RAMAA II: Improving the quality of literacy programmes
Collecting reliable data on the learning outcomes of participants in literacy programmes is essential for designing and improving the quality of literacy programmes. This was a view shared by participants at a literacy programme meeting at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in Hamburg from 23 and 24 February 2016. The programme, RAMAA (Recherche-action sur la mesure des apprentissages des bénéficiaires des programmes d’alphabétisation), is an action research project initiated by UIL in West and Central Africa to help develop countries’ capacities for evaluating and monitoring literacy programmes at national and sub-regional levels. The project aims to provide policymakers and development partners with reliable data on the returns on investment in youth and adult literacy.
The two-day RAMAA II meeting ushered in the second phase of the project. It also included an evaluation of the first phase of the project so that participants could draw on lessons learned. The first phase of RAMAA involved five French-speaking African countries: Burkina Faso, Mali, Morocco, Niger, and Senegal. Countries like Senegal, which participated in the first phase, say that RAMAA helped to strengthen their capacity in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating literacy programmes at local, regional and national levels.
At the RAMAA II meeting, participants established how the second phase of project would be implemented and then mapped out ways of institutionalizing the project in twelve African countries. In addition to the original five countries, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Togo joined the project for the second phase. All twelve countries were represented at the meeting.
‘The RAMAA project’s focus on West and Central Africa reflects the need to increase the quality of literacy programmes, which are unfortunately low in this region at present,’ said Rokhaya Diawara, Education Programme Specialist, UNESCO Abuja. Diawara added that ‘the often poor financing of literacy programmes can be attributed to the fact that most donors doubt the efficiency of literacy programmes. Collecting reliable data, therefore, will lead to more investment in literacy programmes, which is one objective that the RAMAA project aims to achieve.’
Arne Carlsen, Director of UIL, spoke of future plans for the programme, saying: ‘The involvement of universities to increase the number of students who choose to focus on action research, measurement and evaluation of literacy is one of the innovations that UIL will support in the coming years.’