Evaluation of the Impact of School Canteen Programs on Internal Efficiency of Schools, Cognitive Acquisitions and Learning Capacities of Students in Rural Primary Schools in Senegal

PEP Working Paper Series 2013-14

44 Pages Posted: 10 May 2018 Last revised: 12 Jul 2018

See all articles by Abdoulaye Diagne

Abdoulaye Diagne

Université Cheikh Anta Diop; University of Angers - Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée (CREA)

Mouhamadou Moustapha LO

Consortium for Research Economic and Social (CRES)

Ousmane Sokhna

CRES

Fatoumata L. Diallo

Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) - Economics Department

Date Written: February 1, 2014

Abstract

This study evaluates the impact of school canteen programs on the performance of rural primary schools in Senegal using a “randomized experiment”. 120 schools which had never had school canteens were selected in the four poorest regions of Senegal. They were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Students in the second (CP) and fourth (CE2) years of primary school were observed in each of the selected schools. Many tests (student, Kolmogorov-Smirnov, Mann-Whitney Levene, Chi2) were performed in order to verify the random nature of the treatment assignment. The results show that, at the school level, the two groups are relatively homogenous, but there are some differences at the individual level. Thus, the double difference methods used to estimate the impact of the meal program on academic performance. The results are as follows: the canteen has a positive and significant impact on the overall score of students in grade 2 (10.56 points). This result is confirmed in both mathematics (12.32 points) and French (8.72 points). However, the impact is not significant for older children (more than 10 years old) in CP. In terms of gender, the study shows a difference in the impact in favour of girls in the fourth grade. Looking at the cognitive impact, we find that, except for the level of knowledge, the canteen has a greater impact on the cognitive ability of the youngest (aged six and seven years). Competencies in memory (33.23 points) and reasoning (23.92 points) improved by more. These results are all significant at the 5% confidence level. However, school canteens do not improve the internal efficacy of public primary schools: dropouts and repeated grades have certainly decreased, but none of the results are statistically significant. By improving the nutritional intake of children who benefit from the meals supplied to the school, the canteens have positive externalities on the nutritional intake of children living with the beneficiary students. Moreover, there are interaction effects between the school canteen and two traditional schooling quality inputs: poverty and class size. Regarding these results, we can state that universalizing school canteens can be an effective method to accelerate progress towards quality education for all.

Keywords: school canteens, primary education, rural areas, school dropouts, repeated grades, nutritional intake, evaluations, double difference

Suggested Citation

Diagne, Abdoulaye and Moustapha LO, Mouhamadou and Sokhna, Ousmane and L. Diallo, Fatoumata, Evaluation of the Impact of School Canteen Programs on Internal Efficiency of Schools, Cognitive Acquisitions and Learning Capacities of Students in Rural Primary Schools in Senegal (February 1, 2014). PEP Working Paper Series 2013-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3167973 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3167973

Abdoulaye Diagne (Contact Author)

Université Cheikh Anta Diop ( email )

B.P. 5005
Dakar-Fann 16996
Senegal

University of Angers - Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée (CREA)

Ecole Polytechnique
1, rue Descartes
75005 Paris
France

Mouhamadou Moustapha LO

Consortium for Research Economic and Social (CRES) ( email )

Cité Iba Ndiaye Diadji, n° 1 & 2
Dakar
Senegal

Ousmane Sokhna

CRES

Rue 10 prolongée cité Iba Ndiaye Djadji 1 & 2
Dakar
Senegal

Fatoumata L. Diallo

Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) - Economics Department ( email )

Fann
Dakar
Senegal

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