Introductory note. On 13 February 1946, UN General Assembly resolved (on the recommendation of the Preparatory Commission) that an education grant should be payable to expatriate officials who sent their children back to their home country to school.
Provisional conditions for the grant were made in 1946-1947, and more definitive conditions laid down in General Assembly resolution l6l(II) of l947. This provided that the grant should be $200 a year in respect of each child sent back to the home country to school; but it also provided that if expatriate officials preferred to send their children to an international school, or to a special national school in the area of the duty station, then up to the age of 11 years (or 16 if the health of the child precluded its return to the home country) a grant not exceeding $200 could be paid. It was a condition of the grant that the child concerned should also be attracting children's allowance. As a result of various reviews, the conditions of payment and amounts payable have evolved considerably.
Further information on the level of the grant can be found in:
ICSC/R.ll/PART II B "Analytical summary of previous salary reviews", paras. 268-291 (22 July l975)
ICSC annual reports -
A/3l/30, paras. 275-293
A/33/30, paras. 206-247
A/35/30, paras. l49-l58
A/37/30, paras. l92-200
A/38/30, paras. 78-84<
A/40/30, paras. 183-191
A/42/30, paras. 147-154
A/43/30, paras. 74-77
A/44/30, vol. II, paras. 378-407
A/45/30, paras. 240-253
A/47/30, paras. 234-252
A/49/30, paras. 245-273
ACC/1992/PER/R.15 & Add.1;
ACC/1994/PER/R.9 & Add.1
CCAQ discussions on points of substance which remain relevant to the implementation of the system after l983 have been as follows:
(1) At the l2th session (April l952: CO-ORDINATION/R.l24) CCAQ proposed the liberalization of the regulations to permit the payment of education grants at duty stations where there were neither special schools of the nationality of the interested staff members, nor true international schools. At the l3th session (September l952: CO-ORDINATION/R.l32, paras. 23-52) it proposed guiding principles for ACC approval.
(2) At the l8th session (March l957: CO-ORDINATION/R.245) the Committee agreed that, in the case of a child going to school in the home country, where no significant additional expenses were incurred as a consequence of expatriation of the staff member, the entitlement to education grant should be decided individually on the basis of actual circumstances.
(3) At the 20th session (l959: CO-ORDINATION/R.295) CCAQ decided to review, through a working party in l959, the terms and conditions of the grant to achieve simplicity and equity in its administration.
(4) At the first part of the 21st session (April l960: CO-ORDINATION/R.325, paras. l7-25) CCAQ examined the working party report and reached the conclusion that:
(a) the education grant system should not be such as to influence the official in the choice of a school, but should enable him freely to select the education most suited to the needs of the child in the light of the family's expatriation;
(b) the grant should assist the official to meet the extra educational expenses normally incurred through expatriation;
(c) a grant should be payable in respect of each child of an expatriate official who was in full-time attendance at a school, university, or similar institution, but excluding:
kindergarten or pre-primary schools;
free schools (or schools charging only nominal fees) in the country or area of the duty station;
universities in the country or area of the duty station; (Note: see paras. (19) and (20) below).
correspondence courses, except where they were the only available substitute for full-time attendance at schools of a type not available at the duty station;
private tuition, except tuition in the language of the home country, where the duty station contained no school facilities for learning that language;
vocational training or apprenticeships which did not involve full-time schooling, or where the child received any payment for services rendered;
(d) the age-limit of 21 should mean the end of the school year after the 21st birthday was reached. An extension should be allowed in respect of national service interruptions of over one year;
(e) the amount of the grant should be further reviewed;
(f) education travel costs should be payable if the grant itself was payable, except where the official exercised an entitlement to assisted travel to visit dependants. However,
the travel cost should not normally exceed the cost of a journey between duty station and home country (see also paras. (37) and (39) below);
it should not be paid if the timing of the journey was unreasonable in relation to other authorized travel of the official or his dependants, or if the child's visit was too brief in relation to the expense.
(5) At the same session the Committee recorded (CO-ORDINATION/R.325, Annex I) that General Service staff were eligible for education grant if they were also eligible for home leave.
(6) At the second part of the 21st session (August l960: CO-ORDINATION/R.336, paras. l0-l6) CCAQ discussed a draft revised formula regarding the amount of the grant, but agreement was not then possible. The Committee discussed the possibility of extending the age-limit by several years, and also the possibility of liberalizing the choice of university to include those in the country of the duty station; it was decided, however, not to pursue the latter question, but to continue to study the former. Notwithstanding the absence of agreement on the amount, it was decided that each organization would take appropriate action to implement the April l960 agreement (see (4) above) on freedom of choice of school and interpretation of the age-limit.
(7) At its 25th session (l964: CO-ORDINATION/R.451, para. 111) CCAQ agreed that the maximum grant payable for one scholastic year should not be increased because a student followed intensive courses which compressed more than one year's normal tuition into the year.
(8) At its XVIth session (l968) ICSAB recommended (ICSAB/XVI/l), beyond an increase in the amounts, that the conditions regarding age limit should be revised in such a way that the grant would be payable for four years of study at university level, subject to certain conditions. ACC accepted that recommendation, but the XXIIIrd session (l968) of the UN General Assembly (resolution no. 2481 A) did not approve it.
(9) On the basis of a working party report (CCAQ/S.30/R.3) the 30th session of CCAQ (March l969: CO-ORDINATION/R.733, para. 44 and Annex D) agreed that:
(a) the cost of optional courses should be allowed (as part of the expenses for which partial reimbursement could be claimed) provided they were offered by the school as part of its regular programme and they were certified by the school if possible, and the cost included in the school bill;
(b) existing inter-agency provisions should be revised to permit payment of boarding fees when a child attended a school (up to and including secondary level) within the country of the duty station but beyond commuting distance from the duty station, provided that in the opinion of the executive head there were no suitable schools available for the staff member's children in the area of the duty station. This agreement was essentially intended to cover field duty stations, and in remote or isolated places the presumption should normally be that there were no suitable day schools for non-indigenous people, though that presumption might of course be rebutted by facts;
(c) when children attended a school in the country of, but beyond commuting distance from, the duty station, travel expenses should be payable (subject to the normal limitations regarding amount) provided there was an entitlement to the education grant itself (even though the grant itself was nil);
(d) travel expenses should be payable (subject to normal limitations) in the case of attendance at school or university outside the country or area of the duty station provided the child fulfilled the conditions for an education grant (even though the grant itself was nil);
(e) where a child during a single school year attended two schools, one of which was at the duty station and the other way from it, education travel costs might be paid (subject to the normal provisions regarding amounts and periods of attendance) in respect of the latter, provided (i) the child attended for at least one term (one-third of the year) and (ii) in the opinion of the executive head there was valid reason for the change of school;
(f) present definitions restricted reimbursement for local transport expenses to group transport provided by the school. CCAQ agreed that exceptions were justified in respect of group transport organized on a "school-wide" basis (that is, organized for and available to all the pupils at the school) by a concern other than the school itself. In such cases however the staff member must support a claim by a receipted bill from the transport concern and the organization might impose limits of cost equivalent to school bus fares;
(g) the cost of school supplies should not be included in "cost of attendance" except in so far as they might be specifically provided for by the existing definition of cost of attendance.
(10) The 30th session also agreed that:
(a) It was not desirable to seek authority to pay the grant in respect of children at pre-primary schools or kindergartens. Where there was difficulty in determining whether education was primary or pre-primary, it should be presumed to be primary at the age of six years, but if it could be shown that a particular school began primary education at the age of five years, the grant should be payable for that school from that age.
(b) The condition which excluded schools with nominal fees should be changed to a condition under which:
no grant of any sort should be paid towards the cost of attendance at public (State) schools of the country or area of the duty station. This would not preclude payment of the boarding grant and travelling expenses (where the necessary conditions were fulfilled) in the case of attendance at public (State) schools in the home country or elsewhere outside a country of the duty station;
75 per cent of admissible expenses should be reimbursable (up to the statutory maximum) in the case of attendance at private schools regardless of their fees.
