Updated Aug 31, 2020
Part of Innovations for Poverty Actionhttps://www.poverty-action.org/study/returns-secondary-schooling-ghana
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Primary school enrollment has risen in Sub-Saharan Africa over the past two decades, but secondary school enrollment rates remain relatively low. In this ongoing study in Ghana, researchers are evaluating the effect of secondary school scholarships on educational attainment and cognitive skills in the short run, and on life outcomes in the longer run, from employment and health outcomes to civic participation and attitudes. Results thus far showed that cost was a key barrier to secondary school enrollment among middle school graduates, and full scholarships increased young people’s educational attainment, knowledge, skills, and preventative health behaviors. For women, secondary schooling also delayed marriage and pregnancy. Scholarship winners who enrolled in academic tracks were more likely to enroll in tertiary education, and winners who enrolled in vocational tracks had higher earnings than non-winners. Researchers will continue to track participants to 2020 and beyond.
IPA will conduct an RCT that will provide evidence on how free secondary school education might improve early childhood development in the next generation.This study has the potential to prove that investing in secondary education improves outcomes for future generations. With support from Development Innovation Ventures (DIV),IPA is conducting a randomized controlled trial to compare the early childhood development outcomes of children in Ghana whose parents were randomly selected in 2008 to receive secondary school scholarships versus the outcomes of the children of parents in the control group.