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Reducing the constraints to school access and progress: assessing the effects of a scholarship program in rural Malawi

Hunsaker, Stephen, Baum, Donald R. and Ducos, Katy (2022) Reducing the constraints to school access and progress: assessing the effects of a scholarship program in rural Malawi. International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, 24 (2). 86 - 100. ISSN 2396-7404

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Identification Number: 10.1108/IJCED-10-2021-0106


Purpose: The study aims to provide insight on the potential effectiveness of demand-side financing for catalyzing improved educational outcomes in Malawi; and, given the extent of cost-related constraints to school contexts in other low-income countries, the results have relevance for education policy decisions more broadly. Design/methodology/approach: This study utilizes a non-equivalent groups research design to compare the educational experiences and outcomes of two student groups – those who did and those who did not receive a needs-based scholarship to attend secondary school and college in the Dowa, Kasungu, and Lilongwe Districts of Malawi. The authors assess impacts across a range of short and medium-term outcomes, including: school attendance, withdrawal, attainment, graduation, employment status, employment quality, and post-schooling income. Findings: The scholarship substantially reduces the household cost of participation in school, and reduces the distance travelled to school. As a result, scholarship recipients attain between 1 and 1.5 years of additional schooling and graduate at higher rates. In terms of post-schooling outcomes, recipients are in higher wage-earning occupations after leaving school. Overall, results suggest that scholarships are an effective demand-side strategy for improving educational attainment, progression, and potentially longer-term labor market outcomes. Originality/value: The study adds new evidence on policy approaches for expanding access to educational opportunities and increasing labor market outcomes in a context (Malawi specifically and sub-Saharan Africa more broadly) where evidence on such demand-side interventions is still growing.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 Emerald Publishing Limited.
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Date Deposited: 20 May 2022 13:33
Last Modified: 17 May 2024 02:39

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