(c) There was no legislative authority to pay return travel during mid-school year vacations in addition to normal education travel, when the schools closed during these periods. However, there were grounds for arguing that the organizations should pay for two education travel journeys each year. In the circumstances CCAQ agreed that organizations should amend their rules or practices concerning education travel and/or home leave in such a way as to ensure that education travel was normally permitted for the children in the home leave year. This would provide, for children at school, three reunions with the staff member in two years.
(d) (ICAO dissented from this agreement.) Where a child fulfilled the conditions for the flat rate boarding grant, his entitlement should in no way be affected by the fact that he was living with the staff member's spouse. Where, however, the child was living with a former spouse of the staff member, and otherwise fulfilled the conditions for the flat rate boarding grant, the question whether the grant should be paid would depend on whether the staff member was incurring extra expense on the child's education (including boarding) as a result of his (the staff member's) expatriation. Organizations should determine the facts and settle each case on its merits.
(e) Where the flat rate grant was paid for boarding outside the school it was intended to cover full board. Organizations should not therefore also pay 75 per cent of the cost of lunches or other meals provided by the school and charged for in the school bill.
(f) With respect to the question whether the value of scholarships or grants from outside sources should be deducted from education expenses before the 75 per cent was calculated, CCAQ recognized that staff members might have educational expenses for which not even partial reimbursement was made under the grant formula. All such expenses above $l,333 per annum, for example, came in this category. CCAQ agreed therefore that while the amounts of other grants or scholarships (but not of earnings) of the child must be taken into account, they should be deducted from the total education expenses (including the cost of journeys between the school and duty station which were not paid for by the organization) before the grant by the organization was calculated. In no case should the latter exceed the grant based on admissible expenses only.
(11) The 30th session also discussed whether reimbursement of private tuition for language courses should continue to be restricted to a study of the languages of the home country. It felt that the extension of reimbursement could only be justified in the case of tuition in an additional language necessary to facilitate continued education after expatriation, transfer, or in similar circumstances. Such a change would require legislative action in some organizations and CCAQ agreed that it would not be opportune to seek this in l969.
(12) At its 30th session (March l969: CO-ORDINATION/R.733, paras. 99-101) CCAQ agreed that when an exchange rate changed between the dates on which staff members paid their children's school fees and the date when the organization settled the education grant, the organization should convert the education expenses in currencies other than US dollars into US dollars at the rate in effect on the date or dates the payments were made by the staff member, and the advances or final payments to the staff member should also be calculated at the rate in effect on the date the advances or final payments were made (see paras. (26) and (27) below on "floor provision").
(13) At its 33rd session (March l97l: CO-ORDINATION/R.863, para. 48) CCAQ confirmed the agreement, reached at its 21st session, that education travel should be by tourist or economy class flights at student rates when available.
(14) At its 35th session (March l972: CO-ORDINATION/R.931, paras. 62-63) CCAQ agreed (with ICAO reserving its position as to date of implementation) that:
(a) the rule excluding correspondence courses unless they were the only alternative to full-time attendance at a school of a type not available at the duty station, should not be applied to exclude courses (i) for handicapped children nor (ii) which were required as a result of the staff member's expatriation or change of duty station. CCAQ considered that correspondence courses might be used to supplement as well as to replace full-time attendance at a school, particularly where the curriculum did not include a course necessary for the child's subsequent education;
(b) the rule excluding reimbursement for private tuition except in the mother tongue should be replaced by a rule under which costs of private tuition or coaching (in both cases by duly qualified teachers) might be reimbursed (i) in respect of handicapped children; (ii) to supplement correspondence courses; (iii) for special coaching required in a subject taught by the school, or in an additional subject required for the pursuit of the child's subsequent education.
Where the child was attending a school, organizations may require a certificate from the school to the effect that the coaching was necessary as a result of the child's expatriation or change of duty station, or that it was given in a subject not included in the school curriculum.
UN considered that any reimbursement under (b) should be restricted to 50 per cent of the maximum grant payable. Other organizations considered that the 50 per cent restriction should apply only to (b)(iii).
(15) CCAQ also agreed at the 35th session (March l972: CO-ORDINATION/R.93l, para. 64) that a child who was a full-time registered student at a university or similar institution should be considered as in full-time attendance if he met the institution's attendance requirements or took the prescribed examinations. See also Circular Memorandum No. l08. of 7 April 1972 (amendments to CCAQ report).
(16) The Committee further agreed (CO-ORDINATION/R.931, para. 66) that the cost of summer courses could be regarded as part of the education cost of the preceding year.
(17) At the same session (CO-ORDINATION/R.931, paras. 34-35) CCAQ also revised the agreement recorded in para. (4)(f) above and agreed that entitlement to family visit travel should not preclude entitlement to education grant travel. See section 3.1, para. (l3).
(18) At its 39th session in l974 (CO-ORDINATION/R.l03l, para. 32) CCAQ ruled that costs of public transport and lunches not included in school bills should not be considered reimbursable expenses under the education grant. Nor did it agree that travel costs for children studying in the country of duty could be paid up to the limit of the return fare to the home country. The most which could be reimbursed would be one return fare each year from the place of study to the duty station. CCAQ agreed, however, that a child away from the duty station for purposes of study was to be considered notionally as resident with the staff member (CCAQ/SEC/336(PER), para. 28).
(19) In its second annual report (UN document A/31/30, paras. 75, 275-281, 284-289, 292), and on the basis of its review of the salary system, ICSC recommended (a) that an expatriate staff member should be entitled to claim education grant for the post-secondary education expenses of a child in the country or area of the duty station (see para. 281); (b) revised reimbursable percentages of approved costs, as follows:
Expenses up to $2 000: 75 per cent
Expenses between $2 00l and $3 000: 50 per cent
Expenses between $3 00l and $4 000: 25 per cent
and (c) an increase from $650 to $750 in the flat amount allowable for boarding expenses in the case of attendance at an institution outside the duty station which did not provide board.
(for the Commission's conclusions on other aspects of the grant see A/3l/30, paras. 76, 275, 276, 282, 283, 290 and 291. ACC's comments are in CO-ORDINATION/R.ll76, Annex III.)
(20) Recommendations (b) and (c) above were adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 3l/l4l of l7 December l976. The Assembly did not accept recommendation (a). It asked the Commission to re-examine, in the light of views expressed in the Fifth Committee, the need for an allowance for the post-secondary education of children of expatriate staff, and in particular to cover education in countries other than the staff member's home country.
(21) At its resumed 44th session (September l976: CO-ORDINATION/R.ll76, para. 20), at the request of IMCO, CCAQ decided to resubmit to ICSC in l977 its earlier proposal that the amount of the grant payable for boarding expenses be raised to $900 a year.
(22) CCAQ agreed at its 46th session (January l977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1203, para. 8) that the new method of calculating the grant should be applied to all costs of attending an educational institution in the scholastic year beginning on or after l September l976.
(23) At Part II of its 46th session (February-March l977: CO-ORDINATION/R.l208, para. 27(a)), at the request of WHO, CCAQ agreed to review the question of whether attendance at public or State schools should count for the purposes of the education grant; in the meantime it invited the organizations to determine entitlement on the basis of educational expenses actually incurred, irrespective of whether the school was private or public.
(24) At its 47th session (August l977: CO-ORDINATION/R.l237, para. 44), CCAQ welcomed a FICSA proposal (ICSC/R.94) to introduce a grant for the special education of disabled children. ICSC took up the proposal at its 6th session and reported that when further studies had been made it intended to submit a recommendation to the General Assembly (UN document A/32/30, paras. 209-213).
(25) At its 48th session (January-February l978: CO-ORDINATION/R.l263, para. 8) CCAQ approved a paper on certain aspects of the education grant for presentation to the Commission (ICSC/R.l04).
