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Financial Constraints and Girls’ Secondary Education: Evidence from School Fee Elimination in The Gambia(Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2019-02) Blimpo, Moussa P. ; Gajigo, Ousman ; Pugatch, ToddWe assess the impact of large-scale fee elimination for secondary school girls in The Gambia on the quantity, composition, and achievement of students. The gradual rollout of the program across geographic regions provides identifying variation in the policy. The program increased the number of girls taking the high school exit exam by 55%. The share of older test takers increased in poorer districts, expanding access for students who began school late, repeated grades, or whose studies had been interrupted. Despite these changes in the quantity and composition of students, we find robustly positive point estimates of the program on test scores, with suggestive evidence of gains for several subgroups of both girls and boys. Absence of learning declines is notable in a setting where expanded access could strain limited resources and reduce school quality. Our findings suggest that financial constraints remain serious barriers to post-primary education, and that efforts to expand access to secondary education need not come at the expense of learning in low-income countries like The Gambia.
Girls' Education and Child Marriage in West and Central Africa: Trends, Impacts, Costs, and Solutions(Taylor and Francis, 2018-04-26) Male, Chata ; Wodon, QuentinWithin the context of women’s lack of empowerment, the issues of child marriage and low educational attainment for girls are prominent, especially in West and Central Africa. Using survey data for 21 of the 25 countries in West and Central Africa, this article analyzes trends over time in educational attainment for girls and child marriage. Over the last two and a half decades, not accounting for differences in population sizes between countries, according to the latest DHS and MICS surveys available in each country, completion rates increased on average by 24 points, 14 points, and 8 points at the primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary levels, respectively. The prevalence of child marriage decreased by about 8 points over that period. Clearly, progress at the secondary level has been weaker than at the primary level, probably in part due to the persistence of high rates of child marriage in many countries. The article suggests that ending child marriage should improve girls’ educational attainment, and conversely, improving girls’ educational attainment should help reduce child marriage. This, in turn, could have major impacts toward contributing to empowering women more broadly. A review of impact evaluations for pilot interventions suggests how ending child marriage and improving educational attainment for girls could be done, with potentially large economic benefits not only for girls and their future household, but also for the region as a whole.
Publication(Taylor and Francis, 2018-01-11) Asadullah, M. Niaz ; Amin, Sajeda ; Chaudhury, NazmulThis paper examines the influence of the institutional nature of schools on gender stereotyping by exploring contrasts between non-religious and Islamic faith (that is madrasah) schools among secondary school-going adolescents in rural Bangladesh. In particular, differences in gender attitudes across school types are explored to elucidate what about schools matters. Using a uniquely designed survey to assess the influence of school type on student characteristics, we find large differences in stereotypical gender attitudes by school type and student gender. Madrasah students in general, and unrecognized madrasah students in particular, show unfavorable attitudes about women and their abilities compared to their peers in non-religious schools. However, these differences are diminished considerably in ordered probit models suggesting that school-level differences are explained by teacher characteristics such as the nature of teacher training and average family size of teachers. These estimated effects are robust to conditioning on a rich set of family characteristics.