06 June 2023
According to the World Bank, the use of information and communication technologies in children’s learning is beneficial in more ways than one.
The international institution cites the data from the experiment carried out with its consent between 2018 and 2020 in the states of Kano and Jigawa, in the northwestern region of Nigeria, as proof of this. The operation focused on 9,393 rural households, including children aged 6-9 and their parents, were subjected to two digital education approaches. It revealed a 42% decline in non-enrolment at the end of its term.
The baseline sample selected by the World Bank included 2,335 households living in 32 communities who received only aspirational videos aimed at parents to change their mindset and wish for the best for their children; 2,345 households living in 32 communities received aspirational videos and 40% of them additionally received a smartphone containing educational content. 4,713 households living in 64 communities served as a control group.
The study demonstrated that aspirational videos alone reduced girls’ aspirations to marry at age 15-18. These videos especially had an impact on the parents of the girls. In the households that received the aspirational videos and the smartphone, children’s reading and numeracy skills improved by 0.46 points and 0.63 points, respectively, compared to the control group.
According to the World Bank, no evidence of heterogeneous effects by sex of child was found in general, “highlighting the potential of information and communication technologies to effectively reach girls in conservative settings, where the seclusion of girls or a strong bias in favour of boys’ education can prevent girls from accessing formal education.”
“Our heterogeneous analysis by gender shows that the interventions worked equally well for girls and boys and that the magnitude of treatment effects by gender was generally similar for the main outcomes (school enrolment and reading skills, writing and calculation),” said the World Bank.
Because videos and smartphones could be used by multiple household members in these low-resource settings, the study also found that these resources improved the reading and numeracy skills of older siblings.