Six-minute cellphone call improves student enrollment, teacher attendance in Pakistan, Stanford study finds

December 15, 2016

BY Miriam Wasserman

A brief monthly phone call to school council members in Pakistan can be a relatively low-cost, scalable way to raise elementary-school enrollment – particularly for girls – and spur school improvement, according to a new study co-authored by Stanford Graduate School of Education Professor Thomas Dee and alumna Minahil Asim.

In the study, Asim and Dee evaluated the impact of the School Council Mobilization Program, a pilot initiative that took advantage of the widespread ownership of cell phones in rural Pakistan to strengthen citizen oversight of local schools.

“The program cost about $50 per school and it increased enrollment by roughly 12 students in the typical primary school for girls,” Dee said. “The fact that one could drive improvement in such an important outcome at low cost is extraordinarily exciting to me,” added Dee who is also a senior fellow at Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

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