Unicef and Mwabu: Improving literacy and numeracy in Schools in Lukulu

Wed, 24.08.2016

UNICEF and the Minster of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE) through Mwabu have implemented a pilot programme in three community schools and two government schools in Lukulu, Western Province.

The pilot project aims to measure the educational impact of the Mwabu programme and the effectiveness and applicability of e-learning in rural areas. All pilot schools have been provided with the necessary e-learning equipment which includes Mwabuʼs interactive national curriculum content, and all teachers have been trained in the delivery of interactive and enquiry based lessons.


Facts & Figures:

  • 5 selected pilot schools and 3 control schools in Lukulu District, Western Province
  • 348 pupils tablets and 49 teacher tablets supplied to the pilot schools
  • 1 year of implementation for the study
  • 2760 pupils from grades 1 to 7 benefiting from the intervention
  • 43 teachers from the 5 pilot schools trained in interactive teaching methodologies pupils improved more than control school pupils in 5 of 6 literacy sub-tasks and all 7 numeracy sub-tasks


A baseline and an endline study were conducted to assess the impact of Mwabu lessons. After a year of exposure to the Mwabu intervention, results show that the performance of pupils who were taught using Mwabu content improved more than those in the control group who were not. The District Education Board Secretaryʼs (DEBS) office played a critical central role during the implementation, selecting pilot schools and supporting Mwabu with the fieldwork.


Evaluation Findings
A baseline assessment was conducted on pupils in grades 1 and 2 in October 2013, with a follow-up conducted in October 2014. Pupil literacy and numeracy improvement was assessed using the USAID-developed ʻEarly Grade Reading Assessmentʼ (EGRA) and ʻEarly Grade Math Assessmentʼ (EGMA). These assessment tools have been applied in more than 40 countries in a wide variety of languages. For this evaluation, both assessments tools were translated into Lozi - the language most widely used in Lukulu - formatted for tablet-based data collection. Results


After one year, pupils using Mwabu content demonstrated substantial gains in literacy ability. The literacy index score for Mwabu pupils rose from 6.6 at baseline to 29.5 at the follow-up assessment. By contrast, control school pupils scored 13.1 at baseline and only 21.3 at follow-up. The graph on the right shows improvements in EGRA literacy index score for both groups. The EGRA literacy index was created using pupil scores in the following EGRA sub-tasks: letter sound, familiar word reading, unfamiliar word reading, words read (per minute) and, reading comprehension.


Sizable improvements were also recorded in numeracy. The graph on the right shows improvement in Mwabu pupil performance over control school pupils achieved after just one year. Mwabu pupils demonstrated greatest improvement against the control group in number identification, which is considered the foundation skill of mathematics. Here Mwabu pupil scores improved from 36.0 to 76.1 in the follow-up assessment, while control pupils rose from 44.5 to 67.8.


The DEBS office also supported Mwabu through assessor recruitment; midterm evaluation; and training and monitoring of the schools by standards officers, all key components of a successful implementation.

full case study

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