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Education has the power to transform lives. Equipped with skills, knowledge and confidence, it is possible for educated children to lift themselves out of poverty and reach their full potential. Yet problems such as under-resourcing, poor infrastructure and low levels of attendance within secondary schools in Tanzania have led to persistently poor performance of students, particularly in the fields of mathematics and sciences (physics, chemistry and biology). The Christian Social Services Commission (CSSC) is a non-governmental organisation with an outstanding record of delivering education in Tanzania. To help address this issue, CSSC collaborated with Studi Academy, an international partner with expertise in creating content for education technology (edtech). Together they piloted a project that focused on creating an e-learning platform that placed students’ active participation at the heart of the learning experience.

CSSC preloaded quality teaching resources such as animation, video and interactive exercises onto tablet computers for 50 secondary schools, and worked with the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE), which sits within the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST ), to ensure resources were in line with the Tanzanian curriculum. Schools were selected on the basis of having good infrastructure, with both managers and teachers willing to cooperate and assist with installation and implementation. Teachers were given technical instruction and trained in learner-centred teaching.Students used the interactive content to help review lessons, carry out their homework assignments, and take quizzes to test their knowledge at their own pace. The platform also enabled the teachers to assign, view and mark their students’ assignments online.

An analysis carried out towards the end of the pilot assessed changes in performance of Form II students in schools supported with e-learning in the subjects of physics, chemistry, biology and basic mathematics. The analysis compared the Form II national examination results of 2015 before the start of the e-learning project with those of 2017. A total of 42 schools were included in the analysis, excluding government schools and those which either dropped out of the e-learning project prematurely or did not fully participate in the e-learning programme.

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