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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Taylor & Nicholas Spaull, 2013. "The effects of rapidly expanding primary school access on effective learning: The case of Southern and Eastern Africa since 2000," Working Papers 01/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers177
    as

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    File URL: https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2013/wp012013/wp-01-2013.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Servaas van der Berg, 2006. "How effective are poor schools? Poverty and educational outcomes in South Africa," Working Papers 06/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Eric A. Hanushek, 2003. "The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 64-98, February.
    5. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2007. "The Role of School Improvement in Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 12832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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