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world development report

Do free school uniforms help children stay in school?

Muthoni Ngatia's picture
Children in uniform in (clockwise from top left) Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Ghana. Photos: World Bank


Around much of Africa, children wear uniforms to school. With the abolition of official school fees for primary school in most countries, the cost of uniforms can be one of the largest expenses for families. In a new study, we examine the impact of providing free school uniforms to primary school children and observe how it affects their school participation in the short and long run.