(26) At its 7th and 8th sessions, (1978) the Commission undertook a comprehensive review of the scope and purpose of the education grant, on the basis inter alia of a study prepared by CCAQ (ICSC/R.104). It recommended to the General Assembly that (a) expenses incurred by expatriate staff members for the post-secondary education of their children should continue to be eligible for reimbursement under the education grant and the existing exclusion of post-secondary education in the country of the parent's duty station should be removed; (b) (UN document A/33/30, paras. 233-34) established the value of the grant in the currency in which expenses were incurred and the reimbursement made should be protected by a "floor provision (ibid., para. 239); (c) a special education grant, also subject to a floor provision should be provided for disabled children (ibid., para. 246).
(27) The General Assembly, in resolution 33/119, endorsed the above recommendations and further decided that the existing age limit of 21 years for eligibility to the education grant should be replaced by the formula "up to the end of the fourth year of post-secondary studies, whichever is the earlier."
(28) At its 55th session (July l98l: ACC/l981/3l, paras. 48-51), on the basis of a paper prepared by FICSA, CCAQ agreed that the facts relating to education costs should be monitored on an on-going basis, and undertook to carry out this function. It also concurred with a proposal by the ICSC secretariat that consideration might be given to extending eligibility for education grant to Professional category staff serving in their home countries under certain well-defined circumstances: a staff member who had been expatriated, thus obliging him to educate his children in an educational pattern which, upon return to the home country, had to be maintained in order not to disrupt the children's education. CCAQ did not support a FICSA proposal that locally-recruited General Service staff also be eligible for the grant.
(29) At its l6th session, ICSC agreed to recommend to the General Assembly, which subsequently endorsed the recommendation (resolution 37/l26), that application of the grant to nationals returning to their home country following an assignment elsewhere should be allowed for the balance of the school year, not exceeding one full school year after their return from expatriate service (8th annual report. A/37/30, para. l98).
(30) On the basis of a system-wide survey, CCAQ presented proposals for revision of the amount of education grant to the l7th session of ICSC (March l983: ICSC/17.R.16/Add.1). ICSC agreed to recommend to the General Assembly that:
(a) the grant should be set at a level of 75 per cent of the cost of attendance at an educational institution not to exceed $6,000, up to a maximum grant of $4,500;
(b) the flat amount reimbursed for boarding costs should be raised to a maximum of $l,500, within the overall maximum of the grant;
(c) the currency floor provision (see para. (26) above) should be changed to use exchange rates in effect as of l March l983;
(d) the effective date should be l January l984 (see, however, introductory note above: amounts are payable for school year in course);
(e) the grant for disabled children should be set at $6,000 of the cost of attendance with the l March l983 currency floor, but the reimbursement rate should be 80 per cent, giving a maximum grant of $4,800.
(31) At its 38th session (1983), the General Assembly agreed with these proposals; it set, however, the reimbursement rate for disabled children at 100% of a maximum of $6 000 for expenses at an educational institution (A/38/232, III, 3).
(32) By the same resolution, the General Assembly requested the Commission to conduct a "study of the education grant, the purpose of which was to facilitate a child's reassimilation in the staff member's home country" and to report at the 39th session (1984).
(33) In its 11th annual report to the General Assembly (1985) (A/40/30, para. 191), the Commission reaffirmed the position it had taken on earlier occasions that there would appear to be no need to make any changes in the criteria for application of the education grant at the present time, including its application to university level study; it was of the opinion that the practice of recognizing post-secondary institutions outside the home country or the country of the duty station was still justified and it reiterated that the education grant should continue to be an expatriate benefit.
(34) In a related matter, the Commission also submitted to the General Assembly, recommendations, based on proposals by CCAQ, for additional reimbursement of education grant travel in respect of disabled children (ibid., para. 80). These were endorsed by the General Assembly in resolution 40/244 (see also section 2.7, para. (29)).
(35) By resolution 40/244, III, 3(b) the General Assembly requested the Commission to re-examine the scope of the education grant in relation to the purpose for which it was originally approved.
(36) At its 64th session (February-March 1986: ACC/1986/3, paras. 42-44), CCAQ decided not to pursue at the present juncture a proposal by the United Nations that payment of education grant travel and boarding costs in respect of a child being educated in the country of the duty station should no longer be contingent upon the determination by the executive head that no suitable schooling was available within commuting distances of the duty station. The matter would be reverted to at a later stage, as appropriate.
(37) At the 64th session (ACC/1986/3, paras. 69-71), CCAQ also reviewed, in the context of headquarters-field mobility, a proposal by UNESCO that, in cases where a staff member was transferred from a headquarters location far from his home country to a field location close to the country of home leave, executive heads should, as a discretionary measure, authorize education grant travel at the frequency applicable to the duty station concerned and without limitation of cost. The Committee concluded that it could not endorse the proposal on a common system basis; some organizations for which this matter was within the discretionary competence of the executive head would consider such cases, on the understanding that each case would be judged on its own merits. Education grant travel would not be authorized to or from the staff member's home country.
(38) At its 65th session (July 1986), CCAQ agreed on the text of a document (ICSC/24/R.9) to be presented to the Commission which, in addition to responding to the request of the General Assembly, was due to review the level of the education grant. Consideration of that document was postponed by the Commission to its 26th session.
(39) Also at its 65th session (ACC/1986/10, paras. 63 and 64) the Committee addressed the issue of reimbursement of education grant travel costs, on the basis of a request by the ICSC secretariat which noted that the 1960 agreement that education grant travel should not "normally" be paid in excess of the cost of a journey between the staff member's home country and the duty station (see para. (4)(f) above) would appear to offer some flexibility in the matter. This agreement had not, however, been uniformly reflected in the organizations' staff rules. The Committee noted that some organizations' staff regulations did not allow for discretionary decision on the matter. Moreover, while it was true that the staff rules of some organizations appeared to offer some flexibility, in most of those organizations no such case had ever occurred. CCAQ was therefore unwilling to go further than it already had (see para. (37) above); it noted that most organizations did not intend to make exceptions in this regard.
(40) At its 25th and 26th sessions in 1987, ICSC reviewed recommendation 61 of the Group of High-Level Intergovernmental Experts to Review the Efficiency of the Administrative and Financial Functioning of the United Nations (Group of 18) which called, inter alia, for the elimination of education grant entitlement for post-secondary studies. The views of CCAQ are contained in ACC/1987/4, paras. 43-45 and ACC/1987/10, paras. 57-58. (See also ACC statement to ICSC 26th session.) In this context, the Commission also had before it the study on the scope and purpose of the education grant referred to in para. (38) above. ICSC concluded that the existing education grant entitlement should remain unchanged, and so recommended to the General Assembly (A/42/30, para. 44). The General Assembly took note of the Commission's views.
(41) At its 67th session (July 1987: ACC/1987/10, paras. 57-62), CCAQ agreed on the text of a presentation to the Commission concerning a review of the level of the education grant. ICSC determined that technical grounds existed for a revision of the overall level of the grant, but deferred consideration of the issue to its July 1988 session. It decided, however, to recommend to the General Assembly that staff members serving at locations where educational facilities were not available or were deemed to be inadequate should be able to claim reimbursement of 100 per cent of boarding costs, up to $1,500 per year, as an amount additional to the maximum grant of $4,500 (A/42/30, para. 153). The General Assembly approved this recommendation (resolution 42/221, section IV).
