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Using mobile phones and the web to collect, map and share data in the education sector: Lessons from Uganda

Using mobile phones and the web
to collect, map and share data in the education sector:
Lessons from Uganda
     

26 March 2014 | 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
room I 2-220, World Bank 'I' ('eye') building, 1850 I St. NW

Presenters:
Sukhdeep Brar, Senior Education Specialist (AFTEW), World Bank
Gaurav Relhan, ICT Specialist (AFTEW), World Bank

Chair:
Michael Trucano, Sr. ICT & Education Policy Specialist, World Bank

please RSVP to mlacdao@worldbank.org

please note that this event will be streamed online,
link will be posted on day of event and on Twitter @WBedutech

 
Much has been made of the potential use of mobile phones to help collect, verify and disseminate information quickly, widely and cheaply in support of activities in the education sector.

What do we know about how such use looks in practice,
and what are we learning from emerging efforts in this area?

A few recent and on-going education activities in Uganda may provide some useful insights when attempting to answer this question.

The World Bank Education team in Uganda has supported the introduction of a smart phone based initiative to monitor progress of school construction under the ~ USD150m Uganda Post Primary Education and Training (UPPET) project. UPPET has a large component for expanding facilities in existing schools to accommodate rapid expansion in enrollments resulting from the Government’s policy for free universal (lower) secondary education (USE). The initiative includes a large civil works component, worth 92 million dollars, and there are 659 contracts under implementation at the school level.  Although the mechanisms for project supervision, monitoring and evaluation are elaborate, the Ministry of Education has struggled to receive timely reports from the Technical Supervisory Firms and feedback from the schools on the status and challenges impeding implementation. UPPET is helping the Ministry launch a smart phone and web-based ICT platform for monitoring progress and making information accessible to all stakeholders instantly. Key features of the 'Taarifa' tool include the capability to plot reports geo-spatially in real-time (using things like Google Maps, here's an example: http://ugandaschools.net/); integration with SMS; and the ability to quickly alert officials with related oversight and responsibility to emerging issues (e.g. construction delays an individual school, or supervision visits that are past due).

Working with a team in the Bank's ICT unit (TWICT), the Uganda Education Team has also used 'U-report', a free mobile SMS-based communications technology developed by UNICEF Uganda, to facilitate an on-going conversation with targeted beneficiaries. U-report was introduced after the UPPET project provided textbooks and science kits to schools under the Government’s Universal Secondary Education (USE) policy. The Bank team is using the platform to collect critical feedback on the use of learning materials provided to 1,558 schools using Bank financing. U-report works as the feedback mechanism that provides insights into what is actually happening (or not happening) at the beneficiary level, soliciting feedback from parents, teachers and students to gauge the use of the materials provided in each school, so that potential problems can be identified and addressed quickly.


About the Presenters:

Sukhdeep Brar, Senior Education Specialist (AFTEW) joined the Bank in 2009 and managed the  Uganda education portfolio for 4 years until her relocation to  HQ in January 2013. Prior to joining the Bank, she was Principal Education Specialist with the Asian Development Bank. As a member of the Indian Administrative Service, she served as Economic Counselor in the Indian Embassy in Washington and spent 6 years in the Ministry of HRD, Dept of Education, New Delhi.  She was instrumental in designing a program for computer education through public private partnerships that was adopted for nationwide implementation in public secondary schools in 1992.

Gaurav Relhan
(AFTEW) has worked as an ICT specialist with the World Bank’s Africa Region since 2010, leveraging and promoting not only ICT applications but also developing institutional frameworks for harnessing data being yielded by ICT platforms. He led a Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) on local government and ICT in Mozambique and developed a number of ICT knowledge products on governance in Africa.