TaRL Conference 2018

The TaRL Conference was held from 26–27 September 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Education stakeholders from across Africa gathered to discuss the TaRL approach and celebrate the launch of the TaRL website.

On day 1 of the conference, participants discussed ways to strengthen systems and improve TaRL programme implementation. On conference day 2, participants learned about moving to scale and engaged in a number of group activities aimed at building collaboration.

Dr. Sara Ruto and Emily Cupito listen to Usha Rane on the stage at the Teaching at the Right Level Conference in 2018.

From left: Dr. Sara Ruto (PAL Network), Emily Cupito (J-PAL Africa), and Usha Rane (Pratham) discuss the role of assessment during a panel at the TaRL Conference.

“Finding people with a common vision has helped make this a movement around the world”

Usha Rane, Pratham

Conference Agenda: Highlights and Presentations

Click on a tab to see the session speakers and download the presentations. Have questions about the sessions? Email info@teachingattherightlevel.org

Opening address by Laura Poswell and Usha Rane

Laura Poswell (J-PAL Africa) and Usha Rane (Pratham) opened the conference with an introduction to J-PAL and Pratham. Ashleigh Morrell and Kim Tichmann (both J-PAL Africa) led a quick activity to highlight conference participants’ contributions to TaRL programmes across Africa.

Download the presentation.

Lessons from the TaRL Evidence

Ashleigh Morrell (J-PAL Africa) explained the evidence behind the TaRL approach.

Download the Evidence presentation.

Learn more about the evidence behind the approach>>

TaRL Website Reveal

Ashleigh Morrell and Kim Tichmann (both J-PAL Africa) launched the TaRL website, a platform to learn about the TaRL approach, share ideas, and receive updates about TaRL in Africa.

See the rest of the website>>

Assessment: Shifting the focus to learning progress
Participants practice using a TaRL assessment tool.

Dr. Adrienne Lucas from the University of Delaware and Joyce Jumpah from IPA Ghana look at an ASER assessment tool.

A panel discussion with Dr. Sara Ruto (PAL Network), Usha Rane (Pratham), and Emily Cupito (J-PAL Africa). The session was moderated by Devyani Pershad (Pratham). Before the session, participants practiced assessing each other’s reading skills using an English version of the ASER tool.

Learn more about TaRL assessment>>

Teaching at the Right Level: a presentation by Dr. Rukmini Banerji

Dr. Rukmini Banerji, CEO of Pratham, dialled in to explain the background of Pratham’s TaRL Approach and how to shift education systems from focusing on schooling for all to emphasising learning for all.

Download the presentation.

From Evidence to Action: the government perspective

A panel discussion with representatives from Kenya, Botswana, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire, moderated by Laura Poswell (J-PAL Africa).

Photo: Angela Tsheole from the Botswana Ministry of Basic Education speaks on the Evidence to Action panel, while co-panellists Raoul Kone, Cynthia Efua Bosumtwi-Sam, Mahuba Hazemba and Habat Abdi, and moderator Laura Poswell listen.

Evidence to Action panel. From left: Raoul Kone, Cynthia Efua Bosumtwi-Sam, Angela Tsheole (speaking), Mahuba Hazemba, Habat Abdi, Laura Poswell.

Panel speakers:

(click on a name to download the presentation)

Day 1 Parallel sessions

Parallel sessions diving into key components related to TaRL:

  • Recruitment, retention, and motivation of tutors and volunteers: Moitshepi Matsheng (Young 1ove), Jacqui Boulle (After School Game Changer, Western Cape Government), Fredrick Abungu (Evidence Action), and Joyce Jumpah (IPA Ghana).
  • Supporting teachers through mentoring and coaching: Chavi Jain (Pratham), Sandra Ndhlovu (VVOB – education for development Zambia), Dr. Stephen Taylor (Department of Basic Education, South Africa).
  • How community engagement can strengthen programme delivery: Meera Tendolkar (Pratham) and Nobuhiro Kunieda (JICA).

To download slides (if available), click on a presenter’s name.

Developing Effective Monitoring Systems

Chavi Jain (Pratham) and Laura Poswell (J-PAL Africa) facilitated a case study for participants to think through indicators, questionnaire design, and data collection, flow and feedback in TaRL programmes.


The Challenges of Working at Scale: what have we learned?

Devyani Pershad (Pratham), Ben Simuyandi (J-PAL Africa/IPA Zambia), and Margaret Mapata (Zambia Ministry of General Education) discussed challenges and lessons from their own experiences of scaling up TaRL programmes.

Read the Zambia case study>>

Continued Learning: Day 2 parallel sessions
  • Lessons from TCAI and lessons to come from STARS, a presentation by Dr. Adrienne Lucas (University of Delaware)
  • Process monitoring: what data to collect and how it can inform decision making, a presentation by Emily Cupito (J-PAL Africa)
  • Innovative ways of collecting data, a presentation by Samantha Bastian (Evidence Action)

Slides will be uploaded as they become available – click on a name to view a slide.

Discussion: identifying better ways to work together
Laura Abadia from J-PAL Europe summarises participant reflections, written on colourful card.

Identifying better ways to work together: Laura Abadia from J-PAL Europe summarises participants’ reflections

The aim of the session was to identify ways to effectively collaborate to build and strengthen TaRL across Africa. Ashleigh Morrell (J-PAL Africa) facilitated this interactive collaboration session. Participants reflected on the roles of education stakeholders at different stages of an education programme. They shared their reflections with the goal of working towards a shared understanding of what each stakeholder contributes.

Closing: reflections and outstanding questions
Devyani Pershad and John Floretta reflect on the week's activities

Devyani Pershad and John Floretta reflect on the week’s activities

John Floretta (J-PAL Global) and Devyani Pershad (Pratham) reflected on the field visits and conference and invited participants to ask questions.

Want to keep in touch with fellow delegates? Register for the forum and see their contact details on the members page!

TaRL Field Visits

From 24-25 September, participants from organisations and education ministries across Africa visited Zambia and Botswana to see TaRL in Action.


Read a reflection on the Catch Up field visits on the TRECC website.


Read about the Botswana field visits on Young 1ove’s blog and see the video below.

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