This study assesses, via a field experiment, how a comprehensive teacher training program affects the delivery of a major entrepreneurship curriculum reform in Rwanda. The reform introduced interactive pedagogy and a focus on business skills in the country’s required upper secondary entrepreneurship course. Both groups received the government’s standard training. In addition, the treatment group was assigned intensive training organized by an NGO for two years. The training consisted of (i) six training sessions during school breaks, ii) exchange visits each term where teachers provided feedback to their peers, and (iii) outreach and support from NGO staff at least twice per year. The control group received only the default government training, which was not specific to entrepreneurship and lacked each of these elements. The program increased teachers’ use of active instruction, consistent with the reform’s features. These effects on pedagogy did not translate into improvements in student academic outcomes or skills. While still in secondary school, treated students increased participation in their own businesses by 5 percentage points, or 17% of the control mean. Wage employment (at others’ firms) declined by a commensurate amount in response to treatment, leaving no effect on overall income. These results suggest substitution between entrepreneurship and employment among students in treated schools.
Income, employment, business creation, cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills of students partecipating in the program
The teacher training moved entrepreneurship teaching practices towards more interactive and student-centered techniques. Use of group discussions, research, case studies, debates and role playing increased by 6 percentage points (from 32% to 38%) and scheduled “skills labs” six-fold. Did not change overall active instruction time, but teachers moved active learning activities from the first half to the second half of the class, as recommended during the training. The change in teaching practises did not translate into higher entrepreneurship knowledge or better exam scores for students, nor in entrepreneurship specific exams. Students’ non-cognitive skills were unaffected, including educational and professional aspirations, grit, and locus of control. Students whose teachers were trained were 5 percentage points more likely (from 30% to 35%) to participate in revenue-generating businesses, mainly through “Student Business Clubs”. But also less likely to have wage-employment by a similar amount, leaving overall income unaffected.