By: Valeria Moraga (SIPA'19), Sofia Cillero (SW'20) and Matias Reyes (TECHO-Chile)
Date: July 2020
Field: Education, Poverty, Crisis Intervention, Internet-aided instruction, Mental Health, Informal Settlements
Special thanks to: Fundación TECHO-Chile
For more information: [email protected]
The suspension of in-person lessons due to the COVID-19 emergency in kindergartens, elementary schools, and high-schools has accentuated the already marked differences in access to and quality of the education in Chile. For many children, especially those living in housing exclusion situations, access to virtual material is not an option due to the lack of internet connection in their homes.
Faced with this scenario, TECHO Foundation - a Latin American nonprofit that aims to improve the quality of life for people living in campamentos (informal settlements) focusing on the fight against extreme poverty and urban exclusion - is implementing two short-run social interventions, 1. provide internet access and 2. provide remote educational support through a tutor, to reduce the crisis’ negative effects on the education of children living in campamentos.
This project evaluated the impact of the two interventions on mental health and educational indicators of children between 6 and 14 years old. This quasi-experimental research consisted of administering an “ex-ante” survey to the parents / guardians and the child, establishing the baseline of each group, and an “ex-post” survey to assess changes over time. The research design included a control group that separates the effects caused by the treatments from those caused by other factors. The project goal was to generate empirical evidence of factors that favor access, facilitate use and users perceive as valuable in terms of educational assistance in crisis contexts.
After one month of intervention, the results lead us to conclude that, in the short term, there are observable positive changes in the socio-emotional well-being of children that are attributable to the two interventions. In the case of the educational progress variables, the results are not statistically significant, nor do they show clear trends. On the other hand, no systematic differences were found in the effects associated with each one of the treatments, meaning that it is not possible to delineate with certainty which treatment is superior or preferable in terms of benefits for boys and girls, at least in the short term.