The impacts of retention, expenditures, and class size on primary school completion in Sub-Saharan Africa: A cross-national analysis

Ryan Richard Ruff


Education in Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly viewed as a means of emancipation, acting as a transformative project for social mobility. Developing nations have subsequently pursued policies designed to increase access to education and improve upon student outcomes, such as universal or free primary education. In this study, direct and indirect precursors to primary school completion in Sub-Saharan Africa are considered using cross-national data collected by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Path analysis results show that imbalanced pupil-teacher ratios and high student retention rates are negatively associated with primary school completion. Additionally, the positive relationship between expenditure increase and completion rates is mediated by a negative contribution to pupil-teacher ratios. Results are compared with existing production function research on varied educational inputs and student success.


primary school completion; retention; pupil-teacher ratios; educational expenditures

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