Methods: The study uses data from the seventh round of the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS-7). In all, 2,095 households that met the two inclusion criteria—(a) attending school in the past 12 months, and (b) being at least 11 years of age at the time of data collection, were selected for this study. Ordinary least squares (OLS), instrumental variables analyses (IV), propensity score matching (PSM), and the Lewbel procedure were used to test the effects of PST expenditures on academic performance in Math, English, French, and Native languages. Child- and household-level covariates were accounted for in the adjusted instrumental variable analyses based on prior findings of their association with schooling expenditure or learning outcomes in the Ghanaian context.
Results: Findings from the OLS estimates indicate that financial investment in PST positively influences children's academic performance. For example, an increase in expenditure on PST was significantly associated with an increase in the ability to do Math (β=0.004, SD=0.051, p<.01), read a native language (β=0.006, SD=0.075, p<.01), read English and French (β=0.005, SD=0.055, p<.05). Findings from the IV analyses also indicated a positive association between PST and academic performance, especially in Math (β=0.007, SD= 0.095, p<.01), reading English and French language (β= 0.008, SD= 0.082, p<.05), writing English and French Language (β=0.009, SD=0.088, p<.05). The effect of financial investment on PST was more significant for boys’ learning outcomes than girls’ academic performance.
Conclusions & Implications: Although PST can significantly improve children’s learning outcomes per the causal analyses, it can hugely affect resource-limited families who cannot afford quality PST. With the lack of basic educational services, which festers inequity in educational access, parents are compelled to invest in PST as they seek to foster children’s academic performance. Therefore, governments and stakeholders have a role in facilitating equity in educational access and learning outcomes.