Haiti

Haiti: Can smartphones make schools better?

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Haiti has made substantial improvements in educational access over the last decade and 90 percent of children of primary school age now are enrolled in school. The availability of new technologies, such as smartphones, offers new routes for monitoring teacher absenteeism and for improving communication between schools and central authorities. This will help ensure that children are receiving a quality education. Inspections don't occur regularly due to poor roads, inspectors not having a car or enough gas. Each inspector is responsible for monitoring about 35 schools, which makes it difficult to visit all of them on a regular basis. A World Bank-led team worked with the government to develop a pilot to test whether technology could improve monitoring by allowing for "virtual" inspections. This evaluation and others show, infrastructure is only part of the equation: Making sure that teachers, school managers and inspectors are on board with the program-and willing to carry it out-is equally important. Without care, technologies like smartphones, swipe cards, and time clocks could use up precious government resources, without any benefit to schools.