Advancing Girls' Education in Developing Countries (English version issue brief)
- After three years, IMAGINE raised primary school enrollment by 8.3 percentage points, decreased absences of more than two consecutive weeks by 7.9 percentage points, had a 0.13 standard deviation impact on math test scores, and had no impact on overall French test scores.
- IMAGINE’s impacts were larger for girls than for boys. For girls, the project raised enrollment by 11.8 percentage points and raised attendance by 10.6 percentage points, whereas for boys the project only raised enrollment by 5.0 percentage points and attendance by 5.3 percentage points. The difference between the genders was statistically significant for enrollment and attendance.
- For learning, the impacts on math and French test scores for girls were consistently large and statistically significant, whereas there were no impacts for boys. Girls scored 0.11 standard deviations higher than boys on the math test, but differences on the French test were not statistically significant.
- The intervention did not affect children differently based on their families’ socioeconomic status.
Mathematica conducted a randomized evaluation of the IMAGINE (IMprove the educAtion of Girls In NigEr) project three years after the end the program. IMAGINE consisted of the construction of “girl-friendly” primary schools, with amenities such as separate latrines for boys and girls, a water source, and housing for female teachers in rural Niger, along with complementary interventions.
Three years after the new schools were built, IMAGINE raised primary school enrollment by 8.3 percentage points during the 2012–2013 school year, decreased absences of more than two consecutive weeks by 7.9 percentage points during the same year, had a 0.13 standard deviation impact on math test scores, and had no impact on overall French test scores. These impacts were driven largely by IMAGINE’s impacts on girls. The impacts on girls’ enrollment, absenteeism, and test scores were significantly larger than the impacts on boys.
We compared these impacts to the findings from a one-year follow-up evaluation that showed only small, positive impacts on school enrollment (driven by impacts on girls) but no impact on attendance or test scores. The increase in impact over time suggest that it may take more than one year for this type of program to improve educational outcomes in Niger.
Please note: The English-language version of the brief can be accessed via the link to the right of this page. You can also read the French-language version of the brief.