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The Surprisingly Dire Situation of Children's Education in Rural West Africa: Results from the CREO Study in Guinea-Bissau (Comprehensive Review of Education Outcomes)

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

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 enrollment, may be most important to generate very sharp improvements in children's educational outcomes.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18971.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
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Publication status: published as The Surprisingly Dire Situation of Children's Education in Rural West Africa: Results from the CREO study in Guinea-Bissau (Comprehensive Review of Education Outcomes) , Peter Boone, Ila Fazzio, Kameshwari Jandhyala, Chitra Jayanty, Gangadhar Jayanty, Simon Johnson, Vimala Ramachandran, Filipa Silva, Zhaoguo Zhan . in African Successes, Volume II: Human Capital , Edwards, Johnson, and Weil. 2016
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18971
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  1. Sylvie Moulin & Michael Kremer & Paul Glewwe, 2009. "Many Children Left Behind? Textbooks and Test Scores in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 112-35, January.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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  5. Alwyn Young, 2012. "The African Growth Miracle," NBER Working Papers 18490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kuepie, Mathias & Nordman, Christophe J. & Roubaud, Fran├žois, 2009. "Education and earnings in urban West Africa," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 491-515, September.
  7. 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.
  8. Paul Glewwe & Nauman Ilias & Michael Kremer, 2003. "Teacher Incentives," NBER Working Papers 9671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. World Bank, 2012. "World Development Report 2012," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4391, June.
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