Can Technology Overcome Social Disadvantage of School Children's Learning Outcomes? Evidence from a Large-Scale Experiment in India
33 Pages Posted: 5 May 2016
Date Written: May 5, 2016
Poor learning outcomes in developing countries are mostly attributed to the low quality of teaching inputs in schools, primarily due to a shortage of adequately trained teachers and rampant teacher absenteeism. Children from socially disadvantaged groups are worst affected, as this lack of resources adds on to the already prevailing discrimination in the classrooms. Computer technology can be used to reduce these deficiencies and provide high quality educational content. We conduct a large scale randomized field experiment among 1823 rural government schools in India, in the state of Karnataka, where satellite-terrestrial technology is used to telecast additional interactive classes. Results show that this intervention has a positive impact on student performance. We find that this technology is non-discriminatory and reduces the educational attainment gap between socially disadvantaged students and others. In particular, we find that girls from these sections of the society benefit the most from this intervention.
Keywords: Information and Communication Technology, Education, Field Experiment, Government Policy
JEL Classification: C93, I28, I25, I29
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