Construction of toilets improved participation in education in India, particularly for girls, points out an international study, which covered 52-low-and middle-income countries and analysed various studies related to the field.
“The school sanitation and hygiene education programme in India is aimed at increasing latrine coverage in schools. The construction of toilets increased enrolment and reduced drop-out rates,” points out an education review by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) launched as part of a seminar co-organised with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-Pal) at the India Habitat Centre on Wednesday. The increase in enrolment was particularly substantial among young children.
The study highlights the most effective methods in getting children to school and helping them learn, across developing countries.
It argues that more investments need to be made in programmes which are effective. It points out that several popular education interventions failed to improve learning outcomes including computer-assisted learning. “Overall, computer assisted learning programmes have had decidedly mixed effects. They have not generally had positive effects on language, arts and composite test scores,” it states.
Speaking on the occasion Atishi Marlena, advisor to the deputy chief minister of Delhi spoke about the challenges faced by government in implementing major reforms. She said researchers needed to be embedded in the system so that they can give regular advice. “Even if evidence exists on the effectiveness of an education intervention, systems need to be in place for implementing it,” she said in a session chaired by Sanjoy Narayan, South Asia executive director, J-Pal.
“Our study finds that education programmes either improve children’s school enrolment or they improve their learning. They rarely do both,” said Emmanuel Jimenez, executive director, 3ie and a co-author of the study.
“The big takeaway here is that education strategies need to have a multipronged approach to address the multiple barriers to school enrolment, attendance and learning. Moreover, such programmes must be tailored to needs in specific contexts, because what works in one setting may not work in another,” he concludes.