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Improving education sector performance is a key policy priority for the Government of Ghana. The Ministry of Education has, since the inception of the Education Strategic Plan (2018-30), rolled out various policies and major interventions towards achieving effectiveness in education service delivery. To ensure that well-intentioned policy goals and programmes translate into improved learning outcomes, decision-makers and stakeholders are eager to: (1) learn about policies and interventions that have proven to work; and (2) use such evidence and innovative solutions to improve planning and education service delivery. 

The Evidence Summit, which forms part of the National Education Week (NEW) 2022, will bring together policymakers, researchers and practitioners to a) share rigorous evidence that has been collected about the impact of policies and interventions in education aimed at improving service delivery and learning outcomes in Ghana; and b) identify ways in which evidence can be used to drive the implementation of education policies and programmes to facilitate better decision-making processes.

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Report
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September 15, 2022
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Worldwide, 250 million children under five (43%) are not meeting their developmental potential because they lack adequate nutrition and cognitive stimulation in early childhood. Several parent support programs have shown significant benefits for children’s development, but the programs are often expensive and resource intensive. The objective of this study was to test several variants of a potentially scalable, cost-effective intervention to increase cognitive stimulation by parents and improve emergent literacy skills in children. The intervention was a modified dialogic reading training program that used culturally and linguistically appropriate books adapted for a low-literacy population. We used a cluster randomized controlled trial with four intervention arms and one control arm in a sample of caregivers (n?=?357) and their 24- to 83-month-old children (n?=?510) in rural Kenya. The first treatment group received storybooks, while the other treatment arms received storybooks paired with varying quantities of modified dialogic reading training for parents. Main effects of each arm of the trial were examined, and tests of heterogeneity were conducted to examine differential effects among children of illiterate vs. literate caregivers. Parent training paired with the provision of culturally appropriate children’s books increased reading frequency and improved the quality of caregiver-child reading interactions among preschool-aged children. Treatments involving training improved storybook-specific expressive vocabulary. The children of illiterate caregivers benefited at least as much as the children of literate caregivers. For some outcomes, effects were comparable; for other outcomes, there were differentially larger effects for children of illiterate caregivers.

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September 07, 2022
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This paper reports on a two-tiered experiment designed to separately identify the selection and effort margins of pay-for-performance (P4P). At the recruitment stage, teacher labor markets were randomly assigned to a `pay-for-percentile' or fixed-wage contract. Once recruits were placed, an unexpected, incentive-compatible, school-level re-randomization was performed, so that some teachers who applied for a fixed-wage contract ended up being paid by P4P, and vice versa. By the second year of the study, the within-year effort effect of P4P was 0.16 standard deviations of pupil learning, with the total effect rising to 0.20 standard deviations after allowing for selection.

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August 03, 2022
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¿Pueden los programas de formación en las industrias creativas, como la música, brindar oportunidades para ayudar a mejorar las habilidades técnicas y no técnicas de los jóvenes para estar preparados y tener éxito en la economía moderna? En Colombia, investigadoras están evaluando el impacto de un programa de emprendimiento musical y planificación de vida en el fomento del desarrollo de habilidades técnicas y blandas en los jóvenes.

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June 30, 2022
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Using a randomized field experiment in Costa Rica, we estimate the effect of providing parents of preschool students with a text message intervention containing information and activities to engage them with their children's learning process at home. After 15 weeks of intervention, the cognitive skills of children whose parents were assigned to the program was 0.11-0.12 standard deviations higher than the control group. We find suggestive evidence that the effect was driven by an increase in parent involvement through the proposed activities from the text message campaign.

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Working Paper
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May 20, 2022
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In Liberia, we have continued our global tradition of rigorous, applicable research by building foundational research capacity and generating evidence to reduce poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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April 11, 2022
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Worldwide, 43 percent of children under the age of 5 are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential. The situation is especially challenging in contexts of forced displacement. This evidence synthesis provides actionable insights into policy and practice to improve outcomes for forcibly displaced children aged 0-3 and their caregivers. We review the literature on parenting programs, interventions that aim to improve early childhood development outcomes by building parenting skills and knowledge and improving parent-child interactions. We also use dual generation theory to explore how such programs could be enhanced by considering other outcomes for caregivers beyond parenting and the unique situation of adolescent caregivers.

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March 14, 2022

Los programas de transferencias monetarias condicionadas (TMC) han demostrado su eficacia para mejorar el nivel educativo en algunos contextos, pero no se han realizado evaluaciones rigurosas sobre el impacto que tienen los diferentes diseños de este tipo de programas. Investigadores de Bogotá, Colombia, evaluaron si cambiar el cronograma de pagos y el tipo de TMC podría llevar a un mayor impacto en el nivel educativo. Los resultados revelan que todas las variantes de TMC tuvieron un impacto positivo similar sobre la asistencia escolar, pero las transferencias que tenían como condición la continuidad de la educación tuvo un mayor impacto en matrículas escolares de niveles de educación secundaria y terciaria, en particular para niños y niñas de poblaciones en riesgo.

