Panel: Improving Access to Primary Schooling in Developing Countries

Thursday, November 6, 2014: 2:45 PM-4:15 PM
Enchantment II (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Ali E. Protik, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
Panel Chairs:  Anjali Adukia, University of Chicago
Discussants:  Maria Elena, Harvard University

The Mid-Term Impacts of “Girl-Friendly” Schools: Evidence from the Bright School Construction Program in Burkina Faso
Harounan Kazianga1, Leigh Linden2, Cara Orfield3, Ali E. Protik3 and Matt Sloan4, (1)Oklahoma State University, (2)University of Texas, Austin, (3)Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., (4)Mathematica Policy Research

Long-Term Impact of Building "Girl-Friendly" Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Niger
Emilie Bagby1, Matt Sloan2, Anca Dumitrescu1 and Cara Orfield1, (1)Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., (2)Mathematica Policy Research

Although primary school enrollment levels have increased significantly in many parts of the world over the past decade, they remain low in a number of areas. In addition, girls continue to lag behind boys in terms of access to education and completion of schooling. According to Save the Children, two-thirds of the world's 880 million illiterate adults are women and girls are more than 70 percent of the 125 million children who don't have a school to attend. Also, girls are more likely to fail to complete the first cycle of primary school after enrolling in the first grade. These problems are acute in some parts of the world: almost half of the world’s out-of-school girls are in Sub Saharan Africa and around a quarter are in South-Asia, according to a World Bank statistic. The underlying reasons for the gender gap in education could either reflect a demand or a supply side problem. In many countries, social traditions and deep-rooted religious and cultural beliefs could lead to low demand for educational services for girls. Also, the low demand for girl’s education could simply be the results of the perceived low returns to investment in girl’s education. On the other hand, in many countries children must travel long distances to attend schools and most of these schools lack gender segregated latrines or adequate female teachers, all of which might make parents unwilling to send young girls to schools. This panel includes three papers that attempt to examine the effects on educational outcomes, especially on girls, when some of the supply side barriers are removed. The first paper of the panel, to be presented by Felipe Barrera-Osorio, a faculty member of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, will discuss the impacts of publicly-funded private primary schools in a rural Province of Pakistan. The second paper of the panel, to be presented by Harounan Kazianga, a faculty member of the Deaprtment of Economics at Oklahoma State University, will discuss the mid-term impacts of building “girl-friendly” schools, with separate latrines for girls and boys and other features to attract female students, in Burkina Faso. The final paper of the panel, to be presented by Emilie Bagby, a researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, will discuss the long-term impacts of a similar program of “girl-friendly” school construction in the context of Niger. The panel will be chaired by Ali Protik, a researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, and Isaac Mbiti, a faculty member of the Department of Economics at Southern Methodist University, will be the discussant. The panel brings together speakers from both academia and the policy-research community working on addressing educational issues in different contexts in the most underserved communities in the world. Thus, the papers included in this panel will broaden our understanding of the effects of providing infrastructure that are designed to remove some of the supply barriers in the primary schooling context to induce parents to send children to school, especially girls.
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