To test the hypotheses whether “giving parents information on the performance of schools improved test scores and enrolment, and reduced the cost of private school tuition”. For this, an experiment was conducted in 112 Pakistani villages which were confirmed “closed markets”. That is households rarely crossed village boundaries in shopping for schools and schools drew their enrolment from the village.
Initially, the students were tested and baseline surveys were collected in the spring of 2004 and report cards distributed in September. The report cards were sent to both households and schools in treatment villages. Meetings were also conducted to explain to parents, as many were illiterate. Other half of the villages served as controls.
1. Learning outcomes improved. In treatment villages, average test scores increased by 42% over the test scores in control villages. Learning gains in government schools also increased in response to market pressure.
2. Private schools lowered their fees. In treatment villages, fees declined by 17% relative to schools in control villages. Test score gains and price decline much prominent among private schools in more competitive villages. Thus, suggesting that report cards enabled parents to compare across schools, resulting in greater pressure to perform.
3. Thirdly, enrolment went up. Before the intervention, 76% of boys and 65% of girls aged 5 to15 were enrolled in schools. After that overall enrolment rose by 3 percentage points in treatment villages- or about 40 children in each treatment village.
4. Finally, the worst performing schools went out of business. Private schools with low-quality baselines went out of business as parents shifted their children to alternate available schools.
This model can also be replicated in India to increase learning outcomes as according to the present ASER Report though India has almost achieved Universal Education target but the learning outcomes are at their worst. So, with this model work can be done towards providing quality education.
However, there is a caveat in this that the researchers tested and constructed the report cards themselves, thus effectively reducing the likelihood of gaming and corruption in the information measures. So, for implementation of this program investments in high quality has to be ensured.
1. Andrabi, T, J Das and A I Khwaja (2013), “Students today, teachers tomorrow: Identifying constraints on the provision of education”, Journal of Public Economics 100: 1–14. http://economics-files.pomona.edu/andrabi/research/StudentsToday.pdf