Original Research

Home environment, pre-schooling and children’s literacy in sub-Saharan Africa francophone

Alexis S. Loye, Madri S. Jansen van Rensburg, Emile Ouedraogo
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 10, No 1 | a650 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v10i1.650 | © 2022 Alexis S. Loye, Madri S. Jansen van Rensburg, Emile Ouedraogo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 June 2022 | Published: 22 November 2022

About the author(s)

Alexis S. Loye, Department of Research, Measurement and Evaluation, Ministry of Education and Early Childhood Development, Fredericton, Canada
Madri S. Jansen van Rensburg, Resilience Analysis Consulting, Johannesburg, South Africa
Emile Ouedraogo, Université Virtuelle du Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


Background: The sustainable development goal (SDG) 4.2 calls to ‘ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education’. It is then important to identify early childhood literacy drivers for better decision-making in education.

Objectives: This research investigates the impact of pre-schooling and home environment effect on children’s literacy in sub-Saharan Africa francophone countries.

Method: A total of 21 933 Grade 2 children participated in the regional assessment of literacy in 14 countries. Items on cognitive skills were used to assess children’s literacy skill. A contextual questionnaire was used to collect data on the home environment and children’s characteristics. Descriptive statistics, logistic regression and inverse-probability-weighted regression adjustment were used to estimate the impact of pre-schooling and home environment on children’s literacy skill.

Results: At least 57% of children in Grade 2 did not have the literacy skill required to pursue their learning without difficulty. Only 28% of children attended preschool. Home-language and reading at home have the highest effect size on children’s literacy skill. Attending preschool improves the percentage of children capable to pursue their learning without difficulty by 10%. Furthermore, that improvement is 15.7% for children who attended preschool. Impact of pre-schooling varies between countries and slightly across gender.

Conclusion: Findings of this research call for better access to pre-schooling and better home environment to improve children’s literacy skill. The research will contribute to efforts of the sub-Saharan Africa francophone countries to achieve the SDG 4.2.

Contribution: This research contributed to fill the knowledge gaps on Early Childhood literacy in the Global South. It highlighted home environment drivers and the impact of preschooling on children’s literacy skills in the Global South.


preschool; evaluation; literacy; early childhood; home environment; education; gender; francophone; Africa


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