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ABC, 123: The Impact of a Mobile Phone Literacy Program on Educational Outcomes
Jenny C. Aker, Christopher Ksoll and Travis J. Lybbert

We report 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, suggesting that the adult literacy curriculum is effective in increasing learning. Students in ABC (mobile phone literacy) villages showed substantial additional gains in numeracy exam scores, but we cannot rule out that there are no effects on literacy in the full sample. There is evidence of heterogeneity in program effects across regions, suggesting the impact is stronger in a relatively more densely populated region. Furthermore, both literacy and numeracy effects are stronger and statistically significant for younger populations. There is also evidence of persistent impacts: six months after the end of the first year of classes, students in ABC villages retained what they had learned better than the non-ABC students. These effects do not appear to be driven by differences in teacher quality or in teacher and student attendance. These results suggest that simple and relatively cheap information and communication technology can serve as an effective and sustainable learning tool for rural populations. JEL Codes: D1, I2, O1, O3 Keywords: education; literacy; information technology; program evaluation; Niger

Working Paper 223 September 2010

ABC, 123: The Impact of a Mobile Phone Literacy Program on Educational Outcomes Jenny C. Aker Non-resident Fellow Center for Global Development Christopher Ksoll University of Oxford Travis J. Lybbert University of California-Davis
Jenny C. Aker, Department of Economics and The Fletcher School, Tufts University, 160 Packard Avenue, Medford, MA 02155;

References: Carron, J. 1990. "The Functioning and Effects of the Kenyan Literacy Program." African Studies Review. 33:3 97-120 Bialystok, E

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