iMlango endline report
Phase one highlights.
iMlango is a comprehensive educational technology programme that aims to improve Kenyan pupils’ learning outcomes, enrolment and retention through the delivery of:
- High-speed satellite broadband connectivity to schools;
- Individualised simulated maths tutoring alongside digital learning content for literacy and life skills;
- Continuous training and support to teachers to use best practice to integrate ICT into schools’ learning processes;
- In-field teams to provide educational support to teachers and leadership guidance to headteachers;
- Electronic attendance monitoring with digital semi-conditional payments to incentivise families to send their daughters to school – with the money used at local merchants;
- In-field teams to support the schools and ensure timely technical maintenance;
- Real-time project monitoring and measurement.
The programme impacts upon 78,864 girls and 79,830 boys, and operates in 205 primary schools across four counties (Kajiado, Kilifi, Makueni and Uasin Gishu). The counties were identified according to several marginalisation criteria: poverty rates, attendance levels, and girls’ educational opportunities. The majority of the schools are located in rural or semi-urban settings.
Theory of change
iMlango’s theory of change has worked at three distinct levels so far: at the individual level, within the school environment, and in the homes and communities. The five pillars of the theory of change are:
- Motivation - a tangible financial incentive linked to girls’ attendance to encourage parents to ensure school attendance.
- Monitoring - attendance monitoring and online portal records attendance and students' interactions with education content to help understand attendance patterns and learning progress over time, respectively.
- Content - covering a range of subjects, including maths (individualised tutor) and literacy, as well as life skills material. This is all available on the learning platform, and can be accessed either in a whole-class setting (by teachers) or on an individualised pupil basis.
- Connectivity - provision of high-speed satellite internet to all schools, enabling online learning.
- Capacity - equipping schools with the necessary technology; building teachers’ and students’ capacity to enable them to efficiently use the programme’s components, and providing continuous on-the-ground support.
The intervention duration has effectively been just two school years - 2015 and 2016. Despite a highly disruptive national teachers’ strike in September and October of 2015, and an emerging drought situation in Kilifi since the beginning of 2016 - affecting over a third of the programme's pupils - iMlango managed to meet most of its targets, suggesting that the fundamentals of the Theory of Change are correct.
The digital attendance system has revealed the true extent of attendance levels in schools being approximately 80%, where previously only inaccurate, anecdotal evidence existed. The attendance system provided insight into the complex, highly varied nature of pupils' attendance patterns, with trends beginning to emerge from the analysis. Data also suggests that there is a positive relationship between attendance and KCPE results for 2016, meaning that better attendance is likely to lead to improved average KCPE results for a school.
Findings indicate that iMlango had some positive impact on learning outcomes, with stronger progress in numeracy than literacy. Results were largely inconclusive, though, due to sample size limitations at endline caused by the evaluation cohort's high attrition rate. However, analysis indicates that when Maths-Whizz is used in the recommended way it can improve the girls’ numeracy to reach the programme's target of 0.4SD improvement. Girls that were interviewed at endline reported that they had learnt something new as a result of use of the digital learning tools, with 85.5% reporting that they have learnt numeracy and 76.2% literacy.
Community support initiative (stipends)
Small value stipends improved the attendance profile of poor, badly attending pupils, recording an overall attendance uplift of more than 10% in 68.4% of those girls who saw any improvement in their attendance. 56% of all stipend recipients improved their attendance by any measure, and the stipend proved most effective amongst pupils with the worst attendance (<60%), with 100% of these 1,472 pupils recording improvement.
46% of the stipend recipients recorded improvements of more than 40%, which demonstrates that removing a financial barrier – even one as small as 1,000 KES a month – can have a massive impact on a child’s ability to attend school regularly.
Girls' learning and aspirations
Results from the girls interviewed at endline showed that the use of digital learning tools had helped to positively change the girls’ view towards school with 60.5% saying that they were now more interested in attending school while 67.8%, compared to 47.9% at baseline, reported that they found school more exciting.
iMlango established 387 child clubs in the intervention schools and provided life skills content through the learning platform with the aim of improving girls’ self-esteem and knowledge of the outside world. The effectiveness of the child clubs was measured through the girl questionnaire and girl perception scorecard in termly assessments and the endline. The findings show that the majority of the girls feel that the child clubs have helped them improve their grades (61.6%) and learn new things (58.0%) but only 20.8% of the girls thought that the child clubs have made them more confident.
Teachers' ability to use technology to deliver learning
One of the key activities that contributed to improving teachers' ability to use technology to deliver learning was the training of teachers, especially since 50% of the 266 interviewed teachers at baseline reported that they had no ICT skills. Teacher training was delivered in stages and through different engagement strategies.
While the programme's logframe data gives a sense of scale of the digital learning carried out, it is unable to fully capture teachers’ confidence and competence with digital learning tools. Endline survey data provided much more direct insight into how teachers felt; intervention teachers were very positive towards digital learning tools. Of the intervention teachers surveyed, 84.4% said that digital learning tools made teaching easier.
Community engagement and sustainability
iMlango was well received by schools and communities during phase one, and engagement with these stakeholders was viewed as a critical building block for the programme's sustainability moving into phase two. iMlango found significant support for the programme by communities with some of them addressing funding for electricity and initiating mechanisms to start earning money to offset the costs of the programme.
If you would like more information on the iMlango endline report, please get in touch.