What is it about?
Education provides a firm basis to improve your own and your community’s quality of live in several ways. Substantial gains have been made at the primary school level, but progress towards universal secondary education has slowed, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. We elicited the perceived barriers of secondary schooling in rural Burkina Faso. To do so, we used semi-structured interviews (N = 49) to listen to enrolled students, out-of-school adolescents, parents of enrolled students, parents of out-of-school adolescents, teachers and key informants who were knowledgeable of the school context. Systematic analysis of interview transcripts and coding with the diathesis-stress model in mind helped classifying recurring themes in different categories of barriers to secondary schooling.
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Why is it important?
We elicited the perceived barriers to secondary education to guide future interventions and policy aimed at achieving universal secondary education and gender equity in rural Burkina Faso and broader region. We characterized a wide range of perceived barriers to secondary education, including economic, health, psychological, sociocultural, and structural factors. Major reported barriers included school-related expenses, the lack of school infrastructure and resources, and insufficient and heterogeneous French language skills (the official language of instruction in Burkina Faso). Forced marriages, adolescent pregnancies, and the low perceived economic benefits of investing in secondary schooling were reported as key barriers among young women.
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This page is a summary of: “It’s the poverty”—Stakeholder perspectives on barriers to secondary education in rural Burkina Faso, PLoS ONE, November 2022, PLOS,
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Health and economic benefits of secondary education in the context of poverty: Evidence from Burkina Faso
Even though formal education is considered a key determinant of individual well-being globally, enrollment in secondary schooling remains low in many low- and middle-income countries, suggesting that the perceived returns to such schooling may be low. We jointly estimate survival and monetary benefits of secondary schooling using detailed demographic and surveillance data from the Boucle du Mouhoun region, Burkina Faso, where national upper secondary schooling completion rates are among the lowest globally (<10%). We first explore surveillance data from the Nouna Health and Demographic Surveillance System from 1992 to 2016 to determine long-term differences in survival outcomes between secondary and higher and primary schooling using Cox proportional hazards models. To estimate average increases in asset holdings associated with secondary schooling, we use regionally representative data from the Burkina Faso Demographic Health Surveys (2003, 2010, 2014, 2017–18; N = 3,924). Survival was tracked for 14,892 individuals. Each year of schooling was associated with a mortality reduction of up to 16% (95% CI 0.75–0.94), implying an additional 1.9 years of life expectancy for men and 5.1 years for women for secondary schooling compared to individuals completing only primary school. Relative to individuals with primary education, individuals with secondary or higher education held 26% more assets (SE 0.02; CI 0.22–0.30). Economic returns for women were 3% points higher than male returns with 10% (SE 0.03; CI 0.04–0.16) vs. 7% (SE 0.02; CI 0.02–0.012) and in rural areas 20% points higher than in urban areas with 30% (SE 0.06; CI 0.19–0.41) vs. 4% (SE 0.01; CI 0.02–0.07). Our results suggest that secondary education is associated with substantial health and economic benefits in the study area and should therefore be considered by researchers, governments, and other major stakeholders to create for example school promotion programs.
“Because at school, you can become somebody” – The perceived health and economic returns on secondary schooling in rural Burkina Faso
Background: The perceived returns on schooling are critical in schooling decision-making but are not well understood. This study examines the perceived returns on secondary schooling in Burkina Faso, where secondary school completion is among the lowest globally (<10%). Methods: We conducted a two-staged qualitative study using semi-structured interviews (N = 49). In the first stage, we sampled students, dropouts, parents and teachers from a random sample of five schools (n = 39). In the second stage, we interviewed key informants knowledgeable of the school context using snowball sampling (n = 10). Systematic analysis was based on a grounded theory approach with a reading of transcripts, followed by coding of the narratives in NVivo 12. Results: Respondents nearly universally perceived health benefits to schooling. In particular, key health benefits included improved sexual and reproductive health outcomes, hygiene knowledge and practices, as well as better interactions with the formal health system. Common economic returns on schooling included improved employment opportunities and the provision of support to family members, in addition to generally attaining success and recognition. Indirect and long-term health returns, however, were infrequently mentioned by respondents. Conclusions: While respondents reported nearly universally short-term health benefits to schooling, responses with regard to economic as well as indirect and long-term health benefits were more ambiguous. Future intervention studies on the perceived returns on formal education are needed to inform policy and reach education and health targets in the region.
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