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December 10, 2021
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In Rwanda, we have continued our global tradition of rigorous, applicable research by building foundational research capacity and conducting evaluations in areas of pressing national concern. Examples of our work covered in this brief offer promising insights into everyday issues that affect the lives of the Rwandan poor.

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November 12, 2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic forced educators and students worldwide to rapidly shift to distance learning. As a result, governments, school systems, and educators worked to provide continuity in learning and services accessed through schools—such as school feeding programs—while trying to reconcile persistent equity gaps in access to technology and material and social resources. To date, global educational research has largely focused on how existing disparities and the social and economic downturn resulting from COVID-19 have undermined children’s learning. Much less data exist on how teachers fared during distance learning and the return to in-person schooling.

This brief leverages an ongoing longitudinal study on children, parents, and teachers in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Researchers conducted two rounds of phone surveys with 514 primary-school teachers from public and private schools to measure the pandemic’s repercussions on both children’s education and teacher well-being. Data were collected during school closures (October 2020) and when schools reopened (mid-January 2021) after ten months of distance learning.

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September 23, 2021
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La evidencia sugiere que las habilidades socioemocionales, como la empatía y la regulación emocional, juegan un papel importante a lo largo de la vida de una persona, pero existe poca evidencia sobre el impacto de enseñar estas habilidades a niños y niñas muy pequeños. En Colombia, las investigadoras están evaluando el impacto de un currículo con enfoque socio emocional para la primera infancia en la empatía, inclusión, compasión, resolución de problemas, pensamiento crítico, colaboración, regulación emocional, generosidad, defensa y cuidado de los demás.

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August 09, 2021
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The COVID 19 pandemic and the associated social and economic downturn are undermining children's educational and developmental outcomes, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Leveraging an on-going longitudinal study, researchers in Ghana conducted phone surveys and other research activities to measure the pandemic’s repercussions on children’s education and broader developmental outcomes. On average, private school students and students with high socioeconomic status had higher test scores at the end of the school closure period compared with their public- school counterparts, even when controlling of their previous scores. Additionally, 72 percent of public school children missed daily lunches that are received by the Ghana School Feeding Program and 30 percent of surveyed children claimed they experienced hunger during school closures.

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Brief
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June 29, 2021
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Education in the 21st century has taken a new dimension with emphasis on modernization and technology. Over the last few years, the Government of Ghana has aimed to improve education sector performance through its education reform programmes to strengthen service delivery and ensure that well-intentioned policy goals translate into improved learning outcomes and future workforce development. Improving access and quality of education in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic has made these efforts more challenging. The Ministry of Education has therefore aimed to identify ways to ensure education targets are achievable and sustainable through innovations and effective quality control systems for better planning, accountability, teaching, and learning.

The Evidence Summit, which forms part of the National Education Week (NEW), will bring together policymakers, researchers, and practitioners to: a) share rigorous evidence that has been collected about innovative approaches to improving access to STEM education and use of digital technology in learning, in Ghana and internationally; and b) identify ways to build resilience in the education system for quality education delivery.

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June 26, 2021
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Empirical social sciences rely heavily on surveys to measure human behavior. Previous studies show that such data are prone to random errors and systematic biases caused by social desirability, recall challenges, and the Hawthorne effect. Moreover, collecting high frequency survey data is often impossible, which is important for outcomes that fluctuate. Innovation in sensor technology might address these challenges. In this study, we use sensors to describe solar light adoption in Kenya and analyze the extent to which survey data are limited by systematic and random error. Sensor data reveal that households used lights for about 4 h per day. Frequent surveyor visits for a random sub-sample increased light use in the short term, but had no long-term effects. Despite large measurement errors in survey data, self-reported use does not differ from sensor measurements on average and differences are not correlated with household characteristics. However, mean-reverting measurement error stands out: households that used the light a lot tend to underreport, while households that used it little tend to overreport use. Last, general usage questions provide more accurate information than asking about each hour of the day. Sensor data can serve as a benchmark to test survey questions and seem especially useful for small-sample analyses.

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May 18, 2021
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Founded in 2019, IPA Nigeria develops applicable research by building foundational research capacity and conducting evaluations in areas of pressing national concern. Examples of our work in this brief offer promising insights into critical issues that affect the lives of the Nigerian poor.

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March 01, 2021

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