Author: Stuart Leigh and Andrew Epstein
Full Citation: Leigh, S., & Epstein, A. (2012). South Sudan Interactive Radio Instruction performance evaluation report. Washington, DC: MSI.
Overview: The broad objective of the evaluation is to assess the effectiveness of the SSIRI project as it approaches its planned end date. The SSIRI project supports primary schools by providing audio for teachers and students and printed teacher’s guides. To support formal education in primary schools, it has produced 480 Learning Village audio lessons that are distributed via radio and by digital audio player. It supports non-formal education via the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) and serves out-of-school youth with 180 RABEA (Radio-Based Education for All) audio programs offering the primary school curriculum together with civics, health, and English-language content. It also supports informal learners via 60 RABEA audio programs that also provide civics, health, and conflict-sensitive messages.
Methodology: A two-member team of US-based evaluation consultants arrived in Juba on October 10 and led a six-week participatory evaluation in six states of South Sudan, focused on Western, Central, and Eastern Equatoria, and Jonglei, Warrap, and Western Bahr el Ghazal. Project sites visited included Juba, Lainya, Yei, Maridi, Mundri, Torit, Bor, Wau, Jur River, and Kwajok. Accompanying the evaluators were representatives from the Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and EDC.
Findings: There is some evidence to support increased learning gains and higher promotion rates among LV students, though gains appear to be concentrated in certain counties and states. There is also broad consensus among teachers and head teachers, education officials, and parents that SSIRI has a positive impact on both primary school achievement and on attendance, even if they are often unable to substantiate these assertions with data. More research needs to be done to conclusively assert specific positive impacts on teaching and on pupils’ learning. Given the current context of schooling conditions in South Sudan, it is not entirely reasonable to expect a noticeable positive differential in learning gains attributable to SSIRI, seeing as SSIRI is still a small part of a student’s schooling experience.