Pulte Institute to Help USAID Assess Low-Cost Private Schools in Northern Ghana

Author: Nancy Rydberg

Over the next month, the Pulte Institute for Global Development within the Keough School of Global Affairs, and its partners will be working on an assessment looking at the market share, key characteristics, sustainability, quality, and accessibility of Low-Cost Private Schools (LCPS) in northern Ghana. This assessment is supported through the Institute’s USAID-funded Supporting Holistic & Actionable Research in Education (SHARE) Activity. By way of this assessment, SHARE will help USAID explore the most feasible, beneficial, necessary, and appropriate means of strengthening the quality, sustainability, accessibility, and accountability of these schools through continued USAID investment. Its objectives are as follows: 

  1. To understand the market share (and effects of COVID), key characteristics, sustainability, quality, and accessibility of LCPSs in the 17 Zone of Influence (ZOI) districts of northern Ghana, and
  2. To explore the most feasible, beneficial, necessary, and appropriate means of strengthening LCPS quality, sustainability, accessibility, and accountability through USAID investment

It comes on the tail of previous assessments which indicated that student outcomes in LCPSs were similar, though slightly better than outcomes in public schools. USAID’s previous assessment in 2019 also suggested that there was likely considerable demand for LCPSs in the region but that LCPSs faced considerable financial challenges.

This current assessment will consist of a proprietor survey across a sample of between 88 and 168 schools across 17 Zones of Influence (ZOI) within northern Ghana. The Pulte Institute's SHARE team will re-visit the 52 schools surveyed in the previous assessment and complement that sample of schools with a stratified random sample of schools based on the number of low-cost private schools per district. Then through systematic sampling from a snowball sampling frame, the SHARE team will also add up to 80 additional unregistered LCPSs to its sample. 

The team will also survey between 30 and 50 parent-teacher association (PTA) members—30 from registered schools and up to an additional 20 from unregistered schools. The survey will be coupled with interviews of national and district-level education and planning officials, lending and microfinance institutions, USAID staff, and other civil society organizations. This primary data accompanies an exhaustive literature review that was carried out by the University of Notre Dame in February and March 2021.

Data collection is scheduled to take place between May 10 and June 4, 2021 with preliminary findings available by the week of June 14. The SHARE partners involved include Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI) and its Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child alongside the Resilient Africa Network (RAN) in Uganda and the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Ghana. For more information regarding this process, contact Tom Purekal, Pulte Institute Program Director, Innovation and Practice at tpureka1@nd.edu.

The Supporting Holistic and Actionable Research in Education (SHARE) Activity’s main goal is to strengthen evidence-based decision-making in the education sector while advancing USAID’s learning priorities in international education. Through the SHARE Activity, the SHARE team and partners support USAID Missions in advancing education research projects through buy-ins. 

Learn more about SHARE and other Pulte Institute programs and projects focusing on five areas of thematic focus, including Business in Development, Effective States and Development, Global Health, Humanitarianism, and Sustainability.