The use of digital tools and platforms in the Inspect & Improve Programme, Uganda

Juliet Kyoshabire Kotonya and Katarzyna Kubacka

13 March 2024

In March 2021, Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS) commissioned NFER to act as the Learning Partner for the second phase of the Inspect and Improve programme (I&I). This Learning Partnership aimed to produce evidence to support ongoing programme improvements and generate learning to support further roll-out.

I&I, co-designed by PEAS and the Directorate of Education Standards (DES) of Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES), builds on evidence that the quality of learning and teaching could be improved by bettering school leadership and management through supported school inspections.

During the Covid-19 pandemic I&I shifted programme delivery to digital platforms and remote support, including a new digital inspection tool, and PEAS staff engaged with I&I school leaders through WhatsApp support groups and virtual training activities.

We explored this digital strand of I&I, interviewing inspectors, headteachers and programme staff.

Key Findings

  • The digital inspection tool improved the timely submission of inspection reports, reducing school waiting times for key recommendations. Respondents reported that the use of the digital inspection tool, which involved real time transmission of inspection data, the processing period for the generation of inspection reports was significantly reduced, taking one or two days, from a previous average of one to five months.
  • There were promising improvements in leadership and management practice, matched with improvements in inspection practice, in the delivery of the I&I programme. Digital tools contributed to these changes through the introduction of a more convenient and efficient inspection process, including the timely provision of feedback, which enables leaders to act quickly on recommendations. School leaders also found the WhatsApp support groups helped improve their leadership skills through knowledge exchange with their peers.
  • With the digitalisation effort, there were new costs for the programme, but these costs are justified by the improvements I&I provides both at the school- and systems-level.

You can learn more about NFER’s findings on the I&I programme in the 2021 Evaluation of the pilot and the 2022 Learning Partnership final report.