Reducing School Dropout Rates in Malawi and Lesotho

Published on 28 November 2017

School in a bag’, buddy systems and catch-up clubs have paved the way for improved learning and reduced dropout in schools in Malawi and Lesotho.

These pioneering techniques have been used by researchers from University College London’s Institute of Education and their Southern African partners to help ensure that disadvantaged children, particularly those affected by HIV/ AIDS, stay in school.

Between April 2007 and July 2010, the team developed and piloted these distance – and flexible – learning techniques in 20 primary schools in Malawi and 16 secondary schools in Lesotho, all of which were located in areas where HIV/AIDS was highly prevalent and where school dropout rates were high. In both countries, the schools saw reduced dropout rates (up to 45 per cent in Malawi), particularly for older children.

Features the project Strengthening ODFL systems to increase education access and attainment for young people in high HIV prevalence SADC countries which is funded by the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research.

The Impact Initiative seeks to connect policymakers and practitioners with the world-class social science research supported by the ESRC-DFID Strategic Partnership, maximising the uptake and impact of research from: (i) the Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research, and (ii) the Raising Learning Outcomes in Education Systems Programme. We seek to identify synergies between these programmes and their grant holders, support them to exploit influencing and engagement opportunities, and facilitate mutual learning.

The Impact Initiative is a collaboration between the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and the University of Cambridge’s Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre.



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Emma Greengrass

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REAL Centre
Tofaris, E.; Jere, C.


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Lesotho Malawi

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