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Factors Affecting School Attendance and Implications for Student Achievement by Gender in Nepal

Niroj Bhattarai, Alexandra Bernasek and Anita Alves Pena

Review of Political Economy, 2020, vol. 32, issue 2, 259-282

Abstract: Gender–sensitive secondary school attendance and achievement data in developing countries is limited. We conduct an original survey of 8th, 9th and 10th grade students in urban and rural Nepal. We examine factors affecting attendance rates and document associations across genders. For both genders, we find higher attendance in urban compared with rural areas, with home ownership (a proxy for wealth), and with fines for absence from school; conversely, we find lower attendance with more students per school computer. For girls, we find lower attendance with age (at an increasing rate) and higher attendance for those with younger siblings. For boys, important factors include higher attendance with number of cars in the family (related to wealth and transportation), with time spent studying and with having an educated mother; boys have lower attendance with more siblings and the number of motorcycles. We link attendance to test scores and find evidence supporting a positive relationship, confirming linkages from attendance to human capital and capabilities. Finally, we provide qualitative evidence from a complementary focus group on cultural attitudes and practices. Our results point to specific gender–neutral and gender sensitive factors for making progress towards providing all children quality education in Nepal.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1080/09538259.2020.1769296

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