Strengthening school leadership through an improvement science approach: final project report; Kenya

Organisation(s): Worldreader; International Development Research Centre (Canada); Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development (Philippines)

Date: 2022

Pages: 31 p.


The relationship between leadership and improved educational outcomes is increasingly acknowledged in Kenya (The Republic of Kenya, 2008; Eacott and Asuga, 2014), but like in many other Global South countries, school leadership is under-researched (Asuga et al, 2015) and investment in school leadership under-funded. Worldreader, in collaboration with Open University in the UK, introduced an implementation science approach and the use of PLAN, STUDY, DO, and ACT (PDSA) cycles to test creative solutions towards improving reading outcomes in children. School leaders and researchers worked together to design, implement and assess innovations to the learning loss and literacy challenges facing their schools post Covid-19. In particular, school leaders were introduced to Booksmart, a digital reading program, and conducted a series of experiments to determine how best to leverage mobile technology for improved reading growth in students in their schools. The project mentored school leaders in person and online and introduced a four-step Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA). School leaders tracked their personal learning journeys with the PDSA methodology. The project works in public schools in six primary schools in Mukuru Kwa Ruben, an underserved settlement in Nairobi’s industrial district, and six primary schools in Limuru, a rural area close to Nairobi. The Worldreader BookSmart App was introduced into the project schools to support improvements in literacy in classrooms, homes, and community settings. The overall objective of the research was to understand how a learning science approach targeting school leaders could contribute to improved quality and equity and continued learning and well-being of girls and boys in the Global South during the prolonged school closures of the COVID-19 crisis, and future emergencies.

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