Abhijeet Singh on school governance

WIDER Seminar Series

WIDER Seminar Series - Abhijeet Singh on school governance

Abhijeet Singh of the Stockholm School of Economics will share experimental results on school governance at the WIDER Seminar Series session on 23 May. 

Abstract – Understanding the flailing state: Experimental evidence from a large-scale school governance improvement programme in India 

We present results from a large-scale experimental evaluation of an ambitious attempt to improve school governance at scale in India (implemented in approximately 1900 schools and randomized over about 5800 schools). The intervention consisted of several global best practices in school governance and included three main components: comprehensive school assessments by external school inspectors leading to customized school improvement plans, regular follow ups on progress with ongoing monitoring and support and leveraging ICT tools to make both assessments and progress visible throughout the education system. 

We report four main findings. First, the assessments were able to meaningfully evaluate school quality with scores being predictive of future student value-added and teacher absence. Second, though initial assessments (overseen by external consultants) were implemented well, subsequent monitoring by government officials was not affected by the intervention. Third, we find no impact on teacher absence, teacher effort in classrooms, student engagement or the engagement of School Management Committees. Finally, consistent with this, the intervention had no impact on student learning outcomes. Our results provide direct evidence of the challenge of improving service delivery at scale in developing countries and show how well-designed plans and programs fail due to poor implementation and state capacity.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.