Math and Language at War: The effect of the Colombian armed conflict on math and language learning


Armed conflict reduces human capital accumulation due to economic constraints on families, cuts in education spending, destruction of schools and by causing post-traumatic stress disorder in children. This paper estimates the effect of conflict on math and language learning by using the Colombia Saber (Knowledge) Tests score for 5th, 9th and 11th grades. Results suggest a small, but statistically significant impact for the 5th grade and 9th grade samples, at most of 6.5% of the test scores standard deviation; as net enrollment rates fall throughout secondary education, estimates are small or not significant for the 11th grade sample. Policy recommendations focus on providing families and children with better support networks, on fighting the growing extortions in poor neighborhoods and on special interventions in regions with the highest armed conflict levels.

Keywords: Civil War, Colombia, Learning Attainment, Standardized Tests

Unique Article ID: IJDES-141

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