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School effectiveness in Zambia: The origins of differences between rural and urban outcomes


  • Ronelle Burger


Surveys have shown that Zambian urban residents have significantly higher schooling attainment rates than rural residents and are more likely to be literate. To address this inequality in education outcomes it is important to understand to what extent this is a result of a resource gap (for example, differences in teachers or textbooks) or different returns on resources (for example, an additional teacher makes more of a difference in urban areas). To explore this idea this study performed an Oaxaca decomposition on the SACMEQ II data set for Zambia. The results showed that the rural-urban gap was attributable both to differences in the presence of resources (55% of the gap) and differences in the returns on resources (45% of the gap). Since returns on resources are considerably lower in rural areas, additional resource investment alone is unlikely to close the gap between rural and urban schooling outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronelle Burger, 2011. "School effectiveness in Zambia: The origins of differences between rural and urban outcomes," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(2), pages 157-176.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:28:y:2011:i:2:p:157-176
    DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2011.570064

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    Cited by:

    1. Sandra Nieto & Raul Ramos & Juan Carlos Duque, 2012. "Rural-urban differences in educational outcomes: Evidence for Colombia using PISA microdata," ERSA conference papers ersa12p388, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Raul Ramos & Juan Carlos Duque & Sandra Nieto, 2012. "“Decomposing the Rural-Urban Differential in Student Achievement in Colombia Using PISA Microdata”," AQR Working Papers 201210, University of Barcelona, Regional Quantitative Analysis Group, revised Mar 2013.
    3. Heleen Hofmeyr, 2020. "South Africa’s Pro-Girl Gap in PIRLS and TIMSS: How Much Can Be Explained?," Working Papers 17/2020, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    4. Juan F. Castro, 2015. "Linear decompositions of cognitive achievement gaps a cautionary note and an illustration using peruvian data," Working Papers 15-08, Centro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacífico.
    5. Ramos, Raul & Duque, Juan Carlos & Nieto, Sandra, 2016. "Decomposing the Rural-Urban Differential in Student Achievement in Colombia using PISA Microdata/Una descomposición del diferencial rural-urbano en los rendimientos educativos en Colombia a partir de ," Estudios de Economia Aplicada, Estudios de Economia Aplicada, vol. 34, pages 379-412, Mayo.
    6. Wang, Dan & Wang, Jingying & Li, Hui & Li, Ling, 2017. "School context and instructional capacity: A comparative study of professional learning communities in rural and urban schools in China," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-9.

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    education outcomes; rural schools; Zambia;


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