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Zambian Government to Invest in Successful Education Model Supported by the American Institutes for Research

Partnership with Impact Network leads to growth of eSchool 360

Arlington, Va., Sept. 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- An innovative school program supported by the American Institutes for Research is being invested in by the Zambian government after showing promising effects for students in rural sections of the country. The eSchool 360 program is being implemented by the non-profit Impact Network and operates in more than 40 schools, serving over 6,000 students in rural Zambia.

The Zambia Ministry of Education recently announced it will fund teachers to be trained in the eSchool 360 approach, which includes eLearning hardware, teacher training, school management and more.

“The growth and success of the eSchool 360 program demonstrates the power of a partnership that combines an on-the-ground understanding of what communities need with high-quality evidence to inform policy and practice,” said David Seidenfeld, AIR senior vice president for international development. “AIR is proud to work with the Impact Network and the Zambian government to grow a program that is improving outcomes and increasing equitable opportunities for children.”

“We are pleased to invest in eSchool 360 program, which is showing positive results for students throughout the Eastern District of Zambia,” said Batra Kasimbo, senior educational officer for open and distance learning in Zambia. “This program demonstrates that if educators are provided the right tools, training, and support, it creates more opportunities for student success.”

The eSchool 360 program combines technology, an interactive curriculum, regular coaching and targeted teacher training, solar power, and school safety, while also addressing the holistic needs of teachers and students. AIR supported the development, refinement, and piloting of eSchool 360, starting in 2015. After visiting schools that were using the approach, the AIR Board of Directors committed funding in 2017 to expand eSchool 360 in Zambia’s Eastern Province and agreed to evaluate the program to measure the impact on children’s learning outcomes.

The midline results of the mixed-methods cluster-randomized controlled trail, released in 2020, found that students in schools that used the eSchool 360 approach had statistically higher reading, mathematics, and achievement test scores than those who did not use the approach. When compared directly against the one-year learning gains of the control group, the learning gains were equivalent to 1.2 additional years of education for reading and about 4.5 additional months of education for mathematics. Furthermore, the study found that schools using the program increased enrollment by almost 15% over the control group.

AIR continues to invest in the growth of the eSchool 360 model through the AIR Equity Initiative, a five-year, $100M+ investment in behavioral and social science research and technical assistance to address the underlying causes of systemic inequities and to increase opportunities for people and communities. The initiative’s work is done collaboratively with other organizations and communities and focuses on developing approaches to moderate or mitigate the harmful effects on individuals living in communities segregated by race and place, with a particular emphasis on education, workforce, creating safer communities, and advancing health equity. AIR board members and leadership visited Zambia earlier this year to see the program up close and learn more about its implementation. Karen Francis, AIR vice president and Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, wrote about the trip in a blog post published on AIR.org.

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education and the workforce. AIR's work is driven by its mission to generate and use rigorous evidence that contributes to a better, more equitable world. With headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, AIR has offices across the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit www.air.org.

About Impact Network
Impact Network is a non-profit institution that transforms lives in rural Zambian communities through education and innovation — at a fraction of the cost of other alternatives. Their key program, the eSchool 360, is a holistic education model centered on empowering teachers with tablets, activity-based lessons, support and weekly coaching. This model is currently running in 40+ schools and impacting over 6,000 students. They also design and implement a variety of projects that improve the overall lives of our students, including early childhood education, financial literacy, child protection, girls and women empowerment, environmental sustainability, and life skills. For more information, visit www.impactnetwork.org.

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Dana Tofig
American Institutes for Research
202-403-6347
dtofig@air.org

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