Mathematica Helps Students Launch New Secondary Education Program in Morocco

Aug 30, 2018

Senior Researcher Emilie Bagby writes about her recent work in Morocco, where she lead a random assignment process, which involved students from around the Fez-Meknes and Marrakesh-Safi regions, to determine which schools will pilot a new secondary education program.

In Morocco, school drop-out rates are high: on average, only 15 percent of first graders go on to graduate from secondary school. A program in the second compact between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the government of Morocco seeks to improve graduation rates and better prepare the nation’s youth for the modern workforce. Mathematica will evaluate the effectiveness of the program, which includes such interventions as implementing an autonomous and performance-based school management system, revising the secondary education pedagogy, improving infrastructure quality, and strengthening the national education policy environment and information systems.

As an independent evaluator of the secondary education program, I traveled to Morocco to lead a random assignment process that determined which schools will benefit from these interventions as participants in the new secondary education program. Because the program seeks to improve students’ and parents’ involvement in their schools, students themselves participated in selecting schools by drawing from a bag of numbered wooden blocks that corresponded to eligible schools.

It was a wonderful experience to witness students have an active role in kicking off a program that has the potential to transform their educational outcomes and enhance their preparation for future employment. I was also grateful for the support of different education stakeholders for our rigorous process, and I am pleased that my expertise designing and conducting evaluations can help MCC and the government of Morocco understand the best ways to serve these students and their families.

I invite our readers to learn about the lottery that was held in Marrakesh, Morocco, in MCC’s new blog post and more about the Secondary Education Activity for Employability Project in Morocco.

Emilie Bagby with student in Morocco


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