs or results achieved. It is a method of providing funding to an organization or project based on the specific outcomes that are being produced.
In the context of open distance education, output-based funding may be used to allocate funding to institutions based on the academic achievement of students, such as test scores or graduation rates.

The purpose of output-based funding is to enable institution focus on achieving specific outcomes and to ensure that resources are used effectively to produce these outcomes. Output-based funding can also promote innovation and experimentation as organizations seek to find new and more effective ways of achieving desired results.

However, implementing output-based funding can be challenging, as it requires the establishment of clear and measurable targets, as well as mechanisms for tracking progress and evaluating outcomes.

Input-based funding is preferred by me because it guarantees that resources are allocated fairly and effectively and that institutions have enough funding to carry out their intended activities.

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I agree with you. Resources are used for what it is allocated for

Input funding versus output based funding-
I do believe that both types of funding have many advantages and disadvantages, maybe a model of merging the two can be very useful. Again, with this type of learning platform, it depends on the country’s needs and requirements so in my country this has only been explored on a small scale and face to face learning is still preferred.
My preference for funding will be output based funding, since the funding is based on students performance and completion of programs. It will limit some persons who have challenges to complete within a specified timeframe. But I think quality assurance is important and not just having a large number of enrollment of students and the quality of services are compromised.
It is for this reason I taught that a hybrid model of funding between the two can be equally useful, since it can address concerns of underprivileged persons who needs funding based on number of person enrolled in the platform but it can also address the quality of service when looking at performance driven output based approach. So looking at combining aspects of both models can be useful to fit the purpose of learning for some countries’ needs and requirements.

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Input based feeding is after quantity and may compromise quality. Output based is about quality but may affect access by minority groups who are disadvantaged in one way or another.

I would prefer input based funding

Input-based funding is a funding is based on the resources and inputs required to deliver a particular educational program or service. Funding is allocated based on the number of students enrolled, the number of courses or programs offered, and the resources required to deliver these courses, rather than on the actual performance or success of the program.

Input-based funding is commonly used in distance education programs, where the costs of delivering courses can vary depending on the type of program, the technology required, and the resources needed to support student learning.

The government creates financial incentives for institutions to produce results in certain areas such as increasing graduation rates for women, retention of minority students and accelerating research output.

Input-based funding advantages: Provides stability for institutions, fosters planning and budgeting, supports equal resource allocation. Disadvantages: May not incentivize efficiency, discourages innovation, can lead to wasteful spending.

Output-based funding advantages: Encourages performance and outcomes, fosters innovation, aligns resources with results. Disadvantages: May encourage gaming the system, neglect other important aspects, create pressure for educators.

Input-based funding and output-based funding are two different approaches to financing education and other services. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them often depends on the specific context and goals of the education system. Here’s an overview of these two funding models:

Input-Based Funding:


  1. Stability: Input-based funding provides a stable and predictable budget for educational institutions. Schools can plan resources and staffing accordingly.
  2. Equity: It can help address historical disparities by ensuring that all schools receive a minimum level of funding, regardless of performance.
  3. Adequate Resources: Input-based funding can ensure that schools have the necessary resources, such as qualified teachers, facilities, and learning materials.


  1. Lack of Incentives: Schools may lack incentives to improve performance or efficiency since funding is not directly tied to outcomes.
  2. Potential Inefficiencies: Without incentives for cost-effectiveness, it can lead to inefficiencies and a misallocation of resources.
  3. Limited Accountability: The focus on inputs rather than outcomes may result in less accountability for educational outcomes.

Output-Based Funding:


  1. Accountability: Output-based funding ties resources to educational outcomes, encouraging schools to strive for better results.
  2. Efficiency: Schools have an incentive to use resources efficiently to achieve positive outcomes, which can lead to cost savings.
  3. Flexibility: Schools have the freedom to tailor their strategies to achieve desired outcomes, fostering innovation.


  1. Inequity: Schools in disadvantaged areas or with historically lower performance may struggle to achieve desired outcomes, leading to resource disparities.
  2. Teaching to the Test: Overemphasis on output-based funding may encourage teaching to standardized tests at the expense of broader educational goals.
  3. Complex Measurement: Accurately measuring educational outcomes can be challenging, and it may not capture the full spectrum of educational achievements.

The preference for input-based or output-based funding in a specific context depends on various factors, including the education system’s goals, resources, and the level of development. In some cases, a combination of both approaches might be most effective. For example, input-based funding can ensure that schools have a basic level of resources, while output-based funding can be used to incentivize and reward schools for improved performance. This blended approach seeks to strike a balance between stability and accountability.

Ultimately, the choice between the two models should align with the specific goals of the education system, taking into account the need for equity, efficiency, accountability, and educational quality.

I think this is a difficult question. Output funding is ideal because the stakeholders have something to work towards. But there are so many variables that impact output sometimes so I think that both are needed. Input funding is needed to get the outputs. So maybe initially have input funding but then over time move to output funding.