Impact of malaria control and enhanced literacy instruction on educational outcomes among school children in Kenya: a multi-sectoral, prospective, randomised evaluation
3ie Impact Evaluation Report 18
Improving the health of school-aged children can yield substantial benefits for cognitive development and educational achievement. However, there is limited experimental evidence on the benefits of school-based malaria prevention or on how health interventions interact with other efforts to improve education quality.
This impact evaluation by Simon Brooker and Katherine Halliday aimed to evaluate the single and joint impact of school-based malaria prevention and enhanced literacy instruction on health and educational achievement of school children in Kenya. No impact of the malaria intermittent screening and treatment (IST) intervention was observed for prevalence of anaemia or P. falciparum or on sustained attention in the classroom. In contrast, the literacy intervention had a significant impact on literacy outcomes, specifically knowledge of Swahili sounds, words and English spelling.
The positive impact of the literacy intervention appears to be due to two key factors observed in the intervention schools: the increased time children spent reading in class and the increased print displayed in the classrooms. The combined IST and literacy intervention showed no significant synergistic effects.