Mobile Phones, Civic Engagement, and School Performance in Pakistan

Author/s: 
Minahil Asim, Thomas Dee
Year of Publication: 
2016

The effective governance of local public services depends critically on the civic engagement of local citizens. However, recent efforts to promote effective citizen oversight of the public-sector services in developing countries have had mixed results. This study discusses and evaluates a uniquely designed, low-cost, scalable program designed to improve the governance and performance of primary and middle schools in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The School Council Mobilization Program (SCMP) used mobile-phone calls to provide sustained and targeted guidance to local school-council members on their responsibilities and authority. We examine the effects of the SCMP on school enrollment, student and teacher attendance, and school facilities using a “difference in difference in differences” (DDD) design based on the targeted implementation of the SCMP. We find that this initiative led to meaningful increases in primary-school enrollment, particularly for young girls (i.e., a 12.4 percent increase), as well as targeted improvements in teacher attendance and school facilities, most of which were sustained in the months after the program concluded.

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APA Citation

Asim, M., & Dee, T. (2016). Mobile Phones, Civic Engagement, and School Performance in Pakistan.

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