Access to and use of technology by primary school teachers: A survey in the 23 regions of Madagascar
Photo 1: Video model shooting session at EPP Ambatomena in Antsirabe with the Ministry’s multimedia team. Photo: Hasiniavo Rasolohery, 2022
The Madagascar Ministry of National Education, through the National Institute for Pedagogical Training, plans to use new technology in teacher training for early-stage reading and writing in Malagasy. This initiative is undertaken within the framework of the Madagascar Basic Education Support Project. The main objective is to train 5,000 teachers of the T2 class remotely, drawing inspiration from systems such as the Distance Education for Primary Teachers (FADEP).
In order to minimise risks and ensure the success of the project, the ministry requested technical assistance from EdTech Hub in October 2021. This assistance consists first of supporting the implementation of a survey aimed at better understanding primary teachers’ access to technology and how they use it in their teaching practices. Subsequently, the data obtained from this survey will inform the development of a digital training platform.
This blog gives a detailed description of the journey from preparation to the launch of this national survey with the aim of giving an overview of the access, use, and needs of teachers in relation to technology in Madagascar.
Since October 2022, EdTech Hub has collaborated with representatives of the Government of Madagascar and the World Bank on the study and design of the national survey plan. This work was done through regular exchanges between the Hub team and the National Institute for Pedagogical Training. The research methods and the research questionnaires’ sampling and design were developed in close collaboration. The survey aims to understand the habits of Madagascar’s teachers in relation to their use of technology and also to determine whether they have access to technology.
The survey is being conducted in the 23 regions of Madagascar by various officials from different divisions of the Ministry of Education. The total target sample for the quantitative survey is 1,297, mainly including teachers, pedagogical supervisors, trainers, pedagogical advisers, and school principals.
Figure 1: Groups targeted in the survey by category. Source: EdTech Hub, Enumerator Training Slide, Deliverable 2, 2023
In the week of January 9, 2023, the Edtech Hub team provided training for 40 enumerators over five days. The sessions covered a range of topics, from survey and data collection procedures to research ethics and data management techniques.
Among the themes discussed, we talked in detail about ethics and codes of conduct during research.
Madagascar is a very large and diverse island with 18 ethnic groups, each with its own local cultures and dialects. Certain words can have different meanings depending on their locality. For example, among particular ethnic groups, the name of an animal can be interpreted as an insult. Enumerators were trained on ethical risks in order to ensure the collection of high-quality data.
Photo 2: Setting up tablets for conducting Focus Group Discussions during enumerator training. Photo: Hasiniavo Rasolohery, 2023
We also worked on quantitative and qualitative research methods, including collaborative activities on how to set questionnaires for data collection.
Role-playing sessions were organised, during which participants were able to practise in pairs for one-on-one interviews and in three groups for the focus group. The feedback from the participants made it possible to correct errors or inconsistencies in the questionnaires. The three groups of enumerators had previously each carried out a pilot in the Public Primary Schools of Ambohimangakely, Antanambao, and Ankadindambo.
After the pilot, enumerators were able to issue their feedback using the survey tool in order to finalise the questionnaires, and the Department of Information Systems (DSI) team was able to help the participants upload the questionnaire onto their devices.
Photo 3: Ministry of Education (MoE) enumerators after training. Photo: Saalim Koomar, 2023
Launch in regions
During the week of January 16, 2023, the EdTech Hub team participated in the first wave of the survey in the northern region of Madagascar (Diana). Hasiniavo Rasolohery and Saalim Koomar accompanied agents Johary, a Ministry of Education (MoE) trainer, and James from the DSI on the ground. The mission included courtesy visits to local authorities within the Regional Directorate of Education (DREN), heads of school districts (CISCO) and heads of educational administration zones (ZAP). We then continued to visit other facilities to which Constables Johary and James had been assigned.
Photo 4: Johary, MoE trainer, conducts a one-on-one interview with a teacher from EPP Cap-Diego – Antsiranana. Photo: Saalim Koomar, 2023
Madagascar normally experiences a hurricane season annually between January and March. The onset of cyclones CHENESO and FREDDY disrupted the delivery of the survey. During this time, enumerator safety was a major concern, leading to the decision to suspend all data collection activities until the weather conditions improved. Precautions were taken to minimise any potential risks, including the closure of all public institutions.
A new digital platform
Along with these investigative activities, the design of the new digital platform, with the active support which EdTech Hub, has already started. We have developed a note of advice for the reformatting of paper tools into digital versions with interactive interfaces. EdTech Hub has supported the production of model videos for teaching mathematics and Malagasy in all stages, from preparation to editing. EdTech Hub attended all the filming sessions of the nine films and supported the process by providing materials such as a camera and audio equipment. In addition, the EdTech Hub team is currently developing a practical guide on how to use the new tools for the community of teachers who will use the platform.
Photo 5: Video shooting of a teaching model at the École Primaire Public (EPP) Vinaninkarena in Antsirabe. Photo: Hasiniavo Rasolohery, 2022
What have we learnt?
We can draw several lessons from the launching of this survey:
- Practical and participatory training: The investigators quickly familiarised themselves with the methodology and survey tools by exchanging and sharing experiences with other users.
- Ethical consideration is critical: To ensure a successful approach, the participants’ contextual considerations and sensitivities must be considered.
- Test, test, test: To ensure that the survey tools meet expectations, significant testing must be carried out during the training and pilots with actual participants.
- A flexible methodology: Faced with unavoidable risks, it is important to have alternative solutions. In our case, we used phone calls as an alternative method to face-to-face interviews during the cyclones.
- Resuming activities: once the cyclone season ended, the survey rollout resumed in the month of March in the 18 remaining regions targeted.
- Data processing and analysis: the Hub supports the Ministry in storing survey raw data and providing data processing models. We have started working on a detailed feedback document on how to improve the summary of survey results and especially how to organise recommendations and key messages from the data.
- Setting up the platform on the basis of the survey results: the results of the survey will provide valuable data for future projects of the Ministry and partners.
*BEPC: Brevet d’Etude de Premier cycle *CAP: Certificat d’Aptitude Professionel *CFFP: Certificat de Fin de Formation Professionnelle *ZAP: Zone d’administration Pédagogique *FADEP: Formation à Distance des Enseignants du Primaire *CRINFP: Centre Régional de l’Institut National de Formation Pédagogique.