Adapting To The Times
The world is grappling with the spread of COVID-19, with over 16,341,920 confirmed cases. In addition to the direct health effects of the pandemic, education systems and student learning worldwide have been paralyzed. We are rapidly adapting to the COVID-19 crisis and remain committed to connecting youth to proven life-saving information through our health and education programs. We took decisive and early action to ensure our beneficiaries would not be left behind due to the pandemic.
With over 1.5 billion learners out of school, the COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed education systems worldwide.
This necessitates new education models, including the use of education technology for distance learning.In response, we developed and trialed a ‘low-tech’ solution that uses SMS messages and phone calls to provide educational instruction for students in 10,000 households across Botswana. Our results show that remote instruction by phone and simple SMS texts can improve children’s learning at low cost and at scale.
Teaching at The Right Level
The intervention places parents in the role of a teacher and uses weekly SMS messages and/or phone calls to provide targeted instruction students.
We deliver phone-based education programming using two models:
A study in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis showed increases in out-of-wedlock pregnancy and school dropout. A safe space intervention by BRAC provided protective effects, mitigating nearly all of these effects. In this spirit, our adolescent school health program was delivered to adolescent through a digital platform. Messages were delivered to adolescents that engaged them in various activities such as creating a pledge.
Both low-tech interventions are relatively low cost and suggest that either delivery model can effectively improve short-term learning during school closures.
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