Learning from the Multi-Country Study on Inclusive Education

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USAID is partnering with Purdue University, the University of Massachusetts at Boston and Inclusive Development Partners through the  Long-term Assistance and Services for Research (LASER) Partners for University-Led Solutions Engine (PULSE) mechanism to evaluate three USAID inclusive education activities in Cambodia, Malawi, and Nepal.  

The Multi-Country Study on Inclusive Education (MCSIE) is led by Inclusive Development Partners (IDP)  in partnership with the Cambodia Disabled People’s Organization, Invest in Knowledge in Malawi and Kathmandu University in Nepal. The study spans August 2019 through March 2024.  

The MCSIE is the first major, multi-country effort by USAID to investigate what works in supporting children with disabilities to learn to read. The study aims to derive lessons about what works to sustainably advance teaching and learning outcomes for children with disabilities in varying contexts. USAID and its partners will use this information to inform adaptations to its activities in CambodiaMalawi, and  Nepal, as needed, and plan for new inclusive early grade reading programming globally.  

Areas of technical focus within this evaluation include (i) screening and identification of disability, (ii) teacher training and professional development, (iii) inclusive-materials development, and (iv) instructional models for inclusion.   

The study explores the follow key questions in study countries:   

  1. What worked well/poorly in the process of setting up an efficient, effective, and sustainable system to focus on improving the quality of education for learners with disabilities?
  2. What methods worked best to identify learners with disabilities?
  3. What training model(s) worked best to provide teachers with the resources and support they need to best meet the needs of learners with disabilities?
  4. What instructional models worked best to improve classroom instruction and reading outcomes among learners with disabilities?
  5. Were there any unintended consequences of the activity? What were they?

In order to answer the key questions, the study uses the following research methods: 

IDP is using a process-evaluation design to develop case studies of the inclusive education system supporting children with disabilities to learn to read in each country and show how various interventions (including USAID programming) affect those systems. The research team will explore changes in the perceptions of parents/caregivers, teachers, and other education stakeholders regarding the extent to which the needs of learners with disabilities are met by the system. Data will be gathered through classroom observations, surveys conducted with families of learners with disabilities, teacher training observations, pre- and post-training tests on teacher knowledge, key informant interviews and focus group discussions with key stakeholders. IDP will also leverage secondary data collected by implementing partners (IPs) through early grade reading assessments (EGRAs), classroom observations, and surveys.

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