Using odfl to increase access to secondary schools in lesotho nyabanyaba


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This is a presentation made at the First International ODL Conference at UNISA, Pretoria. The findings were drawn from an evaluation of the SOFIE (Strengthening open and flexible learning to support educational access in contexts of high prevalence rates in SADC countries) project, which aimed to use Open Distance and Flexible Learning (ODFL) to reduce barriers to access and attainment among secondary school students in a context of high HIV and AIDS prevalence rates. Funded from the joint DfID/Economic and Social Science Research scheme, SOFIE was led by the Institute of Education, London, collaborating with three institutions in Africa: the Centre for Educational Research and Training, Malawi; the Institute of Education, Lesotho; and the South African Institute for Distance Education, South Africa. In a context where learners experienced disruptions to attendance and progression in school, the project implemented an affordable model based on a circle of support for vulnerable learners. The evaluation of the intervention produced mixed results with some significant improvements in the performance of students in mathematics, where the project had received notable support from the teachers and their association. The findings of the study point towards various policy and practice initiatives including increased monitoring and support of learners at risk of dropping out of school.

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Using odfl to increase access to secondary schools in lesotho nyabanyaba

  1. 1. Thabiso NyabanyabaNational University of Lesotho Paper presented at the 1st UNISA international ODL 5-7 September 2012 Conference
  2. 2.  Project ◦ SOFIE (Strengthening open and flexible learning to support educational access in contexts of high prevalence rates in SADC countries) Aims ◦ improving retention and ◦ increasing access to learning Focus group ◦ OVCs ◦ Children affected by HIV and AIDS Using open and flexible learning strategies
  3. 3.  Many children experience absenteeism before dropout, due to ◦ Push out factors (in-school)  Overcrowding in schools  Teacher lack PSS and ability to cope with large classes  Lack of infrastructure  Curricular irrelevance ◦ Pull out factors (out-of-school)  Poverty  Early marriage  Impact of HIV and AIDS ODFL strategies have potential to support ‘at-risk’ students (Pridmore, 2006) ◦ Offering opportunities for re-entry ◦ Improving teacher understanding and empathy towards ‘at-risk’
  4. 4.  To what extent can barriers to access and attainment due to HIV and AIDS be addressed using ODFL as a complement to conventional schooling? DfID/Economic and Social Science Research funded ◦ Institute of Education, London ◦ Centre for Educational Research and Training, Malawi ◦ Institute of Education, Lesotho ◦ South African Institute of Distance Education Followed a mixed method approach in distinct phases ◦ Phase 1: Situational analysis – desk studies of policy, practices and factors influencing educational access ◦ Phase 2: Multi-site, formative fieldwork of factors influencing educational access ◦ Phase3: Development, trial and evaluation school-based intervention, incorporating ODFL
  5. 5.  Pretest-Posttest Control Group design 20/20 Schools randomly assigned to either of two groups (matching). Both groups were administered questionnaires and test papers (Maths and English) ◦ at the baseline (November 2008) and ◦ following implementation (November 2009), but ◦ only one group received the intervention package and training Additional qualitative data collected at various stages ◦ Mid-term monitoring visit in August 2009 ◦ Concurrent with post-intervention visits (November 2009) ◦ District-level evaluation workshops held in January 2010.
  6. 6.  School-in-a-box: Club leader manual Self -Study guides (English & Mathematics) Form B Textbooks (English & Mathematics) Dictionary English readers Supplementary readers on child rights, child labour and gender violence. HIV&AIDS board game ‘Choices & Decisions’ Writing materials Wind-up Radio School-in-a-bag: School bag (rucksack) Mathematical Instrument set 2 Notebooks, a pen and a pencil
  7. 7. Sample Sampled students status1200 Non-orphans1000 2% Single parents800 15% 6% Paternal orphans female600 Maternal orphans Male 53%400 21% Double orphans 3% Abondoned200 No data 0 Intervention Control
  8. 8.  The attendance and progression rate for boys is worse than girls in general, especially in rural areas. ◦ Related to boys being called upon to look after animals. ◦ Initiation However, girls experience more disruptions as they progress ◦ a result of girls being called on to look after sick members of families and siblings, ◦ early marriage to escape the burden of poverty at home. Disruptions also associated with the perceived low quality of education Results ◦ Inequitable access ◦ Poor efficiency ◦ Low quality ◦ Inadequate output/completion
  9. 9. Control schools Intervention schools Mean Mean File number N Rank N RankSCR:/English score Baseline 1841 1667.63 1819 1708.43 End-of-intervention 1629 1812.21 1578 1688.13 Total 3470 3397SCR:/Maths score Baseline 1842 1867.56 1818 1680.78 End-of-intervention 1596 1548.62 1559 1698.59 Total 3438 3377P:/Absenteeism Baseline 1075 1226.67 1205 1332.71 End-of-intervention 1371 1221.01 1439 1313.95 Total 2446 2644
  10. 10.  Slight decline in the scores for English, Slight increase in the mathematics scores Slight decline in the rate of absenteeism None statistically significant Difference in maths performance was statistically significant
  11. 11. Mean Sum of ID:/Student status N Rank RanksS:/repeated Form A club member 224 149.5 33488 in 2008 non-club member 74 149.5 11063 Total 298S club member 224 151.33 33899 non-club member 74 143.95 10652 Total 298
  12. 12.  Club-members did significantly better than similar students in maths Serious inequalities and obstacles remain Conclusion about intervention ◦ Had no impact to negative impact on English ◦ No impact on attendance could be found (inadequate intervention) ◦ Reduced dropout rates marginally ◦ Had a significant impact on maths performance ◦ Schools became better places for learning for OVCs  Reported impact on teacher empathy towards OVCs due to PSS training ◦ Better societal understanding on situation of OVCs
  13. 13.  Need for increased monitoring of attendance ◦ Particularly for OVCs at secondary schooling  Lack of understanding and monitoring of childhood and their issues Need for increased PSS support for OVCs ◦ Points to the impact of HIV and vulnerability  Child-headed and grandparents households Need to work through teacher formations in intervention ◦ Successful link with Maths teachers’ association resulted in cooperation Current and emerging socio-economic challenges call for more research and development of ODFL to complement conventional approachesFull papers available on: licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License