Assessing the impact of primary school quality on adolescent educational participation and achievement

Paul C. Hewett, Population Council
Barbara S. Mensch, Population Council
Cynthia B. Lloyd, Population Council
Joseph Chimombo, University of Malawi

Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, was an early pioneer in eliminating school fees at the primary level and has seen an enormous increase in primary school enrollment. However, educational experts are now concerned that the quality of schooling has suffered. We will use two waves of a longitudinal study of adolescents to examine the effect of school quality on educational participation and achievement in two districts in southern Malawi. The objectives of this paper are to 1) develop indicators of school quality and assess their reliability; 2) examine variability in these indicators by exposure to donor investment, community characteristics, and the relative wealth of households in the school’s catchment area; and 3) investigate the association between school quality and a selection of adolescent’s educational outcomes. The paper will also explicitly evaluate the differential impact of school quality on educational outcome for boys and girls.

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Presented in Session 83: Adolescent transition to adulthood in a changing context in developing countries