ADAPT: Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI)

Country: Tanzania, Uganda, KenyaDate Range: 2022Notre Dame Collaborators: Institute for Educational Initiatives, Pulte InstituteContact: Nikhit D'Sa

Project Background:

The youth population, aged 15-24, in Sub-Saharan Africa, the fastest-growing region in the world, is expected to double in the next 3 decades, reaching 375 million by 2030 (ILO, 2020). However, development analysts have observed that the continent remains stubbornly inhospitable — politically, economically, and socially — to young people (Mastercard Foundation, 2017). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that by 2035, there will be more young Africans entering the workforce each year compared to the rest of the world, emphasizing the need for students to learn not only the basic reading and arithmetic skills, but also 21st Century Skills or soft skills — skills that will empower them to face a world that is continually changing. 

Methodology & Study Approach:

The project builds upon the Assessment of Lifeskills and Values in East Africa (ALiVE) and focuses on the long-term goal of helping education systems and non-state partners focus on and equip learners with critical 21st Century Skills through the use of learning assessment data. ALiVE is implemented through a co-creation and collaborative development of a contextualized 21st Century Skills assessment, driven by civil society leaders. Currently ALiVE is working to develop and validate the assessment with adolescents (13-17 years) in school and non-formal education settings in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The first full round of nationally representative ALiVE data will be collected at the household level, to include all adolescents. ALiVE is being designed to be a simple, rigorous, easy-to-use tool, to make feasible and affordable assessment of 21st Century Skills possible at the national scale. This includes building consensus of what skills need to be measured in each country, developing the survey that can be administered by community partners, and validating the assessment in each country. 

The aim is to generate large-scale evidence on life skills and values across the three countries and ensure that the final products are freely available on an open-source platform (that will be developed through this project). ADAPT focuses on leveraging the innovative work of ALiVE to better strengthen the utilization of learning assessment data – especially as related to 21st Century Skills – within the national curriculum design and delivery mechanisms in these countries. Because of this emphasis on research translation, and the emphasis on curating this information based on audience needs and nuances, this project will generate usable knowledge about the best ways to strengthen the link between learning assessment data and curriculum design, adaptation, and delivery at the national level.

ADAPT research will have 6 key components implemented phases in the three East African countries of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda:

  • A formative study of past utilization of learning assessments
  • A systems mapping of each of the three countries 
  • Capacity assessment on the members of the learning community 
  • Establishment and continuously engagement of learning community in knowledge sharing and capacity building
  • Knowledge translation and policy influence 
  • Regular knowledge sharing forums and ongoing policy engagement and advocacy

The University of Notre Dame’s Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child (GC-DWC) serves as the primary research partner on this initiative, led by Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI). The Pulte Institute for Global Development is working closely with the GC-DWC to support the ADAPT consortium to map the education ecosystem in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda

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