(42) On the basis of updated information on educational expenditure by staff members, CCAQ at its 69th session (ACC/1988/12, paras. 40-46; ICSC/28/R.9), proposed that ICSC recommend an increase in the maximum level of the education grant to 75 per cent of $9,000 (i.e. $6,750) to take effect from the school year in course on 1 January 1989, on the understanding that the next review would take place in 1991. It further recommended that the maximum amount allowed for boarding within the overall ceiling be increased from $1,500 to $2,000 per year, but that the amount of additional reimbursement of boarding costs at designated duty stations be retained at its current level. Maximum allowable costs for disabled children should be increased to $9,000, and the current 100 per cent reimbursement provision retained. It decided not to pursue for the time being a UNDP proposal that for staff serving at all field duty stations, primary and secondary school boarding costs up to a specified amount should be reimbursed over and above the limit; it agreed, however, to examine later whether aggregating boarding costs within the overall limit of the education grant operated to the detriment of field staff. Finally, the Committee affirmed that the existing currency floor provisions should be maintained.
(43) ICSC adopted the recommendation concerning the overall increase of the grant in US dollar terms at its 28th session. It did not agree, however, to maintain the currency floor provisions. Rather, it decided that when the educational expenses were incurred in a country where the Commission had decided that the RCF was applicable, all amounts should be established in local currency. This meant that the following maximum levels were established:
Maximum education grant
2 295 000
2 295 000
Cameroon, United Rep. of
2 295 000
Central African Rep.
2 295 000
2 295 000
2 295 000
2 295 000
2 295 000
2 295 000
2 295 000
9 450 000
1 586 250
2 295 000
2 295 000
2 295 000
2 295 000
(44) Approving the changes "as an interim measure" (resolution 43/226), the Assembly asked the Commission to include a study of the purpose and conditions of an education grant as an integral part of its comprehensive review of the conditions of service of staff in the Professional and higher categories.
(45) On the basis of that review, ICSC recommended (A/44/30, vol. II, paras. 71 and 378-406) that the current ceiling for the special education grant for disabled children be kept under review, that the current arrangements for the currency of payment of education grant be evaluated based on experience with the first round of claims, and that the level of the grant normally be reviewed every two years and in no case less frequently than every three years. The General Assembly took note of these recommendations (resolution 44/198).
(46) Reviewing the level of the education grant at its 73rd session (July 1990: ACC/1990/10, paras. 65-70) CCAQ concluded that there was a case for increasing the grant, and that it would be more logical and equitable to make such an adjustment on a global than a selective basis. It went to propose to ICSC an increase in the maximum level of allowable expenses to $11,000 per year, and a concomitant increase in the ceiling for boarding costs to $2,450 per year; the special education grant for disabled children should be increased to 100 per cent of allowable costs up to $11,000. Since those increases amounted to 22.2 per cent, the local currency amounts of the grant should also be increased by that percentage. There was also a need for a more specific methodology for reviewing the level of the grant. ICSC did not concur in the Committee's recommendation for a global increase; it recommended to the General Assembly increases only in areas where education-related expenses were incurred in five currencies, as follows:
On the other hand the Commission agreed that the special education grant for a disabled child should be equal to 100 per cent of the revised maximum admissible expenses for the regular grant, and agreed with CCAQ that review methodology and related issues needed more study. The changes recommended by the Commission would apply as from the school year in progress on 1 January 1991 (A/45/30, paras. 240-253). They were approved by the General Assembly (resolution 45/241, section X).
(47) At both its 74th and 75th sessions (March and July-August 1991) CCAQ discussed methodologies for determining the level of the grant. On the basis of a report by an in-session working group it recommended to ICSC a methodology envisaging, inter alia, review of the level of the grant every two years; regular collection of data on staff members' expenditure, tuition fees, "representative" schools, and boarding costs and fees; and maintenance for the time being of the currencies used for expressing ceilings. On the basis of experience with the methodology, the possibility of delegating authority to ICSC to adjust the level of the grant should be envisaged; the trigger point for any adjustment should be when costs in 5 per cent of cases at secondary-school level exceeded the overall ceiling. The Committee also reaffirmed that increases would not be granted on an across-the-board basis, and the amount of the grant would not be differentiated according to level of education. It agreed that certain administrative aspects of the grant should be looked into by a working group at its 76th session (ACC/1991/5, paras. 40-47; ACC/1991/17, paras. 86-88 and annex III).
(48) In February 1991 organizations were informed that the ICSC Chairman had confirmed the secretariat's understanding that in the case of disabled children the additional reimbursement of boarding costs was applicable at the post-secondary level (ACC/199/PER/CM/7; ACC/1991/17, para. 167).
(49) At its 76th session (March 1992: ACC/1992/6, paras. 86-93) CCAQ agreed that data from all levels of education should be used to determine the trigger point at which the grant should be increased and began the study of a proposal by UNDP to extend the limits on educational grant travel when a staff member was transferred closer to the country of home leave with the children staying behind in the previous duty station. ICSC gave preliminary approval for a new methodology based on costs at all levels of education collected biennially, starting in 1992, according to which trigger points would be based on 5 per cent of all cases and a movement of at least 5 per cent in the level of school fees in each currency area (ICSC/35/R.17, para. 104).
(50) At its 77th session (July 1992: ACC/1992/23, paras. 54-69) CCAQ reviewed the data collected from the organizations and established that the triggers had been met in five currencies. CCAQ decided to recommend that all US dollar claims be considered together and recommended appropriate increases for the five currencies identified. The flat rate for boarding in these currencies should be adjusted accordingly but the additional reimbursement of boarding costs at designated duty stations should remain unchanged until the hardship package was next reviewed. CCAQ decided not to pursue the question raised by UNDP, and earlier by UNESCO in 1986, to seek any change in the cost limitations on the education grant travel (ibid., paras. 67-69). The Commission approved the new methodology and recommended that the maximum admissible education expenses, the maximum grant and the ceiling for boarding in local currency in the five currencies should be increased accordingly and the amount of the special education grant for a disabled child should be equal to 100 per cent of these amounts (A/47/30, paras. 251-252). The General Assembly endorsed the new methodology and approved the increases (resolution 47/216 IV).
(51) At its 81st session (June 1994: ACC/1994/14, paras. 133-151) CCAQ reviewed an analysis of all the claims reported, using a computer program developed for the purpose and according to which seven currency areas had reached the trigger points. CCAQ decided on the basis of the new data to separate US dollar expenditures in the USA from those incurred outside the USA. CCAQ also decided to recommend increases of 10 per cent for the Swiss franc, Italian lire, Deutschmark and Spanish peseta, of 25 per cent for the pound Sterling and Swedish kroner and of 25 per cent for the US dollar in the USA, similar increases in the flat rates for boarding in these areas and to recommend that the US dollar should be used in future for the CFA franc area. ICSC adopted these recommendations (A/49/30, para. 273). The General Assembly approved the increases (resolution 49/223 V).
(52) At its 84th session (April 1996: CCAQ(PER)/84/CRP.1/Rev.1, paras. 14-16) CCAQ, at the request of FAO, reviewed the current level of the education grant in Beijing. The only available international secondary level educational institution at the duty station had raised its tuition fees to some US$17,000 and UN community families were facing serious financial difficulties. CCAQ decided to write to the Chairman of ICSC proposing the establishment of a special rate with a maximum admissible level appropriate for the new fee level established by the institution. CCAQ also urged organizations to assist staff who were required to make substantial payments in advance of the academic year. CCAQ affirmed the approach used by organizations in the past of advancing to the institution or, if this was not possible, to the staff members in question, the equivalent of a one-time building fee on an interest-free loan basis.
(53) At its 85th session (July 1996: ACC/1996/14, paras. 13-14 & 38-52) CCAQ reviewed data on the level of the education grant for the full year for more than 75 per cent of all such claims. CCAQ concluded that the adjustment of the levels of the seven currency areas which had met the trigger should be based on two considerations: (i) the average percentage movement of fees over the two-year period (1993/94-1995/96); and (ii) claims data which showed the number of claims remaining uncovered if the increase which might be accorded were based solely on fee movement. CCAQ concluded that the increase proposed should normally be based upon either the average fee movement or the increase required to have less than 5 per cent of claims above the new maximum admissible expenditure (MAE) level - whichever was lower (ibid., paras. 44-45). CCAQ therefore decided to recommend increases of 5 per cent for Italian lire, 6.8 per cent for the Dutch guilder, 10 per cent for the Pound sterling, Swedish krona and Swiss franc, 10.5 per cent for the United States dollar in the USA and 12.1 per cent for the Norwegian krone and the adjustment of the flat rate for the seven currencies in accordance with the existing methodology (i.e. by the same percentage increases as the MAE level).
