Educational data – when put to use correctly – can dramatically improve learner outcomes. In an effort to improve the way education data is collected and used to help learners succeed, The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, in partnership with the National Department of Basic Education, launched the Data Driven Districts (DDD) programme in 2012.
Central to the programme was the need to develop an intuitive dashboard in order for education-related data to be captured, extracted and consolidated more effectively. Once launched the dashboard would be able to display appropriate information to education officials in the South African schooling system. This would enable them to make more informed data-driven decisions, which could ultimately lead to the improvement of the educational outcomes of all learners in the school system.
PSP Icon was appointed to conclude the pilot phase of the programme and to launch the full-scale implementation of the project. Success relied on collaboration between various stakeholders and continued engagement with Department of Education officials across South Africa.
In order to achieve success for this large-scale programme, PSP Icon established a programme management office with a full-set of competencies including: traditional implementation capabilities, change management expertise, communication and mobilisation, technology specifications, strategy, and thought leadership skills.
The dynamic nature of the project required tremendous flexibility and demanded that the project team take on numerous roles as the needs of the client changed. The geography of the project required the management of on-the-ground consultants across five provinces.
By the conclusion of the 2013 the pilot the DDD initiative was successfully rolled-out across seven districts in three provinces (Gauteng, Limpopo and the Free State). Today the DDD dashboard continues to provide meaningful insights for those working across seven provinces and is helping to improve learner outcomes. The DDD project has now collected data from over 14,000 schools and more than seven million learners, an excellent start towards reaching each of the country’s 12 million learners.