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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. Educational and health impacts of two school feeding schemes: Evidence from a randomized trial in rural Burkina Faso

    This paper uses a prospective randomized trial to assess the impact of two school feeding schemes on health and education outcomes for children from low-income households in northern rural Burkina Faso. The two school feeding programs under consideration are, on the one hand, school meals where students are provided with lunch each school day, and, on the other hand, take-home rations that provide girls with 10 kg of cereal flour each month, conditional on 90 percent attendance rate. After running for one academic year, both programs increased girls’ enrollment by 5 to 6 percentage points. …

  2. The precocious period: the impact of early menarche on schooling in India

    Improvements in childhood nutrition increase schooling and economic returns in later life in a virtuous cycle. However, better nutrition also leads to an earlier onset of menstruation (menarche). In socio-cultural contexts where menarche adversely affects educational attainments, early menarche can thus break the virtuous cycle of girls’ human development. This paper focuses on one such context, India, and uses the Young Lives Longitudinal Study to show that starting menses before age twelve causes a 13% decrease in school enrollment rate. …

  3. The effects of adolescent childbearing on literacy and numeracy in Bangladesh, Malawi, and Zambia

    Global investments in girls’ education have been motivated, in part, by an expectation that more-educated women will have smaller and healthier families. However, in many low- and middle-income countries, the timing of school dropout and first birth coincide, resulting in a rapid transition from the role of student to the role of mother for adolescent girls. Despite growing interest in the effects of pregnancy on levels of school dropout, researchers have largely overlooked the potential effect of adolescent childbearing on literacy and numeracy. …

  4. Does schooling protect sexual health? The association between three measures of education and STIs among adolescents in Malawi

    While multiple studies have documented shifting educational gradients in HIV prevalence, less attention has been given to the effect of school participation and academic skills on infection during adolescence. …

  5. The effects of school violence on education in Malawi: brief

    In response to a global policy effort to increase school enrollment, in 1994 Malawi became one of the first low-income countries to eliminate primary school fees. Since then, Malawi has achieved nearly universal primary enrollment, however enrolling young Malawians in school has not translated into keeping them in school. This policy brief describes the nature and consequences of school violence in rural Malawi - a common experience for both girls and boys. …

  6. Food for thought? Experimental evidence on the learning impacts of a large-scale school feeding program

    There is limited experimental evidence of the impact of large-scale, government-led school meals programs on educational achievements. The authors report results from a nationwide randomized trial of the Government of Ghana’s school feeding program. After two years, program availability led to moderate increases in test scores for the average pupil, and to remarkable learning and cognitive gains for girls, and children from the poorest households and regions. Increases in enrolment, attainment, and shifts in time spent at school constituted mechanisms for impact. …

  7. Food for thought? Experimental evidence on the learning impacts of a large-scale school feeding program in Ghana

    There is very limited experimental evidence of the impact of large-scale, government-led school meals programs on child educational achievements in Sub-Saharan Africa. The authors address this gap by reporting treatment effects from a nationwide randomized trial of the Government of Ghana’s school feeding program (GSFP) on children’s math and literacy, cognition (problem-solving ability and working memory), and composite scores of overall attainments. …

  8. Causal effects of education on sexual and reproductive health in low and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Despite strong theoretical grounding, important gaps in knowledge remain regarding the degree to which there is a causal relationship between education and sexual and reproductive health, as many claims have been made based on associations alone. Understanding the extent to which these relationships are causal is important both to inform investments in education and health, as well as to understand the mechanisms underlying these relationships. …

  9. Do both boys and girls feel safe at school – and does it matter?

    The relationship between feeling safe in school and academic achievement differs between boys and girls, and also varies between countries. Educational policymakers are advised to carefully analyze the complex interplay between gender, grade level and national contexts when developing strategies to enhance school safety.

  10. Optimizing education outcomes: high-return investments in school health for increased participation and learning

    The Disease Control Priorities (DCP) series established in 1993 shares this philosophy and acts as a key resource for Ministers of Health and Finance, guiding them toward informed decisions about investing in health. The third edition of DCP rightly recognizes that good health is but one facet of human development and that health and education outcomes are forever intertwined. The Commission report makes clear that more education equates with better health outcomes. …

  11. The effects of school-related gender-based violence on academic performance : evidence from Botswana, Ghana and South Africa

    School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) is a global phenomenon that has the potential for serious and significant effects on students’ well-being and performance. It is based on and reinforces gendered stereotypes present in society and includes a variety of behaviors, such as sexual violence and harassment, corporal punishment, and bullying. The impact of school violence on students’ health and psychological development has been well documented. However, research on the consequences of school violence on academic achievement in different contexts was not addressed until recent times. …

  12. Examination of substance use, risk factors, and protective factors on student academic test score performance

    School administrators and teachers face difficult decisions about how best to use school resources in order to meet academic achievement goals. Many are hesitant to adopt prevention curricula that are not focused directly on academic achievement. Yet, some have hypothesized that prevention curricula can remove barriers to learning and, thus, promote achievement. This study examined relationships between school levels of student substance use and risk and protective factors that predict adolescent problem behaviors and achievement test performance in Washington State.

  13. School feeding and learning achievement: evidence from India’s Midday Meal Program

    We study the effect of the world’s largest school feeding program on children’s learning outcomes. Staggered implementation across different states of a 2001 Indian Supreme Court Directive mandating the introduction of free school lunches in public primary schools generates plausibly exogenous variation in program exposure across different birth cohorts. We exploit this to estimate the effect of program exposure on math and reading test scores of primary school-aged children. …

  14. The impact of teachers’ modifications of an evidenced-based HIV prevention intervention on program outcomes

    The degree to which evidence-based program outcomes are affected by modifications is a significant concern in the implementation of interventions. The ongoing national implementation of an evidence-based HIV prevention program targeting grade six students in The Bahamas [Focus on Youth in The Caribbean (FOYC)] offers an opportunity to explore factors associated with teachers’ modification of FOYC lessons and to examine the impact of types and degrees of modifications on student outcomes. Data were collected in 2012 from 155 teachers and 3646 students in 77 government elementary schools. …

  15. Menstruation as a barrier to education?

    Increasing education for girls is an important policy priority in many developing countries, where secondary school enrollment often remains lower for girls than for boys. Some researchers and policymakers have argued that menstruation may be causing girls to miss a significant number of school days. At the maximum, some have estimated that girls might be missing as much as 10 to 20 percent of school days due to menstruation. Anecdotal evidence seems to support this. Girls report missing school during their periods and lacking access to modern sanitary products. …

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