(54) CCAQ decided that the additional flat rate amounts payable to staff members at designated duty stations should be maintained at present levels except for those currencies where the amount for additional reimbursement of boarding costs had fallen behind the normal flat rate (Pound sterling, Italian lire and US dollar in the USA area); in such cases the level of additional reimbursement should be aligned with the amounts of the normal flat rate. CCAQ reconfirmed that the amount for the special education grant for disabled children should be equal to 100 per cent of the revised amounts of maximum admissible educational expenses for the regular education grant (ibid., para. 51). ICSC adopted these recommendations of CCAQ (A/51/30, para. 230(a)-(d)). The General Assembly approved the increases by resolution 51/216 IV.
(55) After considering a request by UNHCR and UNU to review the education level applicable in Tokyo, CCAQ considered that no special action was warranted. In the case of Beijing, raised at the previous session by FAO, information available confirmed that some form of exceptional measure might be required to avoid a disproportionate financial burden on certain staff members at certain duty stations in the US dollar/outside the USA currency area. CCAQ therefore decided to propose that ICSC recommend to the General Assembly that its Chairman be granted the authority to approve special measures to respond to such circumstances and that 75 per cent of all admissible items of actual expenses be reimbursed up to and not exceeding the MAE level in force for the US dollar/USA area under the following conditions: (a) there was a restricted choice of educational institutions at the duty station (one or two schools); (b) a sudden and sharp rise in school fees had occurred which would result in an undue financial burden for expatriate staff (costs at the school would exceed by 20 per cent or more the MAE level of the US dollar/outside the USA currency area); (c) in no case would the exceptional MAE level in the particular US dollar outside the USA area exceed the rate in the US dollar/USA area; and (d) the General Assembly would be kept informed of exceptions so approved (ACC/1996/14, paras. 53-54). ICSC agreed to recommend the introduction of a special measure for Beijing but not a generalized exceptional measure (A/51/30, para. 230(e)). The General Assembly delegated the authority for Beijing to the Chairman of ICSC by resolution 51/216 IV.
(56) At its 86th session (April 1997: ACC/1997/6, paras. 93-108) CCAQ reviewed an analysis by the ICSC secretariat of the methodology for determining the level of the education grant. CCAQ decided to survey organizations to ascertain the extent and measure of discrepancies between the way organizations allowed or disallowed expenses. It supported a proposal to collect fee data on secondary schools in the US$/outside the USA currency area where large numbers of international staff educated their children. It agreed to a proposal to deal with non-reimbursable capital assessment fees and supported a proposal to adjust the flat rate for boarding by the movement of the relevant CPI for the currency area and considered that where board was provided by a separate boarding institution certified by the school, the amount of the grant should be 75 per cent of the combined expenses up to the maximum admissible levels. CCAQ also supported the proposal to realign the additional flat rate for eligible staff at designated duty stations and preferred the suggestion that the trigger for increasing the level of the grant should be raised to 10 per cent in currency areas in which the number of claims was less than 100. The Committee decided to reiterate its request that the Chairman of ICSC be authorized to approve special measures such as that approved for Beijing. ICSC decided on a number of modifications to the methodology and requested the General Assembly to authorize its Chairman to approve such special measures (A/52/30, paras. 163-166). The Assembly by resolution 52/216 III endorsed the modifications to the methodology and delegated the authority requested.
(57) At its 88th session (April 1998: ACC/1998/5, para. 47) CCAQ, recognizing that a number of personnel entitlements and benefits were process-intensive and costly in staff time to administer, agreed to consider the potential for the simplification of the education grant in conjunction with the next review of the adequacy of the levels of the grant and requested its secretariat to examine the issue in collaboration with four lead agencies.
(58) At its 89th session (July 1998: ACC/1998/9, paras. 25-30) CCAQ decided to recommend to ICSC increases in the level of the education grant of 6 per cent in Switzerland, 8.8 per cent in Japan, 10 per cent in Austria, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom and 11.1 in the USA with increases in the flat rate for boarding and the additional flat rate. CCAQ decided to recommend the special measures for China be extended to Indonesia. ICSC made the same recommendations to the General Assembly except that the increases for Italy and Germany were reduced to 5 and 6 per cent respectively and organizations were requested for more information on the situation in Indonesia (A/53/30, paras. 190-192). The General Assembly by resolution 53/209 II A approved the increases.
(59) Also at its 89th session (ACC/1998/9, paras. 54-55) CCAQ, after a presentation of a web-based system for the processing and reporting of education grant claims (EDGAR), recognized the benefits of developing a common system approach which would streamline the processing and reporting claims, expressed its appreciation and support for the proposal and agreed that its secretariat, in collaboration with the ISCC secretariat should prepare a detailed proposal and arrangements for its financing for consideration by CCAQ and ICSC.
(60) At its 52nd session (July-August 2000: ICSC/52/R.16, para. 62) ICSC considered the request of the General Assembly in its resolution 54/234 III C to complete the review of the methodology for the education grant and to report specifically on harmonizing education grant practices with those of the United Nations. CCAQ underlined the growing mobility requirement of staff of most common system organizations. The initial assumption underlying the grant had broadened since its inception. Unlike the early days, when the United Nations consisted of some 50 Member States mainly from developed economies with staff concentrated in a few duty stations, staff now came from some 190 countries from all types of economies. In addition, important changes in society had taken place, in particular the growth of families with dual citizenship. The grant concept had to incorporate those realities. Since a further review of the scope and purpose of the grant would inevitably be included in the overall review of the pay and benefits system, CCAQ did not consider it opportune to request the governing bodies of common system organizations to review the matter with a view to harmonizing their staff rules and regulations at this stage. ICSC decided (a) to recommend to the Assembly that the education grant should continue to be treated as a benefit payable to internationally recruited staff with expatriate status, (b) to inform the Assembly that it might wish to request organizations to bring the matter of the payment of the grant to staff members living in their own countries to the attention of their governing bodies with a view to harmonizing their staff rules and regulations along the lines of the United Nations and (c) to report to the Assembly that further consideration of the grant would best be conducted under the overall review of the pay and benefits system currently under way (A/55/30, para. 81).
(61) At the same session ICSC (July-August 2000: ICSC/52/R.16, para. 63) ICSC reviewed the level of the education grant. CCAQ proposed increases in level of the grant in the five countries that had met the trigger of 5 per cent or more of the cases in the country exceeding the current admissible expenditure levels and in the rates for boarding. CCAQ also recommended merging the two United States dollar areas. The Commission decided (A/55/30, paras. 93-95 and annex IV) to recommend to the General Assembly that, with effect from 1 January 2001, (a) in areas where education grant expenses were incurred in Belgian francs, Irish pounds, Italian lire, Swiss francs and United States dollars in the United States the levels of maximum admissible expenses and the maximum grant should be set as in the annex, (b) the maximum amount of admissible expenses and the maximum grant should remain the same for eleven other currencies as well as the United States dollar for expenses in educational institutions outside the United States, (c) that the flat rates for boarding be revised as shown in the same annex and (d) the amount of the special education grant for each disabled child should be equal to 100 per cent of the revised amounts of maximum allowable expenses of the regular grant. The Commission decided to maintain the two separate United States dollar areas and the special measures for China and Indonesia and to review the issue of the trigger point at the time of the review of the methodology for the determination of the level of the grant. The General Assembly approved the increases and urged organizations to harmonize their rules and regulations to ensure that the education grant was treated as a benefit payable to internationally recruited staff with expatriate status only (resolution 55/223 I E).
