June 2015

IZA DP No. 9131: "A Flop or a Success?" An Evaluation of the Welfare Impacts of the 6-3-3-4 Education System in Nigeria

The need for graduates who would be productive citizens able to contribute significantly to the Nigerian economy led to the overhaul of the old education system 6-5-4 and the implementation of the 6-3-3-4 system, with its first set of graduates from secondary schools in 1988. The main objective of the 6-3-3- 4 system was to produce self-reliant graduates with better labor market skills and earning potential. In this paper, we investigate to what extent this goal was achieved. Using a Regression Discontinuity (RD) design, we examine if graduates from the 6-3-3-4 system experienced an improvement in welfare compared to those from the old system. We measure welfare improvement using several indicators such as a decline in poverty likelihood and poverty gap, an increase in the probability of employment and an increase in wages. Our results provide some evidence that the new system led to a decrease in the likelihood of being poor compared to those who passed through the old system. We also provide evidence of higher wages for select participants. We do not find any consistent evidence that the 6-3-3-4 system increased the probability of being employed when we compare participants from both systems. Our results suggest that while the system change may not have met some of its critical objectives, it cannot be viewed as totally ineffective.