Challenges undoubtedly remain. Yet, we are learning, iterating, and delivering to disrupt the status quo and make sure we leave no child or young person behind.
Our experience of using technology to deliver radical inclusion so far
The use of EdTech to promote radical inclusion demands an equally radical vision for technology-supported education service delivery in Sierra Leone. So far, we have started to mobilize technology to support stakeholders across the system — government officials, teachers and learners — and drive change.
- Redefining education planning to equalize and empower
Our vision for EdTech revolves around delivery — and our plans for delivery revolve around data. In 2018, we digitized the Annual School Census exercise as we asked enumerators to use tablets to collect data from every school in the country.
Now, all education stakeholders can access information on students, teachers, finances and infrastructure via the publicly available Education Data Hub web portal.
This year, we have gone one step further to provide principals in senior secondary schools with a tablet and training to upload their own census data.
In the future, we will collect more real-time data to build on this annual snapshot on education in Sierra Leone. From the beginning of the next academic year, we will prepare some primary school leaders to use a tablet to collect, verify and apply dynamic data to drive school improvement. In doing so, we will support school leaders to manage teacher registration, student enrollment and daily attendance.
Currently, we are using this data to inform cutting-edge geospatial and machine learning analysis to find ways to remove structural barriers to education. Where should we construct schools to ensure underserved communities can physically access education? How can we improve the equity of teacher allocation? Where should we install radio transmitters to increase access to remote learning?
The answers to these key policy questions are guiding our decisions on how to make the most cost-effective investments in radical inclusion.
- Revitalizing support to school leaders and teachers
Teachers will play a crucial role in actualizing our unwavering commitment to providing free, quality education to every child in Sierra Leone. Yet, we realize teachers will need a structured and integrated package of training, ongoing support and resources to improve foundational learning outcomes.
Here, we are using technology to extend and enhance a teacher training model that we know works—school-based communities of learning where teachers meet regularly to share experiences, collectively reflect on practice, and jointly plan to apply new approaches in the classroom.
Teachers listen to audio recordings to support interactive activities such as role play. Teachers will watch videos of effective instruction to stimulate discussion on how to improve teaching in their school.
And teachers receive digitized and printed educational resources including curriculum-aligned lesson plans, workbooks and teaching aids.