Nudges to improve learning and gender parity: Supporting parent engagement and Ghana’s educational response to Covid-19 using mobile phones

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, remote learning has been introduced in Ghana to ensure children continue learning while schools are closed. Equitable access to education is difficult to maintain during remote learning, and may increase inequalities by child gender and household backgrounds.

To address this challenge, researchers have partnered with IPA and Movva Technologies to evaluate the impact of a text-message-based behavioral change intervention on improving parental engagement in educational activities, parental beliefs about returns to education, as well as improvements in children’s learning, enrollment, attendance and gender parity in education.

This household-level intervention is designed by Movva Technologies to improve school-aged children’s learning outcomes during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents will receive text messages in simple English with behavioral nudges targeting parental engagement in children’s learning across grades and ages for in-school and remote learning. The treatment will include two variations by duration of message receipt and promotion of gender-equitable outcomes in education and broader development.

Households will be randomly assigned to one of five groups:
1. Standard messages for (3 months);
2. Messages with a “gender-parity boost” (3 months):
3. Standard messages of longer duration (6 months); into the first term of the next academic year).
4. Messages with a “gender-parity boost” of longer duration: (6 months, into the first term of the next academic year).
5. Comparison group: No messages during the study period.