Mobilizing Parents at Home and at School:

An Experiment on Primary Education in Angola

Authors: Vincenzo Di Maro, Stefan Leeffers, Danila Serra and Pedro C. Vicente


We report results from a field experiment in 126 Angolan primary schools where we tested whether parents could be mobilized by conducting a highly intensive information campaign through household visits, by facilitating parents’ meetings without providing any exogenous information, or by doing both. We examine various dimensions of parental participation, i.e., beneficial parenting practices at home, frequent contacts with teachers and involvement in formal participatory institutions such as parents’ committees and school boards. Providing information through door to door visits impacted parents’ individual involvement at home but had no impact on formal participation at school. On the other hand, holding parents’ meetings without providing any external information had no impact on involvement at home but led to increased participation in formal school accountability institutions. This highlights the importance of facilitating cooperation and coordination among parents to promote effective involvement in participatory institutions. The combination of the information campaign and the parents’ meetings impacted both involvement at home and formal participation at the school level, and had indirect positive effects on management practices and school facilities, parents’ satisfaction with teachers and teacher’s attitudes toward parents.

Do Social Capital and Collective Action in a Community Induce Higher Test Scores?

Authors: Joana Cardim, Vincenzo Di Maro, Danila Serra and Pedro C. Vicente


Does greater accountability of public service providers towards citizens improve the quality of service provision? Higher community empowerment may lead to more efficient monitoring by those citizens. We test this hypothesis by examining conditional correlations between standardized primary school test scores and various measures of parental participation, social capital and collective action within a community. We also analyze correlations between these measures and performance of teachers. We use administrative, survey and behavioral cross-sectional data from a representative set of households belonging to one of Angola’s provinces, Kwanza Sul. We find that students in schools located in communities in which parents are more participative, socially active and cooperative have better average grades and that teachers in those communities exert higher levels of effort.

Teacher Absenteeism and Students’ Test Scores in Kwanza South, Angola

Author: Frederica Mendonça


We examine the impact of teacher absenteeism on students’ educational outcomes. We collected survey data and implemented standardized test scores in Kwanza South, Angola and use them to show that there are negative returns to teacher absenteeism on student’s performance. We acknowledge the existing selection problem given that absenteeism is not independent of teachers’ individual characteristics. To address it we use an instrumental variable approach and compare teachers that share similar contexts but face different costs of attendance due to the distance to which they live from school – either measured in kilometers walked or minutes spent travelling from home to school. We argue that teachers that live further away or that take longer to get to school face high costs of attendance that increase the probability of them being absent. We also find that over time, teachers’ absenteeism has made it impossible for students’ outcomes to improve, which urges the need for policy interventions aiming at tackling this phenomenon.

Teacher Absenteeism and Students’ Test Scores in Kwanza South, A School Infrastructure as a determinant of students’ performances

Author: Ornella Dellacio


This article looks at the effect of school infrastructure on student academic performance. We use cross-sectional observations from 126 primary schools in Kwanza Sul, in rural Angola. We collect survey data and standardized tests of Portuguese Language and Mathematics. Using an index for the quality of infrastructure, ANCOVA analysis is conducted at the student-level. We also perform a Difference- in-Difference estimation at the school-level. We found that the quality of school infrastructure has a significant effect on student achievements. In particular, better- equipped schools are systematically associated with higher test scores. Policymakers that wish to improve the quality of schooling should consider avoiding temporary solutions to school buildings and facilities and address additional resources to maintain those schools.

Copyright © Stefan Leeffers 2020. All rights reserved.

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