No.15 Developing Collective Impact to Improve Foundational Learning: Evidence from Madagascar After the COVID-19 Pandemic Shock

  • #Discussion Papers

After the school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the recovery of foundational skills such as numeracy became a priority policy agenda in sub-Saharan Africa. In Madagascar, the Ministry of Education began scaling-up training on the pedagogical approach to numeracy, called “Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL),” for primary teachers and community volunteers. This training was part of a package of interventions that aimed at strengthening the capacity of the school management committee (SMC) to lead extra-curricular remedial activities. In parallel with the process of scaling up the package for primary schools, the Ministry organized a public education forum in the region to develop collaboration among different actors, such as educational administration and local governments, to improve foundational skills. As these interventions were scaled up progressively to increase their coverage of the regions, we used the settings to investigate their impact on numeracy for primary students, employing a difference-in-differences strategy. Specifically, we targeted the neighboring regions with similar social backgrounds and conducted a survey for those schools situated in communes near regional border. TaRL training plus the public education forum improved learning outcomes in numbers and four basic operations by 0.37 standard deviations. The collaboration of different actors to improve foundational skills in Madagascar shows an example of collective impact to address learning crisis in low-income country.

Keywords: Educational development; COVID-19 pandemic, Math learning; School management, Sub-Saharan Africa.

Date of issuance
August 2023
Number of pages
Related areas
  • #Africa
  • #Education
Research area
Human Development