Books, Buildings and Learning Outcomes: an impact evaluation of World Bank assistance to basic education in Ghana
This paper demonstrates that the delivery of hardware inputs to Ghana’s basic education system – building classrooms and supplying textbooks – has had a substantial impact on higher enrollments and better learning outcomes. The Bank’s support for school building has been a major factor behind Ghana being on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education. The context for these improvements was a government strongly committed to implementing a program of educational reform that refocused government resources away from secondary and tertiary education and onto the basic sector. But the Bank’s support played a critical role in allowing the government to carry out its plans. Partly because of increased reliance on community contributions, a gap is opening up between the majority of schools and those in poorer communities, particularly in off-road rural areas. Facilities in schools in poorer areas are usually inferior and teacher absenteeism high, so that little learning can take place. Special attention needs to be paid to these least-privileged schools if Ghana is to remain on track to meet the education MDG.
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