School-level analysis of educational block grant support for secondary schools in Southwest Uganda
OBJECTIVE: It is already known from earlier research studies that block grant support can provide educational benefit to students that are orphaned and vulnerable in secondary schools in East Africa. This thesis examines the impact of block grant support given to secondary schools in Southwest Uganda to see whether or not block grant support benefits the entire student population. STUDY POPULATION: The Republic of Uganda is located in East Africa. Block grant support was given to secondary schools starting in 2006 in the districts of Isingiro, Mbarara, and Ntungamo, all located in Southwest Uganda. The NGOs that provided block grants were Africare and Integrated Community Based Initiatives (ICOBI). MEASUREMENT: School-wide indicators, such as the number of secondary schools, the number of students who took the Year IV National Exam, and the proportion of students that failed the exam, were analyzed retrospectively. The main variable of interest was the percent failure rate of students who took the national exam in schools with and without block grant support (intervention vs control schools). The average failure rates for all students who took the exams, male students, and female students were also calculated. Graphs showing the exam failure rate for each year from 2001 to 2010, excluding 2009, for both intervention and control schools were produced to assess patterns and trends. Data for 2009 was unavailable. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Excel Data Analysis RESULTS: No statistically significant difference was found in the percent failure rates between control and intervention schools before and after implementation of the block grant support in 2006. However, for male students in 2001 and 2010, there was a statistically significant difference between the percent failure rates at control (6.9% in 2001; 3.3% in 2010) and intervention (11.2% in 2001; 2.2% in 2010) schools. Between genders in intervention schools, a statistically significant difference was found from 2002 to 2006, and 2010. In other words, the percent failure rates of female students were significantly higher than those of male students for those years. Unlike the quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis shows that the majority of stakeholders believe that the block grants benefited the school as a whole. CONCLUSION: As there was no statistically significant difference in percent failure rates between control and intervention schools prior to when block grant support began in 2006, schools targeted by NGOs in 2006 seem to not have been “poor performing” schools. As there was no statistically significant difference in percent failure rates between control and intervention schools after 2006, block grant support seems to have made no significant impact at the school level. According to the qualitative data, the majority of stakeholders interviewed expressed approval of block grants and believed that they benefited the school as a whole.