(62) At its July 2002 meeting (CEB/2002/HLCM/14, para. 8) the HR Network expressed appreciation for the analyses prepared by the CEB secretariat and fully supported the proposals to increase the levels of the education grant in 7 currency areas or countries, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, United States and the US dollar area outside the United States. It also endorsed the proposed increases in the flat rates for boarding and agreed to recommend continuation of the special measures in effect in the US$ outside the USA area in China, Indonesia, Russia and Romania. While recognizing that the proposals were fully in accordance with the methodology established by the ICSC and endorsed by the General Assembly, the Network expressed concern over the second trigger mechanism introduced by ICSC in 1997 which required that at least five claims must exceed the existing maximum admissible expenses. This appeared to operate to the detriment of currency areas with very few claims and the Network would revert to this issue in the context of the future review of the methodology. It noted the disparities in the financial burden for staff whose children were educated in the US$ outside the USA area, which contained a large number of economies and currencies. It also considered that clearer guidelines should be developed for the operation of the special measures mechanism and agreed that while the methodology was rigorous and had served well over the past twelve years, the time had come to streamline it, inter alia to take into consideration the alignment of the Euro-land countries to the extent possible. It requested the CEB secretariat to continue to refine the computer application that organizations were required to use for the biennial reporting of education grant claim data. The Commission decided to recommend to the General Assembly the increases in the levels of maximum admissible expenses and maximum grant in Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, UK, United States and the US dollar area outside of the USA and the flat rates for boarding to be applicable as from the school year in progress on 1 January 2003. ICSC also decided to maintain the special measures for China, Indonesia, Romania and Russia and to request organizations to ensure the compatibility of their computer systems and applications for the purpose of reporting on their education grant data (A/57/30, paras. 141-143). The Assembly approved the increases in the maximum reimbursement levels for seven countries or currency areas (A/RES/57/285 I E).
(63) At its March 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/14, para. 10) the HR Network thanked the ICSC secretariat for its document on the methodology for determining the level of the grant as it provided a starting point for further work and agreed to recommend to the ICSC that consideration of this item be postponed pending the creation of an inter-agency working group, with a view to providing ICSC, at its July 2004 session, with a common proposal on what was perceived as being a highly useful benefit and one that contributed to staff recruitment and retention. The Network recalled that previous reviews of the levels of the grant had been successful in keeping up with market increases and that this had been achieved through the application of an expenditure-based approach that was seen as being fair by staff and acceptable to Member States. Nonetheless, staff in many duty stations still faced very high expenses to educate their children. It agreed that the working group should work primarily with the goal of (a) eliminating certain biases that had been noted in the trigger mechanisms and (b) streamlining the administration of the grant. Although the lump-sum methods were attractive to some organizations and should be explored, care should be taken to preserve the levels of the grant. ICSC decided to request that its secretariat convene a working group consisting of representatives of the organizations and staff, with a view to further developing the proposals for a review of the methodology to determine the level of the education grant, in particular the lump-sum approach and other measures that might be necessary to ensure a streamlined operation of the grant, bearing in mind the views expressed by the Commission, and to report on the group's findings to the Commission at its 59th session in July 2004. The Commission also requested the working group to take particular account of the situation described by UNESCO of staff serving in Paris, with a view to proposing a speedy remedy to the problem (ICSC/58/paras. 89-90).
(64) At its July 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/25, para. 3) the HR Network reiterated its support for the basic premise of the education grant and underlined (a) its importance and role as an expatriate entitlement based on reimbursement of actual expenditure; (b) that staff should bear some of the cost of educating their children and (c) that parents should have an unrestricted right to choose the education to be provided to their children. It recalled that, since 1946, it had been determined that staff members required to serve outside their home country should receive an education grant in respect of each dependent child in full-time attendance at a school, university or similar educational institution and that internationally recruited staff members were subject to reassignment, at the discretion of the executive head, under the staff rules and regulations of the various organizations; that the need for such assignments had increased dramatically over the years with the expansion of the UN system's field network, more so in those organizations with field-oriented operations, as a result of their programme requirements. It had thus become a way of life for many staff members (and their children), and for the large majority of UN system staff, expatriation was a permanent condition during their UN careers.
(65) The Network recognised that school patterns and choices of staff members had become more varied. Marriage between persons of different nationalities, cultures and races had become a common feature of the world. International civil servants, both by virtue of working in an international setting and as a result of reassignment/rotation, tended, more than average, to marry someone of a different nationality. This factor of "mixed nationality" undoubtedly had a profound effect on the choice of schooling/country of settlement of the children of staff members. If a child settled in the country of the staff member's spouse (or of an ex-spouse who was the parent of the child), the spirit of re-assimilation had surely been met. It agreed that expatriation in this context was an on-going reality which generally remained unaffected by the length of stay at any particular location and might even be aggravated with longer stays. Therefore, the education grant must continue to enable expatriated staff members to exercise their parental choice of choosing the most appropriate education to suit their particular circumstances and to allow them to live up to their obligation to be at the disposal of the organization for posting anywhere in the world.
(66) The Network recognized that whilst the education grant was a key strategic entitlement for a global expatriate workforce, organizations and staff had long felt that the education grant was in need of a substantive overhaul in terms of process, but not of content. Any change to the methodology for determining the level of the grant must ensure that the value of the entitlement and the link to actual cost was maintained and in no way eroded. It agreed that the proposal to adopt a lump-sum approach should be based on amounts actually paid (a feature that was one of the greatest strengths of the current methodology). It would maintain the best features of the current approach while achieving considerable administrative simplicity, thus, certain administrative savings and productivity gains. The Network was strongly convinced that the lump-sum approach was the only viable and sustainable option, and could not support merely resorting to various streamlining efforts of the current receipt-based system. It supported the proposal, whereby, staff members would henceforth be required to submit only a certificate of attendance to justify the payment of the lump sum. This lump sum would be based on the actual cost of education at the school in question, subject to an overall global ceiling. The sum should take into consideration the tuition fees, other allowable costs and any mandatory charges that were a prerequisite for admission to the school. The processing of the grant in this manner would involve one single transaction by the organization, the payment of the lump sum. It agreed that the lump sum should be made up of three elements (tuition, other allowable costs and boarding) established on the basis of the actual cost at individual educational institutions. If a child was enrolled in a school then 75% of the cost of attendance at that school would become the ceiling for that particular case. To ensure that costs were contained, a global cap would be established which could not be exceeded, except as decided by the Chairman of the ICSC as part of a special measure. The global cap should be equivalent to that of the highest ceiling in the currently existing currency zones, i.e. that of the United Kingdom. The introduction of this new ceiling would not have any additional financial implications since the payment of lump sums would continue to be based on actual costs.
(67) The Network further agreed that, in order to maintain the direct relationship between the lump sum and the actual costs incurred, the model put forward by the ICSC secretariat should be used in determining the lump sums, i.e., institution-specific, tuition-driven lump sum payments would be established and institution-specific data would also be used to determine the amounts added for boarding and other mandatory fees. The institution-specific lump sums would be determined based on surveys of schools attended by children of UN system staff members in much the same manner as DSA surveys were conducted. Such surveys would be conducted and managed by the ICSC secretariat. It recognized that the introduction of the lump sum approach obviated the need for different currency zones, and thus made the system more transparent and simpler to administer. It also obviated the need for the 5 per cent rule and the rule on minimum number of claims, both of which had introduced serious inequities in the current system. In the unlikely event that the Commission decided not to opt for the lump sums, the Network supported the lumping together of currency zones.
