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Handa, Sudhanshu; Pineda, Heiling; Esquivel, Yannette; Lopez, Blancadilia; Gurdian, Nidia Veronica; & Regalia, Ferdinando (2009). Non-Formal Basic Education as a Development Priority: Evidence from Nicaragua. Economics of Education Review, 28(4), 512-522.


Almost 900m adolescents and adults are illiterate in the developing world, yet most policy discussions focus on the educational circumstances of primary aged children. As a result non-formal educational programs for adolescents and adults are given very little support, and this group is virtually ignored in international agreements such as the millennium declaration. This article presents the first serious attempt at evaluating the impact of a non-formal education program. Results show significant learning achievement over the academic year, as well as strong development impacts of the program in non-learning dimensions of participants’ lives. These positive impacts, plus the significantly lower unit costs and self-targeted nature of the program provide strong evidence that this type of program can be an important part of the poverty reduction and human capital enhancement strategy of developing countries with large illiterate adult populations.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Economics of Education Review


Handa, Sudhanshu
Pineda, Heiling
Esquivel, Yannette
Lopez, Blancadilia
Gurdian, Nidia Veronica
Regalia, Ferdinando