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The Last of the Lost Generations? Formal and Non-Formal Education in Ghana during Times of Economic Decline and Recovery

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  • Blunch, Niels-Hugo

    () (Washington and Lee University)

  • Hammer, Jeffrey S.

    () (Princeton University)

Abstract

Using a cohort approach, this paper examines educational attainment in Ghana and its potential determinants considering both educational attainment in the formal education system and participation in non-formal education in the form of adult literacy programs. The results indicate an overall substitution between formal and non-formal education across the generations, with participation in adult literacy programs decreasing as the formal education system expanded its coverage across space and time in Ghana. Individuals who completed any formal education were also much less likely to participate in adult literacy programs, by about 10 percentagepoints per year of formal education completed. Additionally, the generations subject to the declining education system during the 1970s were substantially disadvantaged, with the cohort that was roughly of primary school age at the time of the economic breakdown in 1983 and the first few years thereafter being the last of the disadvantaged cohorts – the "lost generations." This is especially true for the particularly vulnerable group of individuals who never received any formal education, where the crisis cohort peaked in terms of adult literacy program participation relative to later (and earlier) cohorts, possibly in response to a decrease in the quality of the formal education system as well as increased competition from returning refugees. We perform a simple test for the declining quality of the formal education system in the 1970s and find evidence consistent with a decrease in the quality in the education system during the 1970s, followed by an increase in quality thereafter.

Suggested Citation

  • Blunch, Niels-Hugo & Hammer, Jeffrey S., 2018. "The Last of the Lost Generations? Formal and Non-Formal Education in Ghana during Times of Economic Decline and Recovery," IZA Discussion Papers 11513, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11513
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Niels-Hugo Blunch, 2014. "Literacy and numeracy skills and education sector reform: evidence from Ghana," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 209-235, April.
    2. Niels-Hugo Blunch & Claus C. Pörtner, 2011. "Literacy, Skills, and Welfare: Effects of Participation in Adult Literacy Programs," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 17-66.
    3. Blunch, Niels-Hugo, 2017. "A Teenager in Love: Multidimensional Human Capital and Teenage Pregnancy in Ghana," GLO Discussion Paper Series 36, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Jeffrey S. Hammer, 2013. "Balancing Market and Government Failure in Service Delivery," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 18(Special E), pages 1-19, September.
    5. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    6. Chao, S., 1999. "Ghana. Gender Analysis and Policymaking for Development," World Bank - Discussion Papers 403, World Bank.
    7. Daniel Ortega & Francisco Rodríguez, 2008. "Freed from Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela's Misión Robinson Literacy Campaign," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(1), pages 1-30, October.
    8. Blunch, Niels-Hugo, 2013. "Staying Alive: Adult Literacy Programs and Child Mortality in Rural Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 114-126.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital; formal and non-formal education; adult literacy programs; cohort analysis; Ghana;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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