PEAS exists to expand access to low-cost, high-quality, and sustainably delivered secondary education. We work in rural contexts with the most marginalised learners, so we are committed to creating cost-effective, lasting solutions. Internal evidence shows that 93% of PEAS schools charge lower fees than comparable schools in their area. Our school networks cover almost all their running costs from sustainable revenues, and the PEAS’ Uganda network is on track to be fully sustainable by 2026[1]. PEAS was found to offer ‘very strong cost-effectiveness, relevance, and sustainability’ through our core school programme activities, – overall a ‘smart buy’, and ‘excellent value for money’[2]. This cost-effectiveness and sustainability are key to replicability within our networks and in the wider education systems we work in.

How is PEAS’ literacy approach replicable and sustainable?

Our literacy approach has been designed, developed, and embedded into our sustainable school networks over 15 years, based on internal evidence and external best practice. In response to identified need, PEAS piloted a multi-pronged “Literacy Across the Curriculum” programme in 2015, which aimed to embed teaching literacy across the curriculum and create extra-curricular opportunities to build literacy skills. This program was piloted in a group of schools in Uganda with the intention of being fully replicated throughout our network. Learnings from results of this program helped us scale across the Uganda network, and then into our Zambia school network. It is now reaching over 18,000 PEAS  learners across 36 schools.

In 2022, we strengthened our approach by piloting a digital learning software – Kolibri. Extensive research was conducted into current EdTech solutions, including summaries of evidence before COVID 19-related school closures and evidence reviews that have taken place since reopening.The Kolibri software was chosen specifically due to its accessibility in rural, offline contexts. To harness this existing software and make it accessible to PEAS students, we combined our use of this platform with PEAS-developed bespoke literacy content. This blended approach – using offline digital software within available infrastructure – ensures sustainability. As we continue to strengthen our use of low-tech software, any increased costs will be worked into school-level budgets.

PEAS’ innovation with Kolibri is being replicated in a phased approach (currently piloting in 15 PEAS schools in Uganda). Based on learnings and feedback from stakeholders, including teachers and school leaders, the program will be replicated to operate at scale across the PEAS networks. By phasing the roll out of Kolibri, we will ensure that this innovative tool has long-term impact and sustainability.

How does PEAS overcome the challenges to sustainability and replicability when delivering digital interventions in low-resource contexts? 

We recognise the limitations of using digital innovations, especially in rural contexts, and the risk they can pose to deepening the learning divide due to digital access. During the COVID-19 school closures, we took a multipronged approach to reaching learners offline and keeping them engaged with learning in a rural context. This approach demonstrated the importance of having multiple entry points to delivering education, and reaching our learners.

Our multi-pronged approach has also enabled us to support schools to deliver the same high-quality literacy content without the use of Kolibri to account for technology challenges, and for our schools which do not have existing hardware in place. We know that “investing in education technology hardware alone is almost always a bad use of funds”[3], so we’ve designed a remedial programme for use in schools that do not yet have access to ICT labs. The content for this programme is bespoke to PEAS’ students, and is accessible without internet or Kolibri software. As we continue to replicate and scale across our network, accessibility will be a key consideration.

How does PEAS’ approach have long-term impact?

We are committed to sharing our approaches with wider education stakeholders to strengthen the system, expanding and sustaining our impact beyond our networks. Our system strengthening programs reach 100,000s of learners by replicating our successful systems and models to drive teaching quality and learner achievement, adapting to the needs of each context we work in. These programs strengthen school leaders’ leadership and management skills to improve learning and literacy outcomes. Evidence shows additional perceived improvement to wider aspects of school, including learner and teacher attendance and school safety.

Read the next blog in our series here.

If you’re interested in finding out more about PEAS’ innovate literacy programme, read this blog or  contact info@peas.org.uk. If you would like to support our work embedding our multi-pronged literacy approach into and beyond our sustainable school networks, please contact partnerships@peas.org.uk

 

[1] Shah, V. and Sidhu, S. (2022). Spotlight brief for the GEARR-ing Up for Success After School Project, Uganda. GEC. Available at: https://girlseducationchallenge.org/media/kp4dujgz/gec_spotlight_brief_4_vfm_final.pdf

[2] Shah, V. and Sidhu, S. (2022). Spotlight brief for the GEARR-ing Up for Success After School Project, Uganda. GEC. Available at: https://girlseducationchallenge.org/media/kp4dujgz/gec_spotlight_brief_4_vfm_final.pdf

[3] World Bank (2020). Cost-effective approaches to improve learning: What does recent evidence tell us are “smart buys” for improving learning in low- and middle-income countries. GEEAP-Report-Smart-Buys-2023-final.pdf (worldbank.org)

 

 

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