The IRSS (Initiative de Renforcement des Services Scolaires) Qualitative Study was part of a larger research project within the Education Global Practice of the World Bank Group. The larger project provided technical support to the Ministry of Education of Haiti to carry out an impact evaluation of an intervention to monitor teacher attendance. School directors were provided with cell phones equipped with cameras and connected to the internet, and trained to take daily pictures of teachers, which were uploaded to a central database for Ministry inspectors to verify.
Baseline data were collected in April-May 2013 in 100 treatment and 100 control schools in the North and Northeast departments of Haiti. The intervention was implemented in the 2013-14 school year, monthly unannounced spot-checks occurred to check attendance from February to May 2014, and endline data were collected in May-June 2014. The data collected showed that (1) compliance with the intervention was low in the treatment group, and (2) the intervention did not have a statistically significant impact on teacher attendance.
A qualitative study was conducted in November-December 2014 with school directors, teachers, and inspectors from 15 treatment schools. Respondents were interviewed to ascertain their opinions on, knowledge of, and experiences with, the intervention. The qualitative study complemented the quantitative impact evaluation to help the team understand why compliance with the intervention was low in the treatment group.
During the same time as this evaluation, a related technological intervention for monitoring teachers in Uganda was piloted and found ineffective. As more countries seek to test high-technology solutions in low-income environments, understanding the challenges associated with implementing such solutions at scale is crucial.