(68) The Network supported the proposal that the Chairman of the ICSC be delegated authority to introduce special measures in all locations worldwide and the proposal to redefine allowable costs to include all mandatory school expenses, irrespective of a change of methodology to lump sums. It agreed with the principle that boarding costs should be reimbursable beyond daily commuting distance from the duty station, irrespective of national borders, as well as the abolition of the 5 per cent rule and the rule on minimum number of claim. ICSC requested its secretariat to continue the development of the lump-sum approach for the education grant and to present at its sixtieth (spring 2005) session an updated and detailed report that would include: (a) procedures for establishing ceilings (maximum allowable expenses) by zone; (b) cost control measures for triggering adjustments; (c) certification requirements; (d) provisions for the selection of representative schools for establishing the ceiling and lump sum payments; and (e) criteria for zoning based on empirical data showing a relationship between the zone and the cost of education (ICSC/59/R.18, para. 54).
(69) Also at its July 2004 meeting (ibid., para. 12) the HR Network expressed its appreciation for the work that had gone into the analysis of a record number of education grant claims and the preparation of proposals that were robust and well justified. It requested the CEB Secretariat to emphasize in the conclusions section of the document that the proposals had been made in accordance with ICSC methodology, which the ICSC had approved and the General Assembly had endorsed, and agreed that the results of the review should be communicated back to staff in the organizations that had worked on the preparation of the claims' data, thus reinforcing the usefulness of such work to the UN system as a whole. ICSC reviewed the proposals of the HR Network for the seventeen currency areas and decided to recommend to the General Assembly an increase in maximum admissible expenses (MAE) for fifteen areas: (a) for eight of these fifteen areas, the proposals of the ICSC were below (Austria, Belgium, Japan, Sweden) or significantly below (France, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain) the levels proposed by the HR Network. With respect to the 'difficult situation faced by some UNESCO staff in Paris', the Commission was 'sympathetic'. It believed however that 'although some remedial action should be taken, the (proposed) 82.2 per cent increase […] could not be justified'; (b) for seven currency areas (Denmark, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, UK, US and outside US), ICSC agreed with the increases proposed by the HR Network; (c) both the HR Network and ICSC agreed to recommend that the maximum amount of admissible expenses and the maximum grant should remain at the current levels for Finland and Norway (A/59/30, para. 166 (a)-(b) & Annex IV, table 1).
(70) In addition, the ICSC decided to recommend to the General Assembly that (a) the flat rates for boarding to be taken into account within the maximum admissible educational expenses and the additional amounts for reimbursement of boarding costs over and above the maximum grant payable to staff members at designated duty stations should be revised as shown in table 2 of the annex; (b) the amount of the special education grant for each disabled child should be equal to 100 per cent of the revised amounts of the maximum allowable expenses for the regular grant; (c) Special measures should be maintained for China, Indonesia, Romania and the Russian Federation, which would allow organizations to reimburse 75 per cent of actual expenses up to and not exceeding the level of the maximum admissible expenses in force for the US dollar area inside the USA; and (d) all of the above measures should be applicable as from the school year in progress on 1 January 2005. The Commission also decided to reiterate its recommendation to the General Assembly that the Assembly might wish to request the organizations to bring the matter of the payment of the education grant to staff members living in their own countries to the attention of their governing bodies with a view to harmonizing the staff rules and regulations along the line of those of the United Nations (ibid., para. 166 (c)-(f), 167 & Annex IV, table 2). The Assembly approved the increases in the maximum reimbursement levels for fifteen countries as well as the other recommendations of the Commission in paragraph 166 (resolution 59/268 I E).
(71) At its July 2005 meeting (CEB/2005/HLCM/27, para. 6) the HR Network, in considering the Review by ICSC of the methodology for determining the level of the grant, supported, in principle, a lump-sum approach for the education grant as part of the ongoing effort to simplify and streamline the pay and benefits system. At the same time, the Network emphasized that the education grant was one of the most important expatriate benefits and that any simplification or streamlining had to ensure that the value of the allowance was not eroded. It noted the information provided by the ICSC secretariat that the adjustment mechanism for boarding would remain unchanged and that capital levies would be treated separately. It considered that the secretariat’s proposals contained represented a useful step forward in the development of a new concept. At the same time, the Network did not believe that a point had yet been reached where the concept could be translated into reality and implementation. The proposed move from the individual-receipt-based to the institution-specific approach might well result in some reduction of the administrative workload associated with processing the claims but the implications of some of the proposed changes, particularly their practicality with regard to implementation, would require further study. The Network fully supported the suggestion first to conduct a simulation of the practicality of the new approach. The Network recommended doing so on a virtual basis, i.e. by way of a simulation in one or two volunteer organizations at the time of the next review in 2006 of the levels of the grant under the existing methodology. ICSC decided to request its secretariat to continue, in cooperation with the organizations, its work on the development of proposals on the review of the methodology for determining the level of the education grant on the basis of current underlying principles of the scheme and, in particular, the lump-sum approach. It also requested the secretariat to develop models illustrating the practicality of the various review proposals with a view to ensuring fairness, simplification and cost control and to report to the Commission on this issue at its sixty-third session (ICSC/61/R.18, paras. 64-65).
(72) At its July meeting of 2006 (CEB/2006/HLCM/17, para.12), following the receipt of a report on the education grant, which considered in particular a lump sum arrangement, the HR Network expressed its belief that education grants were an integral part of staff remuneration; welcomed any reform that would reduce the complexity of administering the grant and agreed to set up an ad hoc working group to examine the details of ICSC/63/R.5. The Commission decided that the establishment of separate global, area-wide, or country-specific education grant ceilings by type of school or by levels of education would no longer be pursued Education grants calculation on the cost of tuition alone would no longer be considered. More effort would be expended in analysing alternative country zoning and trigger points. A small working group would be constituted to test the lump sum education grant scheme and to report back at the earliest opportunity, but no later than its 65th session.
(73) At the same meeting, the HR Network delivered its biannual report on education grant levels. It endorsed the CEB Secretariat’s proposals regarding adjustment in 12 of the 17 currency areas. This included an increase in the maximum admissible expense (MAE) in France, given the cost of English-speaking schools. It also endorsed the UNDP proposal to increase MAE in Norway, given that Norway had not qualified under a five-case trigger, but that the only international school set tuition fees well above the ceiling. The Commission decided not to grant increases in a number of areas because – in addition to the 5% of claims exceeding the ceiling trigger – there had to be a 5% annual average move of school fees. This had not occurred in all the countries named. Elsewhere, the Committee accepted the HR Network proposals, adopting ‘special measures’ in France and including Norway in ‘United States outside the United States’ bracket. Flat rates for boarding were accepted by the Commission. Special measures were maintained in China, Indonesia and the Russian Federation, but discontinued in Romania. The Commission recommended that the education grant should be extended to four school years of post secondary education studies, so long as the student remained under 25.
(74) At its videoconference of October 2006 (CEB/2006/HLCM/35, para.3), the HR Network was informed that the ICSC had established a small working group to analyse, model and test overall performance of a lump sum education grant scheme; findings would be presented no later than the ICSC’s 65th session (July 2007) and a report would be prepared for April 2007. The HR Network decided upon the following organisations to participate in the education grant working group: UN, UNDP, ILO, UNESCO, and WFP.
(75) At its 14th session of the HR Network (CEB/2007/HR/14, para.77) agreed with the Working Group’s proposal to further analyze and test a number of approaches relating to the introduction of lump-sum reimbursement for the education grant scheme. Further, the Commission decided that: (a) A task group including Commission members, representatives of the organizations and staff, as well as those of the ICSC and CEB secretariats should be established to continue work on the matter; (b) The group should conduct a comprehensive analysis of all relevant issues including those which had already been raised with a view to identifying a viable alternative to the present scheme based on considerations of simplification, equity and cost-neutrality; (c) The group should report to the Commission on its progress at the sixty-sixth session of ICSC and present its recommendations no later than the sixty-seventh session. The Commission also requested the ICSC secretariat and the CEB/HR Network to cooperate closely in providing the task group with comprehensive and accurate data as the group may require for its proceedings. Recalling section II, paragraph 2, of General Assembly resolution 61/239, the Commission further requested the organizations to keep the ICSC and CEB secretariats appraised of, and involved in, as necessary, the development of the integrated information technology and human resources programme (Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP)) to ensure that the reporting data needed for modelling and decision-making by the Commission were taken into consideration in the development of the requirements of the ERP systems.
