What Usawa Agenda has done
Since 2009, we have regularly conducted assessments to evaluate learning outcomes among primary school children in Kenya (aged 6-16 years old). The surveys, which are representatives at both national and district levels, are conducted at the household, are the largest, most comprehensive, independent surveys of households and children ever implemented in Kenya. Over the last decade, we have assessed over 600,000 children, in over 250,000 households across 18,000 villages and visited over 20,000 primary schools (both public and private). In doing so, we have produced an invaluable dataset for monitoring learning outcomes at lower primary levels, one of the key target areas for measuring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG 4). The assessment serve as an instrument for accountability, through public and policy conversations both at national and sub-national levels around the assessment process and learning outcomes among children in and out of school.
In 2016, we implemented a new study to assess how children’s learning is progressing beyond grade 2 level literacy and numeracy into higher-level skills in upper primary school. We conducted the Uwezo Beyond Basics Assessment at school level, where we assessed children enrolled in grades 5 and 6 using grade 4 level English and Mathematics. The Beyond Basic study assessed writing, listening and spelling. Similarly, for numeracy, the Beyond Basics study assessed children’s ability to perform mathematical problems of greater difficulty, including combined operations as well as children’s critical thinking skills.
In the last quarter of 2017, and the first quarter of 2018, we engaged with over 20,000 citizens and 1,000 primary school heads in over 940 villages spread in 94 districts across the country with a view to improve children’s learning outcomes. We achieved great results from this pilot with each village administrator making commitment on three specific activities that s/he would immediately undertake to ensure all children out of school in his/her village go to school. Head teachers on their part committed to three things that they would do to ensure all children in their schools stay in school and LEARN. These commitments were unique for every village and school and sort to establish a mutual accountability mechanism between parents, teachers and local administrators within those villages.
We have also experimented with generation of data at the micro level for use in community dialogues at that level through a “Public Agency” project in two counties of Baringo and Kilifi, with profound success.