SABIO: Early Warning System Based on Timely Information (Sistema de Alerta Basada en Información Oportuna) - [CIES 2024 Presentation]

The twin crises of high dropout rates and weak foundational skills risk a lost generation of youth in Guatemala and Honduras. To respond to these crises, RTI is working with the Ministry of Education to support students to complete their education by strengthening system capacity to use data to identify students at risk of dropping out, to provide psychosocial support, and to address barriers to accessing secondary school. Motivating this effort is the belief that improved education outcomes will lead to secure employment and steady incomes in the future, weakening the primary drivers of irregular migration. Building on past efforts in dropout prevention (World Bank 2021; Unesco 2022), we have developed and deployed an open-source mobile application to teachers’ devices that will both facilitate data collection and display easily understandable information on the three pillars of dropout prevention: Attendance, Behavior and Coursework (ABC). The application enables teachers to track daily attendance, behavior and track and import coursework performance including test results and class grades. The data are used by the teacher to inform the need for additional intervention. Anonymized and aggregated data are shared at the school, municipal and ministry level, which we expect will reduce teacher fears of punitive accountability. The application works offline and syncs to the cloud once a WiFi or data connection is made. Free community Wi-Fi and school-based internet connectivity will improve teacher’s ability to access the application and other education data, resources and tools while also improving digital inclusion for students to access online learning opportunities and resources. At CIES, we hope to respond to Sub-theme question 3.3: How can school systems be better prepared to adapt to and to combat disruptions such as natural disasters and the COVID pandemic? The ongoing experience of both Guatemala and Honduras in managing COVID has been characterized by extended school closures, limited access to online materials, and increased dropout and irregular migration. We hope to learn from current and past NGO and Ministry experiences in creating digital tools that support teachers but can also be used to identify and respond to system-level challenges and improve system resilience. How have these digital tools helped teachers and system leaders to understand gaps in student learning and risk of drop-out? What level of anonymity has proved sufficient to overcome teacher accountability fears but adequate to inform system-level needs? Can improved digital inclusion and access to online learning help systems to become more resilient to disruptions? We anticipate a lively discussion on the potential and limitations of data-driven dropout prevention systems, several of which have been piloted by Ministries of Education in Latin America with the support of the World Bank, USAID and other organizations. By the time of the CIES presentation in March we expect to have piloted the tool in schools in 12 municipalities and have initial feedback from teachers and school leaders as to the user experience, feasibility and desirability of the tool.