Adapting, innovating, and scaling foundational learning: four lessons from scaling Teaching at the Right Level in Botswana

Autor(es): Curtiss Wyss, Molly; Qargha, Ghulam Omar; Arenge, Gabrielle; Mukoyi, Tendekai; Elliott, Maya; Matsheng, Moitshepi; Clune, Karen

Organisation(s): Brookings Institution (USA). Center for Universal Education

Publisher(s): Brookings

Date: 2023

Pages: 45 p. + 7 p.

In 2019, Youth Impact, the Ministry of Education and Skills Development and the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution launched a Real-time Scaling Labs (RTSLs) in Botswana focused on the process of implementing, adapting, scaling, and sustaining the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach in primary schools across the country. The RTSL is part of Millions Learning, a project of the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at the Brookings Institution, that explores scaling and sustaining effective innovations leading to improved system-wide approaches. CUE is implementing a series of RTSLs in countries around the world to generate evidence and provide practical recommendations around the process of scaling in global education. Since 2016, TaRL has expanded in Botswana from a numeracy pilot in a single school, to a numeracy and literacy program implemented in over 20 percent of primary schools across five regions of the country. Scaling TaRL has resulted in impressive learning gains in Botswana. Results from 2022 show that the percentage of grade 3 to 5 students who could not do any basic math operations fell from 34 percent to 8 percent, and that 72 percent of students learned a new numerical operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division) during a TaRL implementation period of 3 to 6 weeks. The case of TaRL in Botswana offers a rich example of how an innovation developed and refined in one context can be adapted to and strategically expanded in a new location by a local organization in partnership with the government. TaRL's scaling journey in Botswana is still unfolding, but the case provides an opportunity to investigate the many key facilitating factors, decisions, and barriers that have contributed to and constrained the scaling process to date. Section one of the report provides an overview of the RTSL, the education ecosystem in Botswana, and the history of TaRL internationally. Section two analyzes some critical factors, opportunities, and challenges related to the design, delivery, and financing of TaRL in Botswana. This section also identifies four key lessons that can inform the work of policymakers, program designers, and implementing organizations striving to scale and sustain TaRL in other contexts and the work of other innovations around the world aiming to improve learning outcomes for all children. Finally, section three considers next steps for the scaling journey of TaRL in Botswana.

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