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The effects of rapidly expanding primary school access on effective learning: The case of Southern and Eastern Africa since 2000

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  • Stephen Taylor

    ()
    (Department of Basic Education)

  • Nicholas Spaull

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

Abstract

Have recent expansions of access to primary schooling in African countries led to deterioration in the quality of education delivered? This paper helps clarify this question by presenting an appropriate conceptual framework: instead of considering country average test scores and enrolment rates in isolation, we argue that the important outcome of interest is the proportion of children in an age-specific population that reach particular levels of literacy and numeracy. In order to measure this outcome we combine school achievement data with enrolment data for a selection of 14 Southern and Eastern African education systems. Using this preferred measure, we examine the performance of these education systems between 2000 and 2007, many of which considerably increased access to primary schooling in this period. The commonly held perception of an access-quality trade-off in Africa has far less empirical support than was previously believed to be the case.

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File URL: http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2013/wp012013/wp-01-2013.pdf
File Function: First version, 2013
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 01/2013.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers177

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Related research

Keywords: Enrolment; School quality; Human capital; Southern and East Africa; SACMEQ; Education Statistics;

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  1. van der Berg, Servaas, 2008. "How effective are poor schools? Poverty and educational outcomes in South Africa," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 69, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  2. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2007. "The Role of School Improvement in Economic Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 1911, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Nicholas Spaull & Stephen Taylor, 2012. "“Effective enrolment” - Creating a composite measure of educational access and educational quality to accurately describe education system performance in sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 21/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  4. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "The Failure of Input-based Schooling Policies," NBER Working Papers 9040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Louise Grogan, 2009. "Universal Primary Education and School Entry in Uganda," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(2), pages 183-211, March.
  6. Michaelowa, Katharina, 2001. "Primary Education Quality in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa: Determinants of Learning Achievement and Efficiency Considerations," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 1699-1716, October.
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