Measuring the Impact of Preschools in Lower-Income Countries: Experimental Evidence from Côte d’Ivoire

Last registered on December 04, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Measuring the Impact of Preschools in Lower-Income Countries: Experimental Evidence from Côte d’Ivoire
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003502
Initial registration date
December 04, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
December 04, 2020, 9:04 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Paris School of Economics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Ministère de l'Education Nationale, de l'Enseignement Technique et de la Formation Professionnelle
PI Affiliation
Ministère de l'Education Nationale, de l'Enseignement Technique et de la Formation Professionnelle

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2018-07-15
End date
2023-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
In low- and middle-income countries, 250 million children under 5 are at risk of not reaching their full developmental potential (Black et al., 2017). These differences in development have multiple causes, including an insufficient level of cognitive stimulation, dietary deficiencies, chronic infections, and so on. Indeed, the prolonged exposure of a young child to one or more of these problems can cause changes in brain structure and function and slow the child’s development (Walker et al., 2011). In the medium term, affected children are more likely to perform poorly in school and to drop out early. In the longer term, they tend to have lower incomes and higher fertility rates. Additionally, their children are more likely to face the same development issues, thus contributing to the intergenerational transmission of poverty (Grantham-McGregor et al., 2007).

Investing in the development of disadvantaged children from an early age is likely to limit the number of developmentally delayed children and the significant societal costs associated with them, thereby breaking the cycle of reproduction of inequality (Heckman, 2006). In this regard, investing in preschools for children aged 3 to 5 is often viewed as a particularly efficient solution. As a matter of fact, a growing number of studies show the positive impact of these institutions (see Duncan and Magnuson (2013) for a meta-analysis of studies on the US). Indeed, the curriculum followed by these preschools (generally centered on the exploration of written and spoken language, creative and motor activities, etc.) coupled with prolonged interactions with other children may be more likely to foster the development of children’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Preschools can also help ensure that some of the children’s basic nutritional needs are met and that they have access to basic care. Unfortunately, the number of causal evidence on the impact of preschools in lower-income countries remains extremely limited.

As part of this project, we implement a randomized controlled trial designed to measure and compare the effectiveness of community-based preschools and of a program aiming to improve learning conditions during the first years of primary school.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Maiga, Seydou, Bastien Michel and Péfougne Abraham Yeo. 2020. "Measuring the Impact of Preschools in Lower-Income Countries: Experimental Evidence from Côte d’Ivoire." AEA RCT Registry. December 04. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3502
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
1. Community-based preschools.
These preschools will have two classrooms each and will aim to prepare children aged 4 to 5 for primary school. Developed by the MENETFP, the curriculum will be play-based and tailored to the needs of young children. Classes will be taught in French.
Communities will be responsible for operating and maintaining these preschools. Meanwhile, the MENETFP will be in charge of the following things: funding the construction of the two classrooms and the installation of hand-washing stations and child-friendly toilets; paying and training community preschool educators and their assistants; developing and delivering teaching materials and preschool furniture.

2. Intervention aiming to improve learning conditions during the first years of primary school. Instead of investing in the development of preschool education, this intervention jointly addresses various problems affecting primary education. As part of this intervention, the following elements are implemented:
a. Improving the teaching practices of CP1, CP2 and CE1 teachers in reading/writing and maths, as well as, more generally, the practices of school heads through the organization of training days and increased oversight from educational advisers;
b. Improving the financial incentives for primary schools by allocating subsidies whose amount will depend on students’ learning achievements;
c. Improving material learning conditions by granting schools a subsidy (amounting on average to USD 12,000) in order to fund various projects (building additional classrooms, sanitary facilities reserved for girls, etc.). ,
Intervention Start Date
2018-10-01
Intervention End Date
2023-06-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Children's development.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Children’s development level will be estimated using the IDELA tool, « The International Development and Early Learning Assessment ». This tool assesses early learning and development among young children aged 3,5 to 6 years by focusing on the following 7 domains: 1) motor development; 2) emergent language and literacy; 3) emergent numeracy/problem-solving; 4) social-emotional skills; 5) executive function; 6) memory; and 7) learning approaches.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Parents’ time use and, in particular, their participation in income-generating activities. We are especially interested in these outcomes for mothers, as children’s primary caregivers.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
1. Sampling method
In total, 136 villages were selected to participate in the study. The selection was made within six regions of the north of Côte d’Ivoire (Bagoué, Béré, Boukani, Kabadougou, Poro and Tchologo) that combine the lowest primary school enrollment and educational achievement rates and the highest levels of poverty. The 136 localities were selected at random within the pool of eligible localities, i.e. all localities which, for practical reasons, did not already have a preschool, as well as localities that did not have more than one primary school.

2. Experimental protocol
Within each of the 68 school districts of the study area, two eligible localities were randomly selected to form the experimental sample. It is important to note that the project was subjected to the following constraint: half the schools/localities receiving the preschool and/or primary school interventions had to already be benefiting from the « social safety nets » intervention (as part of which a quarterly allowance was allocated to the poorest households). To achieve this, within the 56 school districts where that intervention is implemented, we randomly selected one locality among those that benefited from the social safety nets and another one among those that did not.

The school districts and localities were then drawn at random to determine where the primary school and preschool interventions were going to be implemented as part of the experiment.
a. 1st draw: At first, 34 of the 68 school districts were randomly selected to receive the primary school intervention. This first draw was stratified to take into account the region of the districts and the fact that at least one of their localities did or did not benefit from the « social safety nets » intervention.
b. 2nd draw: Half of the 136 localities were then randomly selected to receive the preschool intervention. This second draw was also stratified to take into account whether or not a locality benefited from the « social safety nets » intervention, whether or not a locality had been selected to receive the primary school intervention, as well as the region of the locality.

Ultimately, the combination of these two draws allowed us to generate the following four groups:
1. A group of 34 localities receiving neither the preschool intervention nor the primary school intervention
2. A group of 34 localities receiving the preschool intervention but not the primary school intervention
3. A group of 34 localities not receiving the preschool intervention but receiving the primary school intervention
4. A group of 34 localities receiving both the preschool intervention and the primary school intervention
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization was done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
School districts (primary school intervention)
Localities (preschool intervention)
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
136 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
4080 (30 children per school)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
34 schools/villages in each group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDE for child development: 0.18 s.d.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number