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Sophia Kan

Education Researcher (Innovations)

Sophia joined the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti in 2021, focusing on applied research with the Let Us Learn Programme. She is a development economist interested in education, migration, and women’s economic empowerment. Most recently, as a postdoctoral researcher at the Chair for Development Economics at the University of Goettingen, she studied the effect of Universal Primary Education on educational outcomes in Uganda. Sophia has worked as a research consultant for the International Development Research Centre, Center for Global Development, and the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity; and has field experience in India, Sri Lanka, and Zambia. She holds a PhD in Economics with a focus on development economics from the University of Göttingen and a Master’s in Education - International Education Policy program from Harvard University.

Publications

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 – Eastern and Southern Africa
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 – Eastern and Southern Africa

The widespread school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the learning crisis for children living in Eastern and Southern Africa. The crisis has also shown the great need to develop resilient education systems that can provide learning when schools are forced to close. Understanding how to provide remote learning equitably utilizing multiple modalities and emphasizing low-tech solutions in Eastern and Southern Africa is critical given the great challenges facing the region in terms of electricity and connectivity access. This report provides a summary of lessons learned in the East and Southern Africa region from remote learning during COVID-19 and provides concrete recommendations on how to increase the resilience of education systems.
Foundational literacy and numeracy in rural Afghanistan: Findings from a baseline learning assessment of accelerated learning centres
Publication

Foundational literacy and numeracy in rural Afghanistan: Findings from a baseline learning assessment of accelerated learning centres

In Afghanistan, 93% of children cannot read a simple text by the age of 10. Education is not available to everyone, especially for girls and children in remote areas. A form of community-based education, called Accelerated Learning Centers (ALCs), can help close the distance barrier and meet the needs of out-of-school children and girls. In May 2021, an assessment of foundational literacy and numeracy skills of ALC students and nearby government school students was conducted. Results show that children at ALCs are learning at similar levels or better compared with children who attend government schools. This report provides insight into practices to improve education in rural areas in Afghanistan.