School of Public Policy Capstones

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My research explores the linkage between access to technology and student academic achievement in Nepal. I measure access to technology using four proxies: availability of electricity, radio, TV and computer at home. I measure academic achievement using student test scores in the Grade 10 national level examinations.

My results indicate that students with access to electricity, radio, TV and computer at home, have higher average test scores overall. Particularly, access to a computer has the largest positive effect on a student’s academic achievement. Simple OLS regression results suggest that those with access to a computer score 64 points higher than those without a computer at home. Matched OLS regression estimates show that the impact of access to computers is still positive when we match students within a given socioeconomic strata based on the likelihood of owning a computer. I also find that access to a computer has a larger positive impact on student populations who are less likely to own a computer.

In light of these findings, I recommend the government of Nepal to make technology more affordable for student use, increase public accessibility to computers by establishing local public computer stations, and provide general computer literacy and training programs in public schools and spaces. I also recommend the governmental of Nepal to promote educational radio programs since most households have easy access to radio. I additionally recommend the government of Nepal to begin a program focused on improved electricity, radio, TV and computer access by selecting a pilot project launch site where majority of the students attend public schools, belong to poor households and live far away from the district headquarters. The program can subsequently be launched at a larger scale by incorporating policy and implementation lessons at various stages.