There’s an app for that: improving education in AngolaPublished: Jan 11, 2021 Reading time: 2 minutes
In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic led to the widespread closing of schools, making the continued delivery of education a challenge around the world. In Angola, as children and their parents eagerly awaited for classes to resume, People in Need (PIN) worked to improve the quality of education by expanding the use of EMA – the mobile app designed to help identify areas where teachers can improve, and to make informed decisions regarding training needs and professional development.
The central Angolan province of Huambo was the first to adopt the new tool. Last year, PIN worked to consolidate the use of EMA by all municipalities in Huambo, and introduced the app in four additional provinces, including Bié, Cuando Cubango, Huíla, and Luanda. The app has been featured on Palanca TV, where one training session participant noted that “once the app is installed, the supervisor goes [to the school], and simply waits for the results.”
Basing decisions on data
By using smartphones or tablets for data collection, pedagogical supervisors can instantly send information about a teacher’s performance to a central database. The app allows for an automatic assessment and analysis of the data, something that was not previously possible. Using EMA, managers in the education sector can more easily access information to better target the specific training needs of teachers.
PIN’s education team led training sessions to teach pedagogical supervisors, analysts, systems administrators, and senior managers more about EMA. In the five Angolan provinces where it is in use, a cooperation protocol has been signed with the education offices. The document formalises the commitment to implement the project in all of the provinces’ municipalities.
Paula Joaquim, director of the Provincial Education Office in Huíla, says: “This training is an opportunity for us to work together to find strategies to improve teaching practices in all schools.” Narciso Benedito, director of the Provincial Education Office in Luanda, adds: “This monitoring process will allow us to identify insufficiencies, and create a new learning, empowerment, and teacher development package.”
Working with government institutions is one of the project’s goals, and a way to ensure its sustainability. The app is in line with the National Program of Training and Management of Teaching Staff and can very easily be integrated with local and national education plans, giving it the potential to be implemented in all of Angola’s provinces.
Hygiene items for schools
In addition to work on EMA during the pandemic, PIN’s team in Angola also provided schools in Huambo with hygiene supplies, including buckets and bars of soap. Celestino Piedade Chiquela, Provincial Director of Education in Huambo, noted that these materials “will help in handwashing, which is fundamental to the fight against COVID-19.”