Many developing countries have faced prolonged closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent evidence has shown that school closures during a public health crisis can cause short-term detrimental effects on students’ achievement (Bandiera et al 2020; Archibong and Annan 2020). School closures can also be negatively associated with students’ outcomes in the long term. Estimations indicate that the average current student might expect around 3% lower career earnings, under the most optimistic scenario in which schools immediately returned to 2019 performance levels (Hanushek and Woessmann, 2020).
The quality of school leadership and the practices that school leaders implement are potentially important areas of intervention that can help mitigate the negative and long-lasting effects of school closures and prepare for the process of school reopening. Prior work has documented a positive relationship between the quality of day-to-day school management practices and student outcomes (Bloom et al. 2015, Dobbie and Fryer 2015, Fryer 2017, Leaver et al, 2019, Lemos et al, 2021) and also shown that school leaders “matter” (Coelli and Green, 2011; Lavy and Boiko, 2017; Walsh and Dotter, 2020; Munoz and Prem, 2020).
Considering the relevance of effective school leadership in episodes of crisis, this project aims to rigorously explore the impact of school operations management on students’ outcomes and the mechanisms explaining these results. We explore this analysis in the context of Peru, a country with important underlying weaknesses in school management. In partnership with the MoE, this project will experimentally evaluate the impact of a training program designed by the NGO Global School Leaders and adapted to the local context.
The program aims to increase school attendance and reduce dropout in a school reopening context through an improvement of principals’ skills related to school organization and communication with teachers and parents. It also aims to improve principals' mental health. Specifically, the intervention attempts to indirectly improve teacher’s motivation and performance and to change parents’ (and teachers’) perception of risk in sending their children back to school by training and supporting school principals' school operational management practices.