"Girl-Friendly" Schools in Burkina Faso Lead to Higher Enrollment, Better Test Scores

"Girl-Friendly" Schools in Burkina Faso Lead to Higher Enrollment, Better Test Scores

New Findings Bolster U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls
Mar 30, 2016

Seven years after program launch, Mathematica Policy Research and the Center for International Policy Research and Evaluation (CIPRE) have found that the "Burkinabe Response to Improve Girls’ Chances to Succeed" program—or BRIGHT—continues to have large, positive impacts on children’s enrollment in school and their test scores. BRIGHT was designed to improve the educational outcomes of children—particularly girls—in Burkina Faso. In keeping with the goals of the just-announced U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls, BRIGHT has led to more young girls attending primary school than ever before.

With funding from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Burkina Faso government built new schools in 132 villages in 10 different provinces. The new schools offer "girl-friendly" features like housing for female teachers as well as separate latrines and take-home rations for girls. Other BRIGHT interventions include new classrooms, free textbooks, school supplies, and mentoring for young girls.

Other findings include:

  • For villages participating in BRIGHT , enrollment rates for children ages 6 to 17 were 15.5 percentage points higher than the rates in non-BRIGHT villages.
  • The program had a greater effect on enrollment levels for girls (21 percentage points higher) than it did for boys (10 percentage points higher).
  • Students in BRIGHT villages had better test scores than students in non-BRIGHT villages. The average BRIGHT student who began at the 50th percentile moved closer to the 73rd percentile in both math and French.

"What I find most significant here is the magnitude of BRIGHT’s impact, especially for girls," said Ali Protik, a senior researcher with CIPRE. "Increased enrollment and improved test scores have remained consistent over seven years. For a developing nation like Burkina Faso, which faces fundamental obstacles to improving literacy and getting more children enrolled in school, this is a huge step in the right direction."

For more information about BRIGHT, read the final report and issue brief. Tweet about this project using the hashtag #LetGirlsLearn.