The paper evaluates the effect of student economic outcomes of an entrepreneurship education reform in Rwanda. A survey was conducted in 200 secondary schools in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021 to examine the entrepreneurship programs designed and supervised by Educate!, an international NGO. The primary focus is assessing student outcomes one to three years after completing secondary school, providing insights into the effectiveness and long-term impact of the program, which commenced three to five years before the evaluation. The surveys asked respondents to report their academic and economic activities in recent months.
The study evaluates a teacher training intervention focussed on the effective implementation of the new curriculum through a randomized controlled trial. The student surveys collected data about secondary school persistence, entrepreneurship exam scores and non-cognitive skills. The analysis compares the treatment and control groups and reports the differences in means and significance levels. Among the teachers, program take-up was high leading to pedagogical changes aligned with the revised curriculum.
The entrepreneurship initiative did not result in notable economic activity or welfare enhancements over the medium term. There were indications of lower income and profits among marginal students compelled into entrepreneurship. However, it increased outcomes in entrepreneurship, university enrolment and migration, aligning with students’ pursuit of greater autonomy in response to treatment.
Certain limitations are observed due to missing data and selective attrition. To address this concern, phone call attempts to each potential respondent act as a proxy for the unobserved reluctance to respond to the survey. The substantial hurdles confronting policymakers in developing countries who aim to redirect conventional education systems are evident in the results. Nevertheless, engagement in entrepreneurship training has the potential to foster broader investments in human capital, hinting at the prospect of enhanced long-term returns.