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The surprisingly dire situation of children's education in rural west Africa: results from the CREO study in Guinea-Bissau

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Author Info

  • Peter Boone
  • Ila Fazzio
  • Kameshwari Jandhyala
  • Chitra Jayanty
  • Gangadhar Jayanty
  • Simon Johnson
  • Vimala Ramachandrin
  • Filipa Silva
  • Zhaoguo Zhan
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    Abstract

    We conducted a survey covering 20% of villages with 200-1000 population in rural Guinea-Bissau. We interviewed household heads, care-givers of children, and their teachers and schools. We analysed results from 9,947 children, aged 7-17, tested for literacy and numeracy competency. Only 27% of children were able to add two single digits, and just 19% were able to read and comprehend a simple word. Our unannounced school checks found 72% of enrolled children in grades 1-4 attending their schools, but the schools were poorly equipped. Teachers were present at 86% of schools visited. Despite surveying 351 schools, we found no examples of successful schools where children reached reasonable levels of literacy and numeracy for age. Our evidence suggests that interventions that raise school quality in these villages, rather than those which target enrolment, may be most important to generate very sharp improvements in children’s educational outcomes.

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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/51535/
    File Function: Open access version.
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 51535.

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    Length: 37 pages
    Date of creation: 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:51535

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    1. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
    2. Paul Glewwe & Michael Kremer & Sylvie Moulin, 2007. "Many Children Left Behind? Textbooks and Test Scores in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 13300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Kuepie, Mathias & Nordman, Christophe J. & Roubaud, François, 2009. "Education and earnings in urban West Africa," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 491-515, September.
    4. Michael Kremer, 2003. "Randomized Evaluations of Educational Programs in Developing Countries: Some Lessons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 102-106, May.
    5. Alwyn Young, 2012. "The African Growth Miracle," NBER Working Papers 18490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Sebastian Fehrler & Katharina Michaelowa & Annika Wechtler, 2009. "The Effectiveness of Inputs in Primary Education: Insights from Recent Student Surveys for Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(9), pages 1545-1578.
    7. Michael Kremer & Alaka Holla, 2009. "Improving Education in the Developing World: What Have We Learned from Randomized Evaluations?," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 513-545, 05.
    8. World Bank, 2012. "World Development Report 2012," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4391.
    9. Alwyn Young, 2012. "The African Growth Miracle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 696 - 739.
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