The Parental Nudges Project (PNP) is a household-level intervention designed to improve school-aged children’s outcomes by engaging parents in their children’s learning during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The intervention involves two text-messages (SMS) per week sent to parents / primary caregivers in simple English with behavioral “nudges” around engaging with children’s learning generally and during remote learning across grades and ages. Messages include suggestions of simple activities that promote nurturing child social-emotional development and education. No curricular knowledge is required. During school closures, suggestions related to remote-learning will be included.
As school-age children (ages 5-15 years) and particularly girls in primary schools are likely to be disproportionally affected by the crisis, a randomized subset of parents will receive messages promoting gender-equitable outcomes. Nudges will encompass reminders, encouragement and activities addressing information gaps, biased beliefs, and norms behind gender inequalities in education and broader development.
We will also vary the duration of exposure to the interventions across treatment arms. While the general parental engagement intervention has been implemented in several countries, the effectiveness of the gender component and the differing duration of exposure to messages in inducing belief and behavior change has never been tested.
The intervention is nimble, and message contents can be changed rapidly. We will adapt content as the country updates its plans to reopen schools (currently September 2020), and align them to government and World Bank remote-learning and back-to-school campaigns.
All nudges will be sent from a short code number (a 5-digit number that enables users to reply at no costs), and include the EDUQ+ tag, to clearly identify the messages under this initiative.
Eduq+ (powered by EdTech Movva) shares weekly suggestions of activities for parents to do with their children – none of them linked to curricular activities; rather, those try to bring parents closer to their children’s school life by having them ask about school, discuss future plans, and share how they dealt with similar conflicts back in the day. Nudges are structured around sequences in a format inspired by READY4K!, an eight-month-long text-messaging intervention for parents of preschoolers that targets the behavioral barriers to engaged parenting (York et al., 2017). The figure below showcases two examples of the SMS sequence sent to parents assigned to the nudge program: the first sequence is not gender specific, while the second is specifically targeted at tackling gender inequalities.