(76) At its videoconference of January 2008 (CEB/2008/HR/2, para.10-11), the HR Network was requested to make the collection of the data regarding the Education Grant a priority, ensuring that the responsible HR and IT focal points are given the necessary time for this important task.
(77) At its sixteenth session (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/35, paras. 21-23), the HR Network: • Recalled that the review of the methodology for determining the grant has been under discussion for several years as it is not only a complex issue but also one of the most essential elements of the overall remuneration package; • Thanked the Working Group for the efforts made in this difficult issue and agreed that each meeting of the Working Group has generated some positive ideas. However after closer examination of the two options presented and further reflection on its implications, the Network was not in a position to support either of the two options as it was believed that neither would ensure equity of treatment of staff, simplicity or cost-neutrality. In addition, the introduction of a declining scale would be difficult to explain to staff. There was also concern that the two options would negatively impact a number of staff members. Staff would be forced to choose among lower-cost schools, as reimbursement rates would be higher at the lower expense levels. Furthermore, by removing the additional reimbursement for designated duty stations, mobility would not be facilitated to the more difficult duty stations. • Agreed to form a small group that would explore other options prior to the Commission session and bring it to the Network. (Note: the Network presented a third option to the Commission during the session, essentially the proposal was to maintain the current system with some refinements: the 16 zones would be reduced to 5; the threshold for the percentage of claims above the ceiling would be increased from 5 to 10 percent. The Network also agreed with the proposal of admissible expenses and the adjustment of the level based on the movement of the CPI. The Commission did not find this proposal far-reaching enough to fully address the objectives of methodology review).
(78) At the same session (ibid.), the Commission decided to report to the General Assembly that: (a) It would keep under review the education grant methodology and, in the meantime, the current methodology would be maintained; (b) The issue of designated duty stations for the purposes of the education grant would be examined before the next review of the mobility and hardship scheme in 2010; (c) The issue of representative schools would be examined before the next review of the levels of the education grant in 2010.
(79) The Commission also decided (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/35, paras. 24-25) to recommend to the General Assembly that: (a) For Austria, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and the United States dollar area outside the United States, the maximum admissible expenses and the maximum education grant be adjusted as shown in table 1 below; (b) For Denmark, France (subject to subpara. (f) below), Germany, Ireland and Japan, the maximum admissible expenses and the maximum education grant remain at the current levels shown in table 2 below; (c) The separate zone of Finland be discontinued and the education grant claims for that country be included in the United States dollar area outside the United States; (d) The special measures for China, Indonesia and the Russian Federation be maintained; (e) Special measures be introduced for Bulgaria and Hungary, which would allow organizations to reimburse 75 per cent of actual expenses up to and not exceeding the maximum expenditure level in force for the United States dollar inside the United States; (f) In addition to the list of six institutions in France currently eligible for special measures, a separate maximum admissible expense level equal to that applicable to the United States dollar inside the United States of America be established for two more schools in France: École Active Bilingue Victor Hugo and École Active Bilingue Jeanine Manuel; (g) The flat rates for boarding, taken into account within the maximum admissible educational expenses, and the additional amounts for reimbursement of boarding costs over and above the maximum grant payable to staff members at designated duty stations, be revised as shown in table 3 below; (h) The amount of the special education grant for each disabled child be equal to 100 per cent of the revised amounts of the maximum allowable expenses for the regular grant; (i) All of the above measures be applicable as from the school year in progress on 1 January 2009.
(80) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, para.4), the HR Network welcomed the adoption of Resolution 63/251 by the General Assembly, in particular the increase of the level of the Education Grant.
(81) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/35, paras.17-26), the HR Network thanked the CEB secretariat for the document (ICSC/71/R.4) and all the work undertaken on behalf of the HR Network; Recalled that the Education Grant allowance provided to international staff members should be seen as a major benefit in attracting and retaining high quality staff, especially highly mobile staff. Review of the grant methodology The Commission requested its secretariat to expand its upcoming review of education grant methodology issues and, in particular, include the following additional items: (a) The underlying philosophy of the education grant; (b) Review the list of country/currency zones: large countries like Canada may be managed separately and smaller countries/zones like Sweden and Ireland may be regrouped; (c) The list of admissible expenses should be streamlined and harmonized using work done in the working group that last reviewed the grant; (d) Special education grant: (i) In addition to the list in (c) above, review the list of admissible expenses as it relates to disabled children also referring to the conclusions reached by the last working group on the matter; (ii) Review the education grant ceilings for special education grant taking into consideration the cost involved in educating disabled children and based on the four options presented by the CEB/ Human Resources Network; (e) The reimbursement policy relating to one-time capital assessment fees taking into consideration the proposal made by the CEB/ Human Resources Network during the current review; (f) In determining the level of the grant, revise the methodology and state clearly procedures used in proposing adjustments to the level namely, triggers, the role of cost and fees, including representative schools used in determining the MAE; (g) Explore various methods for establishing the MAE for the United States dollar area outside the United States; (h) Review the list of representative schools based on the experience during this review taking into account paragraph 64 (see A/65/30); (i) Review the criteria for special measures taking into consideration factors such as distance of schools from the duty station and the availability of adequate schools within commuting distance of any given duty station.
(82) To reiterate the Commission’s request at the seventieth session, the secretariat will update the methodology to reflect all changes in the current education grant methodology and present it to the Commission at its seventy-fourth session. Review of the level of the grant The Commission decided to recommend to the General Assembly that: (a) For Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and the United States dollar area outside the United States, the maximum admissible expenses and the maximum education grant be adjusted (see attached annex III, table 1); (b) For Belgium, Ireland, Japan and Sweden the maximum admissible expenses and maximum education grant remain at the current levels (see attached annex III, table 2); (c) For Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the United States dollar area outside the United States, the normal flat rates for boarding taken into account within the maximum admissible educational expenses and the additional amount for reimbursement of boarding costs over and above the maximum grant payable to staff members at designated duty stations be revised (see attached annex III, table 3); (d) For Ireland and Japan the normal flat rates and the additional flat rates for boarding be maintained at current levels (see attached annex III, table 4); (e) The special measures for China, Hungary, Indonesia, Romania, the Russian Federation as well as the eight specific schools in France be maintained; (f) The special measures for Bulgaria be discontinued; (g) All of the above measures be applicable as from the school year in progress on 1 January 2011. (h) As regards all other proposals, the Commission agreed to defer its decisions and requested its secretariat to take them into consideration in the context of the next methodology review.
(83) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/5, paras.58-68), HLCM agreed to move forward with the following recommendation, which did not entail cost implications: Recommendation 2: That the existing education grant provided to eligible staff members be extended until the end of the current school year enrolment for dependent children upon the death of the staff member. This would harmonize practices in all UN organizations.
(84) At the same session (CEB/2010/5, paras.80-89), HLCM urged the ICSC to include organizations in the review of the methodology of the Education Grant as they have extensive experience in using the existing methodology. The Committee also noted that financial considerations should not be driving the review of the Education Grant and other entitlements.
(85) At the twenty second session of the HR Network (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/19, paras. 39-40), the Commission decided to recommend to the General Assembly that for the school year in progress on 1 January 2012: (a) The current eligibility requirements for the receipt of the education grant should be amended as follows: Minimum age: The child is in full-time attendance at an educational institution at the primary level or above while the staff member is in the service of the organization. Education shall be deemed “primary” for the purposes of this criterion when the child is 5 years of age or older at the beginning of the school year or when the child reaches the age of 5 within three months of the beginning of the school year. Exceptionally, a lower minimum eligibility age could be accepted for those educational institutions which, by virtue of law, require an earlier start of formal education; (b) The organizations of the common system should be invited to amend the minimum eligibility age requirement accordingly in order to harmonize the grant eligibility criteria.