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Schooling Incentives Project Evaluation (SIPE) Study

Schooling Incentives Project Evaluation (SIPE) Study

The SIPE Study was one component of the "Research on Children Working in the Carpet Industry of India, Nepal, and Pakistan" (Carpet Project) conducted by ICF for OCFT. The purpose of the SIPE study was to improve our understanding of the importance of schooling costs and available employment opportunities for child labor and schooling decisions among children associated with carpet producing establishments in Nepal.

The SIPE Study was undertaken to assess the impact of two educational interventions: a scholarship program that covered typical school costs, and a combined program where children received the scholarship plus an additional stipend in food rations if the child attended 80 percent of school days in the prior month. Both of the selected interventions had been used to some extent in anti-child labor programs that were funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. Random assignment was used to allocate the children to the 3 groups (control, scholarship, and scholarship + stipend).

The Study found that any effects of the scholarship program on schooling during the period of support were too small to be detected. However, in contrast to the scholarship-only treatment, large changes in behavior were seen as a result of the combination of scholarship and stipend. School attendance rates in the scholarship + stipend group increased 11 percent by midyear compared to the control group. By yearend, scholarship + stipend subjects had 13 percent higher attendance rates than control subjects and were 62 percent less likely to miss a month of school. Girls especially benefited from the combined treatment compared to the control group and the scholarship-only group.

In addition the Study found that while the stipend clearly promoted schooling, decreased engagement in carpet production activities, and protected vulnerable children even beyond the period of support by this project, there was some evidence of unintended consequences associated with the end of scholarship support. The scholarship and stipend program lasted one academic year. Children from the scholarship group reported that they were less interested in attending school in the subsequent academic year, after support ended, than the control group or the stipend group.