Author(s): Maruyama, Takao; Igei, Kengo; Kurokawa, Seiichi
Pages: 25 p.
More than 385 million children of primary school age are not reaching the minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics in the world. The learning crisis is especially acute in sub-Saharan Africa. In Madagascar, around 80 percent of students in primary last grade have not reached the minimum proficiency levels. The ministry of education in Madagascar experimented with a package of interventions that strengthens the capacity of school management committee in utilizing information on student assessments to sensitize and mobilize parents, teachers, and community members for joint actions. The package includes the pedagogical component that introduces teaching in basic reading and math that matches the student’s proficiency level. We investigate whether the package realized the collaboration among the local stakeholders to improve the learning of primary grades 3 through 5, using the randomized controlled trial. We find that the package significantly increased the percentage of schools that organized the supplementary classes of remedial activities, mobilizing voluntary contributions from the local stakeholders. The package remarkably improved basic reading and math learning in all the targeted grades. The magnitude of impacts is largest in grade 3 students, then in grade 4 and 5. The average impact on math learning for grade 3 is estimated at 0.56 standard deviations of test scores. The package also increased the percentage of the grade 3 students who could read a paragraph written in the local language by 25 percentage points. Furthermore, the package decreased student dropouts and increased the transition rate to lower secondary education. This study demonstrates the power of community-wide support in improving learning even in the context of a low-income country.