Education systems in developing countries are often centrally managed in a top-down structure. In environments where schools have different needs and where localized information plays an important role, empowerment of the local community may be attractive, but low levels of human capital at the local level may offset gains from local information. This research evaluates the effectiveness of a program that provided a grant and comprehensive school management training to principals, teachers, and community representatives in a set of schools. In order to separate the effect of the training from the grant, a second set of schools received the grant only with no training. A third set of schools served as a control group and received neither intervention. Each of 273 Gambian primary schools were randomized to one of the three groups. Three to four years into the program, the full intervention led to a 21% reduction in student absenteeism and a 23% reduction in teacher absenteeism, but produced no impact on student test scores. The effect of the full program on learning outcomes is strongly mediated by baseline local capacity, as measured by adult literacy. This result suggests that, in villages with high literacy, the program may yield gains on students' learning outcomes. Receiving the grant alone had no impact on either test scores or participation.
Blimpo, M.P.; Evans, D.K.; Lahire, N. Parental Human Capital and Effective School Management. Presented at RISE Launch Event on 18-19 June 2015 in Washington DC, USA. (2015) 55 pp.