How Can Education Be Standardized – Evidence From Kenya

In a major study of school improvement across Africa, the Bridge International Academies in Kenya showed the greatest learning gains. The school improvement was especially dramatic for lower-income and early childhood children. In one school year, pre-primary students improved by two years. This article discusses the benefits of a standardized education system and how it has the potential to improve education quality.

See also:

Bridge International Academies in Kenya achieve the largest learning gains measured by a major study in Africa

Thousands of students in Kenya are benefiting from the innovative educational model of Bridge International Academies. Their learning gains are among the largest in Africa. Almost 20 percent more children from Bridge schools than from other public schools sit the KCPE. The schools are also achieving equity in learning and ensuring gender parity in the classrooms.

The schools reported increased instructional time, lower teacher absenteeism, and improved parent engagement. They also reported that students from the Bridge program in Kenya were almost a year ahead of their peers in public and private schools. A study of the Bridge schools found positive effects on grades, self-control, receptive vocabulary, and working memory.

The BIAs are widely criticized by civil society groups and other stakeholders, but they have achieved some impressive gains. A recent study in Kenya shows that the schools have the highest learning gains of any private school in Africa. Bridge International Academies’ success has drawn the attention of international donors. The BIAs are based in the United States and operate in countries including Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Liberia. While the organization denies any allegations of intimidation, it has faced criticism from educators and other groups.

Bridge’s approach to education has helped it expand and spread rapidly in Africa. The schools operate in a specialized manner, leveraging technology, data, and scale to make their education accessible to as many children as possible. Teachers are trained in video-based training sessions and provided with lesson plans to improve their own teaching methods.

See also:

The bridge has also received support from the Omidyar Network to expand its operation. This support has allowed the organization to build a high-quality management team and cover the startup costs for new academies. With this new funding, the organization plans to expand into Nigeria, where UNICEF estimates that 5 million primary-school-aged children are not attending school.

How Can Education Be Standardized - Evidence From Kenya

NewGlobe’s schools are standardized

NewGlobe operates schools in Kenya with around 45,000 students. The schools are standardized, with standardized infrastructure, finances, and payment systems. The students are taught in identical classrooms with large windows. They also follow standardized tests, such as the Common Core.

Researchers have proven that children attending NewGlobe-supported schools have more opportunities to learn and achieve better learning outcomes than students in the general population. A study led by Nobel laureate economist Michael Kremer found that students in NewGlobe-supported schools gained as much as 53% more learning in one year. This improvement was most apparent for children from low-income households and those who started early.

One reason for NewGlobe’s success is their use of standardized materials. Teachers follow a scripted curriculum, and their pay is often lower than that of union teachers. This results in higher test scores. The results are comparable to the results of privately run schools, such as the KIPP chain or Success Academy.

NewGlobe also provides support for primary school teachers. The company’s standardized lesson plans, written by a central team, are sent to teachers on tablets. These lessons detail what the students should know and do, from when to write on the blackboard to how often to walk around the classroom. In addition, teachers receive daily checks to make sure they are following the script.

Tutoring programmes are cost-effective

While in-person tutoring programs are expensive, remote tutoring using phone calls is significantly cheaper and more effective for children. Such remote tutoring programs have similar effect sizes but cost less than ten cents per student per hour. This research highlights the importance of investing in early literacy programs for low-income children in Kenya.

The cost of student textbooks approved by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development cost less than four cents per book. However, paying for the salary of an additional teacher requires an additional US$37 per student per year. In addition, the cost of e-readers is less than that of a teacher’s salary. The cost of ICTs used by tutors can be low but high, including the TAC tutor tablet.

The PRIMR program in Kenya scaled up its tutor tablet program in 2014. The TAC tutor tablet program eased the workload of instructional supervisors by allowing TAC tutors to access the materials without the help of a computer. Moreover, the program complemented the national literacy initiative known as Tusome, which was implemented in 1,000 low-cost private schools.

Free primary education is a national priority in Kenya. It ensures that every child is enrolled in school. However, students’ literacy scores have not been high despite the government’s efforts. UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, has found that student performance in early grades has been low. This may be because many students have poor literacy skills.

School closures are adapted to collect phone numbers

To combat school dropout, some countries have instituted initiatives that adapt school closures to collect phone numbers of children. For instance, “Second Chance Schools” are networks of schools for 15 to 29-year-old NEET, where children who are unable to complete school receive follow-ups by telephone. These schools provide academic, health, and personal support to these vulnerable children.

Youth Impact, formerly known as Young 1ove, collected 7,550 phone numbers of primary school children in partnership with the Ministry of Basic Education. While only a small percentage of these phone numbers were reachable, facilitators called each number to confirm that the students were interested in receiving remote learning support. In the end, 98% of the students returned to school, despite the repeated closures. In addition, the program uses a double-shift rotation system, reducing the length of time each student spends at school.

School closures in Kenya are not only detrimental to students but also to their communities. The decrease in mobility is a significant barrier to accessing essential protection and support services. It also further erodes the autonomy of women and girls. Since nearly all learners around the world are affected by COVID-19, school closures have significant unintended consequences for vulnerable learners. Ultimately, COVID-19 must include protections and access to life-saving education for all learners.

Closures are often due to a range of factors, including fear by parents and teachers, inadequate funding, or fee increases. In addition, economic shocks place greater pressure on children to work and earn money to support their families, increasing their exposure to violence and exploitation. Further, school closures result in increased teenage pregnancies and child labour. Closures also disrupt social and human interaction, which are essential to learning.

Share this