Media Coverage
The New York Times
January 19, 2012

IPA and its partner organization J-PAL are working to improve the quality of education in post-conflict areas. Learn more about one recent experiment in this important field, and the successful results we found, here.

Access to quality education, particularly primary education, is a crucial development component, especially in post-conflict areas. Conflict-affected countries are the furthest from achieving the six Education for All (EFA) goals and the Millennium Development Goals. More than 28 million children of primary school age living in conflict-affected areas do not have access to education, accounting for 42 percent of the world's out-of-school children.[i] Although in recent years school enrollment rates have increased in many post-conflict countries, reading, writing and numeracy skills are still below expected levels. One of the major challenges still facing the education sector in these areas is the struggle to determine ways to improve the quality of education once children do enroll in greater numbers. 

With this challenge in mind, Poverty Action Lab is leading the way in the effort to identify effective interventions to improve the quality of primary education in these areas. To address the pervasive quality-issue of teacher absenteeism, Esther Duflo lead an experiment in sixty rural schools in India, where each day a student used a camera with a tamper-proof time and date stamp to take a photograph of the teacher in the classroom. The results of the experiment were very successful, with teachers in the program schools showing to have had half the absentee rate of those in comparison schools. Other success metrics, such as improved test scores, were also reported.

Read more about IPA's work on education-based initiatives in post-conflict areas, including Afghanistan