Following the sixth call for proposals of the Wehubit program, implemented by Enabel, the Belgian development agency, 5 EdTech projects (all with a duration of 18 months) have been selected: Save the Children is leveraging an innovative and intuitive tool to address the lack of training for Ugandan teachers: an interactive voice server that provides access to pre-recorded lessons, complemented by SMS text messaging.
In-service teacher training in lower-resource settings is often inadequate and/or of low quality. Despite some forms of teacher professional development (TPD) being available in Uganda, teachers are too often not equipped well-enough with the general transferable and hands-on pedagogical skills they need to deliver effective learning for their students. While most teachers desire to pursue TPD, they are often hindered by scarce resources to afford courses/support provided by non-government providers and by lack of time. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown measures have severely compounded the existing issues to access quality TPD. In addition, the new model for home/remote learning has imposed a range of new knowledge, competency and skill requirements on teachers, parents and children. While they are expected to support distance learning work, teachers find it difficult, if not impossible, to access the relevant information and training opportunities.
Save the Children’s existing programme offers teachers access to Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and SMS services to support their professional development. The project will scale up this service by providing quality digitalised remote teacher training messaging through a phone-based platform.
7 additional pre-recorded teacher professional development modules will be added and hosted through an offline IVR platform, as a compliment to face-to-face TPD. Each module will be delivered over the course of a week, with integrated pre and post tests and supporting SMS text messages. In the second phase of the project, a toll-free line will host a series of pre-recorded five-minute lessons including pre and post-test surveys, allowing more teachers to continue their professional development while face to face training opportunities or support are inaccessible or inappropriate due to travel restrictions and/or other lockdown measures.
The Wehubit Programme was launched in 2018. It looks for and supports actors that aim to deploy and scale-up existing digital solutions. The programme primarily supports tested solutions that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. The grants are awarded to public organisations or civil society organisations that support digital social innovation projects. Currently, the Wehubit programme supports 27 very varied projects (including the 5 new ones) in twelve of the partner countries of Enabel. Calls for proposals are regularly launched on the Wehubit website (wehubit.be). Since 2021, the programme has a new component: the Knowledge Exchange Network and the e-Library. They were created with a view to facilitating the exchange of good practices, lessons learned and knowledge deliverables.
The Wehubit program aims to stimulate digital social innovation and is primarily targeted at public sector and non-profit organizations. In our sixth call for proposals, we have a diverse panel of partners:
— Save the children FUND
— Save the children International
RESULTS / IMPACTS
As a fist step, the use of an IVR and SMS-based platform will be scaled up to provide 499 teachers with remote access to quality professional development materials in Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts. The project will then establish a national toll-free phone line to provide up to 10,000 teachers an educations staff across Uganda with free access to the teacher professional development materials developed.