Information Nudges to Prevent Learning Decay During COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator: 

Dr. Abu Shonchoy, Associate Professor, Florida International University.

Dr. Tomoki Fujii, Associate Professor, Singapore Management University.

Dr. Christine Ho, Associate Professor, Singapore Management University.

Dr. Rohan, Post Doctoral Fellow, National University of Singapore.


Project Area

Gaibandha District, Bangladesh

Project Background

J-PAL is hosting a one-time Education Research and Scale for COVID-19 Recovery request for proposals (RFP) to fund randomized evaluations and scale-ups of strategies to improve access, quality, equity, and relevance of pre-primary, primary, and post-primary education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic across low- and middle-income countries. The round is jointly hosted by J-PAL’s Post-Primary Education (PPE) Initiative and Innovation in Government (IGI) Initiative and generously supported by Douglas B. Marshall, Jr. Family Foundation and Echidna Giving. Please note that while the research portion of the RFP is hosted by the PPE Initiative, we encourage proposals across all grade levels from pre-primary to tertiary education. This request for proposals will consider full research projects, pilot research projects, proposal development projects, and scale-up projects that address key questions on how best to mitigate learning loss as a result of school closures and how to continue and motivate student learning during the ongoing COVID crisis.

Project Description

Project Objectives: 

COVID-19 has created unprecedented difficulties for the education sector in Bangladesh, as schools remain closed since March 2020. To tackle this crisis, Bangladesh has taken a multi-pronged approach-delivering education through national terrestrial television. However, the uptake of these programs has been low among rural students. This study aims to test through a randomized field experiment the impact of regular and repetitive information nudges on televised programs' uptake-delivered by SMS and automated voice calls to households. A random subset of treated students will additionally receive regular telephone-based tutoring support. The learning impact will be measured utilizing exams and SMS-based spot quizzes with achievement rewards. This study will help understand effective solutions to reduce learning decay during the pandemic, which is scalable for both Bangladesh and other developing countries.




The project-specific components are:

1.    This study sample will have 1,200 students attending grades 6 to 10 in four schools in the Gaibandha district in Bangladesh.

2.    This study aims to improve the learning outcomes or, at the least, prevent learning decay due to school closures during COVID-19.

3.    This study whether simple information nudges through SMS and automated voice calls can increase viewership of Sangsad TV live classes for secondary school students at pre-announced time slots for five days a week improve students' learning outcomes.

4.    The project will continue up to September 2022. 


Project Description: 

MOMODa FOUNDATION proposes to conduct a pilot RCT on secondary school students in Gaibandha. In particular, we seek to answer the following two main research questions using a randomized controlled trial:

  1. To what extent do information nudges through SMS and automated voice calls improve remedial TV education programs' take-up rates and result in better learning outcomes?

  2. To what extent remedial phone-based tutoring sessions can help improve learning outcomes?