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Post-secondary education brings social benefits in Ethiopia

Research assistant

Completed project

Manuscript accepted and in press

A copy can be requested from Apollo here

Spark: The importance of education has been widely acknowledged, for instance, the Sustainable Development Goal ensures inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

Gap in research: There have been a large amount of empirical studies which indicate the monetary values of post-secondary education. However, there is limited evidence suggesting the non-monetary social returns to education, particularly in the context of developing countries.

Research context: We examined N=800+ participants in Young Lives Ethiopia. We evaluated whether people's participation in community engagement differed by levels of education.

Research findings: 

  • Young people who participated in education beyond secondary level were almost twice as likely to talk to others about serious problems affecting their communities, and to give gifts or cash to community organizations or political groups, relative to young people with lower levels of education.

  • We find no evidence of education gradients for the other two externalities, taking action with others about a serious problem affecting the community, and actively participating in awareness-raising campaigns. The latter of these results is consistent with local notions of community and civic participation in Ethiopia.

Take-home message: post-secondary education not only brings monetary but also non-monetary values to the society. We also highlighted that the Ubuntu, which reflects a view of human interdependence thatvalues the collective above the individual, is deeply embedded in the context. Thus, it could be that the collective culture acts as the main contributing factor to the social benefits we have examined. Thus, we call for future research to replicate this study. 

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