Digital School Census in 10 Weeks? How it was carried out in Sierra Leone


Information being gathered from trainees in Port Loko, Sierra Leone. (Picture: Kabira Namit/World Bank) Les données concernent entre autres les élèves de Port Loko, Sierra Leone. (Picture: Kabira Namit/Banque mondiale).
Keep in mind: This blog site is particularly about Sierra Leone’s effective shift to a digital school census however has more comprehensive ramifications for other nations who prepare to embrace digital tools at a larger scale to gather information and keep an eye on education and health care centers in their nations..
In April of in 2015, the brand-new Minister of Financing of Sierra Leone approached the World Bank with a strong dedication to focus on education and an appealing demand.

The federal government wished to release their flagship totally free education program however was dealing with a considerable obstacle. With a complex education landscape and restricted resources, increased federal government funding required to focus at the most underserved neighborhoods. Nevertheless, information on schools, registration and instructors was little and out-of-date. The particular places of the schools in the nation was unidentified. The federal government approximated that upgrading the information utilizing the dominating practice (having schools fill out paper-based types, gather types from schools, by hand go into the information into a database, tidy and evaluate it) would use up to a year. So, the minister asked if the World Bank might support the federal government in gathering precise registration and facilities information for all the 11,000 schools in the nation, consisting of photos, GPS co-ordinates, information on absence and produce an instructor database … and do it all in 10 weeks. It seemed like Objective Difficult. The only method to attain it within the timeframe was to shift to a digital school census where enumerators gathered information straight on tablets and upgraded the database in genuine time. Shift to digital information collection Therefore the digital census happened over a duration of 10 weeks (and numerous sleep deprived nights) following 5 actions:.
1 – Kind style– The Yearly School Census kind for Sierra Leone was transformed into an ODK (Open Data Package) format. A variety of field limitations were contributed to the kind to minimize mistakes in information entry. Making complete usage of the digital nature of the tool, the kind was developed to gather GPS information, photos of each school and procedure trainee absence.
2 – Procurement of tablets and solar battery chargers– 600 tablets were needed to gather the information within the offered timeframe. DFID (Department for International Advancement, UK Federal government) lent roughly 200 tablets for the workout. The staying tablets were obtained at an expense of US$ 110 dollars per system. All bloatware was gotten rid of and all applications apart from a couple of that are needed for information collection were locked so that enumerators could not download films and infections or take selfies.
3 – Training of enumerators– A waterfall design was utilized for training enumerators. World Bank trained 60 Ministry of Education officers over 3 days. Then, these master fitness instructors trained 600 enumerators over the subsequent week while the Bank offered tracking and supervisory assistance..

Enumerators being trained in Freetown, Sierra Leone. ( Picture: Kabira Namit/ World Bank) 4 – Information collection – Schools were asked for to assemble their information beforehand through radio statements and direct telephone call. Enumerators were released with enthusiastic however reasonable weekly targets. Each district was needed to publish information a minimum of as soon as a week. Information collection was vigilantly kept track of. Daily stats were shared in between the core tracking group and weekly e-mails were sent to senior management with updates on the information collection development.
5 – Analysis and dissemination– A personalized control panel which was upgraded in genuine time was offered to the core group. Information was examined and tailored tables and charts were all set for the federal government within a week of the information collection workout. Presently, the Ministry is thinking about releasing an anonymized dataset on their site to support larger research study and analysis of Sierra Leone’s education sector.
Just how much did it cost?The overall expense for the workout (consisting of procurement of tablets), hiring of enumerators, transportation expenses and information analysis for more than 11,000 schools was roughly US$200,000 What’s the information beneficial for, anyhow? A lot. Precise information made it possible for mapping of all the schools in the nation. A complete mapping of education-access by combining hardship, transportation and census information supports evidence-based choice producing the building of brand-new schools..
Circulation of Main Schools by Remoteness in Sierra Leone, Census 2017-18

Likewise, the information is presently being utilized for the circulation of books and to make choices concerning instructor release (determining the optimum reward level for instructors to reside in remote locations). Other groups throughout the World Bank are utilizing the information to map education financial investment habits.

Must other nations follow suit?It depends. Technical know-how can just take you up until now. Political will and assistance from passionate civil servants makes all the distinction. It ought to certainly be thought about as there are several favorable externalities of this workout– consisting of putting brand-new innovations in the hands of youths.

It is very important to not get dissuaded and goal high. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “It constantly appears difficult up until it’s done.”.