DVD-based Distance-learning Program for University Entrance Exams: RCT Experiments in Rural Bangladesh

Discussion Papers

No.580

by Hisaki KONO, Yasuyuki SAWADA and Abu S. SHONCHOY

June 2016

ABSTRACT

In contrast to the remarkable progress in developing countries in improving primary education, access to higher education in many countries remains limited, especially in rural areas where the quality of education is inadequate. We evaluate a DVD-based distance-learning program in rural Bangladesh, targeted at students aiming to take university entrance tests. We conducted two experiments: one to evaluate the effect of the distance-learning program and the second to determine the demand and price sensitivity. Our first experiment shows that the DVD-based distance-learning program has a considerable positive effect on the number of students passing entrance exams. This effect does not depend on cognitive scores, but does depend on non-cognitive attributes, indicating the importance of commitment, which is imposed through our program. In the second experiment, we offered a random subsidy to interested participants. The uptake decision is price-sensitive, although the price sensitivity is not correlated with students' past academic performance or their socio-economic status, suggesting that increasing the price should not disproportionately exclude poor students.

Keywords: Distance-Learning, Tertiary education, Bangladesh.
JEL classification: I15, O15, O22

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