Theses Doctoral

Do tuition elimination policies in Sub-Saharan Africa matter? Evidence from the Universal Secondary Education Policy in Uganda

Mamba, Maurice Mbuanya

This dissertation assesses the effectiveness of the Ugandan Universal Secondary Education policy. It seeks to ascertain whether and to what extent offering free-tuition education at eligible public and private secondary schools has affected gross enrollment rates at the lower secondary school level in Uganda between 2007 and 2015.

Using a synthetic control method as well as a linear probability model, I explore the impact of the USE policy on lower secondary school enrollment both at the country and household levels since the policy implementation in 2007 up to 2015. To carry out the analysis, I merge several sources of administrative data, including World Bank education indicators, UNESCO Institute of Statistics data on school participation, Uganda National Bureau of Statistics' annual statistical abstracts and Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports’ annual reports into a country-panel dataset for the period of 1992-2015 and use the latter for the synthetic control approach. The linear probability model exploits the data from the 2013 Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS).

The synthetic control analysis shows no effect of the USE policy at the country level. Instead, the results indicate that during my study period, lower secondary school enrollment rates growth in Uganda was reduced by a yearly average of 8 percentage points compared to its synthetic version. The micro-analysis, however, shows that the receipt of a government subsidy to enroll in lower secondary school had a positive and statistically significant effect ranging from .5 to 9.4 percentage points.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Economics and Education
Thesis Advisors
Eble, Alexander James
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 4, 2020