Technology for Building Back Better: Lessons from large-scale randomized controlled trials on a foundational learning program in Pakistan

Webinar | Online

About the Event

This panel will reflect on two recent large-scale experiments of a post-COVID foundational learning program that leverages low-cost technology software in supporting existing primary teachers to catch students up to their grade levels across more than 1800 public primary schools in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) of Pakistan. We will present student learning results in the context of the role of technology in assessing, monitoring, and evaluating learning gaps and progress to enable teachers in tailoring instruction to students’ learning levels. Preliminary findings on teacher take-up will establish this technology as an experience good and discuss variations in its usage based on the self-perceived confidence, age, and gender of teachers. The panel will also shed light on the enablers and facilitators of technology usage in the context of Pakistan, with learnings for other developing country contexts.


Name Title Biography
Zainab Qureshi Founder and CEO , Beaj Education Zainab is the founder and CEO of an EdTech startup, Beaj Education. Previously, she was the Director of the LEAPS program at EPoD. She oversaw implementation of multiple research studies under the RISE (Research on Improving Systems of Education) program in Pakistan. She has also worked as Academic Director at an Education non-profit in Pakistan, where she designed and implemented an alternate model of education in low-cost schools. She has worked at several local and international education organizations in Pakistan and has taught and designed curriculum at both the school and college levels. She has led research and development of the LEAPS team’s education technology initiatives, including the design of the tool proposed in this study which is tailored to the needs of people in low-resourced, low-digital literacy settings. She is currently leading the implementation of the targeted instruction study headed by Co-PI Andrabi in Pakistan. She holds a Master’s in Education (Ed.M.) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA in Economics and International Development from McGill University.
Christina Brown Assistant Professor, University of Chicago Christina is a development economist studying labor and behavioral economics questions. Her research examines labor and education market imperfections, especially around issues of asymmetric information. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago’s Economics Department. She received her PhD in Economics from UC Berkeley and worked as a consultant for the World Bank and Save the Children.Prior to working as a researcher, she taught high school physics.
Isabel Macdonald Postdoctoral Researcher, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley Isabel is a postdoc researcher with the Fintech and Financial Inclusion Initiative at Haas School of Business. She is passionate about bringing behavioral economics and technology together to improve education and financial wellbeing. Her current projects explore how people trade off the psychological and financial costs of debt repayment, how social stigmas and trust challenge mobile money usage in Kenya, and how technology tools can help schools in Pakistan can prevent learning loss and drop outs due to the COVID-19 school closures. She holds a BA in Economics and International Relations from Claremont McKenna College and a PhD in public policy from Harvard University.


Name Title Biography
Yaqoob Ali Data Design Lead, Education Project, CERP Yaqoob is a Data Design Lead on the Education Project at the Centre for Economic Research in Pakistan. He has completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan. He has been associated with the education sector for over five years in various roles, including leading the implementation of the Chief Minister's Roadmap for Education in three districts of Punjab. In addition, he has held various research and teaching assistance positions at LUMS. Currently he is assisting in drawing up an analysis on the LEAPS Long Term Follow-up Survey where he is co-authoring a paper with Tahir Andrabi. He is also involved in the design and roll out of a Targeted Instruction Program (TIP) in KP and Islamabad. TIP is a Randomized Controlled Trial aimed at assessing effectiveness of a multi-pronged forty-day accelerated learning program in bridging the gap between learning level and actual grade of primary school students. He also occasionally writes opinion pieces in the Nation newspaper.

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Evaluators Academics Civil Society Education

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