Expanding Education to Reduce Poverty: Public and private provision

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Economics


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Description The research undertaken for this project provides a comprehensive picture of senior high school achievement and of the opportunities and challenges recent graduates face after the completion of senior high school in Ghana. In particular, the project investigates group learning in senior high schools, determinants of learning achievement, and characterizes the heterogeneous transitions of senior high school graduates to work and to post-secondary education in Ghana. The determinants of success in post-secondary outcomes are also analysed.
The main project findings improve our understanding of senior high school education in Ghana and of the school-to-work transition of Ghanaian youth. These findings are summarized in three manuscripts:
1. Ksoll, Christopher and Lehrer, Kim. "The Causal Impact of Schooling on the Distribution of Achievement: Evidence from Ghana." June 2013 Manuscript
2. Ksoll, Christopher and Lehrer, Kim. "Learning from Peers: Experimental Evidence of Group Learning in Senior High School in Ghana." November, 2013 Manuscript
3. Del Mel, Stephanie; Ferrali, Romain; Ksoll, Christopher and Lehrer, Kim. "Institutional Constraints in the School-to-work Transitions of Ghanaian Youth." January 2013 presentation
The first manuscript shows that graduation rates and exam scores increased significantly due to the change from three to four years of senior high school. In particular, we use a changes-in-changes framework (Athey and Imbens, 2006) to estimate the impact of the policy change on graduation rates. Moreover, we make use of the fact that Ghana and Nigeria write the same senior high school leaving exam in order to construct a credible counter-factual.
The second manuscript investigates the use of group learning in senior high schools through a framed field experiment and finds large impacts of group learning. Group learning is, however, only a small component of teaching in senior high schools in Ghana suggesting that providing teachers with training on the use of group work may improve student learning outcomes.
The third manuscript investigates why a substantial proportion of senior high school graduates do not move more quickly into tertiary institutions or the labour market. We find that students overestimate their ability, causing them to re-take the senior high school leaving exam multiple times instead of transitioning into the labour market.
In addition, two reports were commissioned from research collaborators at the Ghana Ministry of Education as part of this project. These reports complement the main project findings by providing an overview of the Ghana education sector (Ghana Education Sector: Background Paper by Eva Oberg) and by summarizing the characteristics of the random sample of senior high schools in the project study (Characteristics of 136 Selected Senior High Schools by Veronica Nuamah-Kutin).
Finally, we plan to continue our research on this subject by following this sample of Ghanaian youth as they transition through post-secondary education and the labour force. This future research will complement these findings and investigate the longer term impacts of changes in the duration of senior high school as well as a fuller understanding of the school-to-work transition over the long run.
Athey, Susan, and Guido W. Imbens. "Identification and inference in nonlinear difference-in-differences models." Econometrica 74.2 (2006): 431-497.
Exploitation Route The Ghanaian Ministry of Education has been involved at all stages of the research project and are the primary users of the research findings. In order for the policy suggestions stemming from the findings of this project to receive high visibility, we invited key stakeholders to a research dissemination and policy discussion workshop in Accra (October 2013). The Chief Director of the Ministry of Education delivered the welcome address and the Deputy Minister for Pre-Tertiary Education delivered the keynote address. In addition, members of the National Accreditation Board, Ghanaian academics, large education donors in Ghana, such as, DFID and the World Bank, and members of the media were present.
In addition, the research findings have been summarized as policy reports and briefing notes and published online for broader dissemination through both the Centre for the Study of African Economies' website as well as the Ministry of Education's new online resource centre.
We hope that our engagement with the Ministry of Education and this wider dissemination of the research findings will guide evidence-based policy decision-making in education in both Ghana and other developing countries.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Other

URL http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/resprogs/go-study/
Description The findings of this project have been, and continue to be, disseminated widely, both to academic and policy audiences, in order to obtain the maximum potential impact. The findings have been presented at multiple academic and policy-oriented conferences and workshops (including the IZA-World Bank Conference on Employment and Development (New Delhi, 2012), the Conference on Labour Markets in Africa (Oxford, 2012), the Conference on Public service delivery in developing countries (Bristol, 2012), the Centre for the Study of African Economies Annual Conference (Oxford, 2013), the Canadian Economic Association Annual Meetings (Calgary, 2012), the University of Ottawa (2012), the University of Manchester (2013), and the Research in Economic Development Meetings (Ottawa, 2013)). The main findings were also presented at a dissemination workshop on "Research and Education Policy in Secondary Schools", organized jointly by the research team and the Ministry of Education on October 22nd, 2013, in Accra, Ghana. A copy of the workshop report is available at http://www.moe.gov.gh/docs/oxford%20workshop%20report.pdf. Moreover, the project findings were summarized in a policy briefing note entitled "Ghana's youth dividend?" (CSAE Briefing Paper 04, October 2013). This note is available on the Centre for the Study of African Economies' (CSAE) website (http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/output/briefingpapers/pdfs/CSAE-briefingpaper-04-GhanasYouthDividend.pdf) and was also distributed at the dissemination workshop, and through the CSAE's network. Finally, through our collaboration with the Ghanaian Ministry of Education, we have disseminated our research findings directly to the Ministry and its policy makers. The project has also aided in financing the setup of the Ministry of Education's online resource centre which will make research and policy reports from the Ministry publicly available, including those from this project.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services