Girls' Opportunities to Access Learning (GOAL) - Endline Research Findings
The 1989–2003 civil war disrupted all aspects of Liberian society, government services, and daily life, and the country’s education system was no exception. The Liberian government has made considerable progress since the war ended in 2003, but the education sector continues to suffer from insufficient funding, a limited pool of qualified teachers, and fragmented systems and oversight.
The GOAL project’s aim was to improve girls’ enrolment, attendance, and retention in 40 primary schools in two districts each in Lofa, Bong, and Grand Bassa counties. The program’s interventions were implemented between 2010 and 2013.
The three-year USAID-funded project used three intervention models in the 40 participating primary schools: (1) a scholarship program alone, (2) community mobilization through PTA capacity building and school improvement grants, and (3) a combination of scholarships, community mobilization, school grants, and supplemental academic tutoring to a small subset of school). Enrollment, attendance, and retention was also monitored in 20 comparison schools that weren't part of the program.
AIR’s research at the end of the program in fall 2013 found that grade completion and promotion among girls rose in schools that offered scholarship support (with or without grant support) and worsened in schools that didn't.
To further examine whether the observed changes were attributable to GOAL, and to establish whether these changes were statistically significant, AIR used regression analysis to compare changes in outcomes for girls and boys at GOAL intervention and comparison schools.
Findings included the following:
- Enrollment. Controlling for changes over time in boys’ enrollment and enrollment in comparison schools, GOAL increased girls’ enrollment by an estimated average of 11 girls at grant-only schools (8 percent), 18 girls at scholarship-only schools (35 percent), and 35 girls at grant and scholarship schools (37 percent).
- Completion. GOAL increased the number of girls who completed the school year by seven girls (10 percent) at grant-only schools, 20 girls (77 percent) at scholarship-only schools, and 39 girls (73 percent) at grant and scholarship schools. The impacts at scholarship-only and grant and scholarship schools were statistically significant.
- Promotion. GOAL increased the number of girls who were promoted to the next grade by 12 girls (23 percent) at grant-only schools, 16 girls (78 percent) at scholarship-only schools, and 29 girls (64 percent) at grant and scholarship schools. The impacts at scholarship-only and grant and scholarship schools were statistically significant.