Parents’ involvement lead to increased performance of children at school
Guilherme Lichand is the founder of Movva, the world’s first nudgebot startup, that launched the Eduq+ initiative in Brazil and Côte d’Ivoire. Eduq+ is a nudgebot, a technology product aimed at encouraging parents’ engagement in their children’s school life, focused on socio-emotional development. In Côte d’Ivoire, it has reached 100 teachers and more than 5,000 parents and children across 100 schools in Bouafle and Aboisso. We discussed with Guilherme Lichand about how parents’ involvement can lead to children’s increased motivation and better performance at school.
June 1st is Global Day of Parents, an opportunity to highlight parents’ crucial role in the life of their children. How can parents make a difference in the life of their children, and what is Movva proposing to support parents?
We believe that parents can make a huge difference by getting more involved in the school life of their children. Parents often delegate education to schools, particularly when their children are more advanced in school than parents ever were. That arises as a combination of not knowing how to support and of not realizing they still have a role, particularly as kids grow older. It becomes very important in these cases to encourage parents in staying committed for the benefit of their children. To support parents, Eduq+ sends nudges via text messages sent to their mobile phones. They share advices on best parenting practices and non-curricular activities fostering socio-emotional development. A typical example would be encouraging a parent to set time aside to explain the importance of mathematics in everyday life. The follow-up message would encourage the parent to ask the child about his approach to mathematics in everyday life. Finally, another message would verify that the conversation is at least ongoing, and regardless of the answer, encourage the parent to start or continue said conversation.
Eduq+ can also be leveraged to promote direct communication between schools and parents to share the main news concerning the school, such as dates for tests and exams or upcoming meetings with parents. Last but not least, interactive messages can be used by the Ministry to survey parents and caregivers at scale to assess their perceptions about teachers’ work, constraints the schools might be facing, or compliance with hygiene best practices in the context of covid-19.
Eduq+ has been piloted in Côte d’Ivoire in the context of the TRECC program. Can you share with our readers the key results of the pilot phase and how the Ministry of Education was involved?
The Ministry of Education has been involved since the outset and has accompanied Movva throughout the pilot phase, by facilitating the communication with local education authorities and schools’ principals and teachers, training teachers on how to use the platform and encouraging parents’ enrolment. During the school year 2018-2019, Eduq+ has been delivered to some 5000 parents of children attending 50 schools in the Aboisso et Bouaflé regions, while 50 additional schools in the same regions served as control group. The results of the independent impact evaluation conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) found large positive impacts of Eduq+’s messages to parents:
- second graders improved numeracy and literacy test scores (0.1 standard deviation)
- sixth graders experienced a large reduction in grade repetition (a 1/3 reduction)
- and dropout rates fall 50% across second, fourth and sixth graders (CP2, CE2 and CM2).
Most governments are already investing a significant portion of their GDP in education. What is the interest for a government to invest in a solution such as Eduq+?
The interest for the government is to save money by reducing the costs associated with grade repetition and dropouts. The impact of lower grade repetition at primary school level has been evaluated at roughly USD 5 million per school year in savings for the government of Côte d’Ivoire. Eduq+’s impact leads to higher transition rates, and the cost per child diminishes exponentially as the number of beneficiaries increase.
“The impact of lower grade repetition at primary school level has been evaluated at roughly USD 5 million dollars per school year in savings for the government of Côte d’Ivoire.”
As we know, the coronavirus pandemic has caused the temporary closure of schools in most countries. Côte d’Ivoire was no exception. What support does Eduq+ offer in this context?
Although we do not provide learning content, Eduq+ can be deployed alongside any distance learning solution to ensure that parents provide appropriate oversight and children benefit from such solutions. Both in Brazil and Côte d’Ivoire, we have been approached by education authorities and donors to help come up with a way for parents and children to provide feedback about the distance learning experience. Something as essential as knowing if all the children have access to the education programs broadcasted on radio, TV and online can easily be mapped through our nudgebot’s artificial intelligence data collection and processing.
How do you see the future of Eduq+ in Côte d’Ivoire?
We see a lot of potential for Eduq+ in Côte D’Ivoire. We received very encouraging testimonies from parents who feel that the relationship with their children has dramatically improved, as has the children’s motivation to attend school. The Ministry of Education has also been vocal in praising our achievements and has recently requested that we make our knowledge and data available to support its response strategy against Covid-19.
Eduq+ can thrive also beyond the education sector. With our partners’ support we could create new content specific to any government institution interested in an efficient communication tool with a strong feedback data stream collection. We are currently being solicited by chocolate companies to help farmers practise responsible money management during times of reduced activity. We are only as strong as our reputation, and if the relationships we have built with TRECC, UBS Optimus Foundation, the Ministry of National Education and many others remains as solid as it is today, then there are no limits to what can be achieved.
Guilherme Lichand is the founder of Movva, the world’s first nudgebot startup, that launched the Eduq+ initiative in Brazil and Côte d’Ivoire. Eduq+ is a nudgebot, a technology product aimed at encouraging parents’ engagement in their children’s school life, focused on socio-emotional development.