This project involves randomised screenings of an aspirations-building film to secondary school students before their national exams. The film is called Queen of Katwe and is a biographical film, based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, about the rise of a poverty stricken Ugandan girl to become a world chess champion. The film therefore offers a potential role model to young Ugandan students about working hard to achieve their dreams and overcoming challenges.
A growing body of behavioural economics research suggests that people’s aspirations and sense of control over their lives may be beaten down over time by the very difficult nature of living in poverty. Providing an example of a successful peer as a role model may help to create new mental models at a crucial decision point in young peoples’ lives. This research design allows us to test whether something as simple as viewing an aspirational film can positively impact young people’s educational achievement and hence have long run impact on their earning potential. It would allow us to answer the following questions:
1. Does the viewing of an aspirational film featuring a potential role model, The Queen of Katwe, positively impact students' national exam performance?
2. Does this impact vary by the gender or age of the viewer, or by the level of exam being sat?