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CGD non-resident fellow Jenny Aker and co-authors report on the results from a randomized evaluation of a mobile phone education program (Project ABC) in Niger, in which adult students learned how to use mobile phones as part of a literacy and numeracy class. Overall, students demonstrated substantial improvements in literacy and numeracy test scores.
There is also evidence of persistent impacts: six months after the end of the first year of classes, students in the program retained what they had learned better than others. The effects do not appear to be driven by differences in teacher quality or in teacher and student attendance. The results suggest that simple and relatively cheap information and communication technology can serve as an effective and sustainable learning tool for rural populations.