Independent evaluation of the effectiveness of Institut pour l'Education Populaire’s “Read-Learn-Lead” (RLL) program in Mali. Cost analysis of key elements of the RLL program (Educator training, pedagogical support, and pedagogical materials inputs)
The cost study presented in this paper constitutes one part of a broader, multi-year impact evaluation of the early grade reading component of the Read-Learn-Lead (RLL) program developed by Malian NGO Institut pour l’Education Populaire (IEP) and implemented between 2009 and 2012. The paper presents methods, results, and discussion of cost- and cost-effectiveness analysis of the program. Cost elements examined included development and implementation of teacher and school principal training; pedagogical support visits to teachers by IEP coaches and district (CAP) education staff; and development, production and distribution of RLL program teacher’s guides, student books and other materials.
The analysis contrasts the incremental cost and cost-effectiveness of the mother-tongue reading program at (a) early and (b) later stages of program implementation, and after (c) one year (Grade 1) and (d) two years (Grades 1 and 2) of participation in the program, relative to performance of a control group. Sensitivity of cost estimations to a number of assumptions is explored, and an illustrative simulation of cost-benefit and rate of return projections is presented. Implications for the viability / scalability and transferability of the RLL model to other implementers and settings are discussed, as well as options for containing future costs while preserving program quality and outcomes.